My parents are pretty Americanized, even though my mom was born in Hong Kong. We didn’t even do anything for Chinese New Year (except lai see). Every once in a while though, something happens that reminds me of my roots. I love being Chinese.
Walking through Chinese grocery store’s post-Chinese New Year sale, Mom picks up some string.
Mom: Oh, we could have used that today [to get a ring off someone’s sprained and swollen finger].
Dad: Yeah, you never know when you’re going to need kite string.
Mom: (snaps) Not kite string! DONG string!
Dad: (apologetically) Sorry. Dong string.
Mom: (still a little miffed) Have some respect for the dong.
Note: Dong is kind of like a Chinese tamale, filled with glutinous rice and — the way my grandma made it — red bean, wrapped and tied tightly in leaves. My most vivid memories involve opening the top freezer door and getting hit on the head by an avalanche of falling dong. Needless to say, I prefer lo mai gai (Lo mai gai is the same as dong, only it’s savory and filled with sticky rice, chicken, mushrooms, Chinese sausage, etc).
Photo found on Google Images.