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Chinese New Year spirit for all

Saturday, January 28, 2012
By Tang Hsiang-yi and Lin Yuting


Just before the Lunar New Year, or Chinese New Year (CNY) as many Taiwanese call it, National Immigration Agency (NIA) Director-General Hsieh Li-kung got together with new migrants to share family stories, pray for bountiful seasons to come and cook an “international” reunion meal.

Berrin Köse from Turkey and her daughter Yağmur Köse prepared fragrant “Turkish stuffing rice,” which is stir-fried with raisins, chopped onion, parsley, black pepper, red pepper and peppermint before being simmered to al dente.

Christophe Chevance from France, who is spending his second CNY in Taiwan, made French-style crêpes. He sprinkled sugar and drizzled lemon juice over one variety and lathered blueberry jam over another. Last year his in-laws cooked a feast for him and this year he wants to do the same for them!

Also, actor Helen Thanh Dao from Vietnam demonstrated Vietnamese chicken salad; tossing together Taiwanese cabbage, onion, green onion, red pepper, blanched chicken breast, red hot pepper, peanuts and fried red onion before drizzling sweet garlic fish sauce over the mix.

“The dish goes well with pork stew, the main dish in our reunion dinner, because it refreshes after a heavy dish,” she explained. Thanh Dao's late father is Taiwanese while her late mother is Vietnamese. Having achieved recognition in Vietnamese television and films, she decided to restart her career in Taiwan after her mother passed away in 2010. She has already made appearances in TV series and in a new film directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien.

Raul Erazo from El Salvador will spend his first CNY in Taiwan, having recently arrived after majoring in Chinese at an U.S. college. Erazo is now a scholarship student at National Chengchi University.

“New Year in El Salvador is similar to [that in] the U.S. We have turkey and cakes. I helped arrange the shrimp today — they taste really good!” said Erazo after presenting a jade and gold shrimp platter. “I will not be able to spend Chinese New Year with my family but I will celebrate it with my friends here,” he added.

Li Yan from mainland China introduced the “wishing yuanbao”, dumplings lathered in egg batter and fried to resemble the golden ingots used as currency in Imperial China.

Chen Chu-ly from Vietnam showed everyone how to place mung bean fillings within a piece of sticky rice dough and then wrap the whole thing in a banana leaf into a “Precious Rice Dumpling.” According to Chen, the dumpling is prepared for New Year's as well as other festivals to symbolize family loyalty. After steaming, the banana leaf wrapping yellows from green into a golden hue.

Moreover, Zheng Jian-xun, a mountain guide who uncannily resembles Legislative Yuan President Wang Jin-pyng, presented “prosperous lion's head (minced pork balls).” Meanwhile, U.S. musician Devon Lafferty presented the “four-treasure cold platter.”

Last but not least, Director-General Hsieh chopped herbs and poured the finishing touch of sweet-and-sour sauce over the pan-fried “abundance fish.” After thanking everyone, Hsieh remarked that the Taiwanese tradition for CNY is to gather round the dinner table as a family. Today's event, he said, affirms the place of new migrants in our family. Hsieh wishes for Taiwanese society to be one that respects diversity and appreciates differences, just as demonstrated in today's feast.

署長秀年菜,恭賀新年來

舊曆或農曆新年前不久,入出國及移民署署長謝立功和新移民聚會,共話家常,祈盼來年福澤連緜,並攜手炮製一頓國際性的團圓盛筵。

來自土耳其的Berrin Köse和她女兒Yağmur製作的是 土耳其式香飯,先把飯,葡萄乾,洋蔥丁,香菜,黑胡椒和紅椒炒熱,以後用小火烘至適中的硬度。

來自法國的Christophe Chevance今年已經是第二年在台灣度歲,他讓大家分享的是法式可麗餅,其中一種灑上檸檬汁,另一種則抹黑莓果醬。去年他的姻親設宴招待他,今年他要反過來給他們做一頓大餐。

越南演員海倫清桃示範製作雞肉沙拉:高麗菜,洋蔥,青椒,紅椒,水煮雞胸肉,紅辣椒,花生和炸紅蔥混在一起,然後澆上蒜味甜魚露。

她說:「這菜式和我們團圓飯的主菜紅燒肉配合得很好,一道比較肥膩的菜之後來點清新醒胃的。」海倫清桃父親是台灣人,母親是越南人,都已經身故。她在越南影視兩界竄紅,後來在二0一0母親去世之後決定來台發展,迄今已在台灣多部連續劇和一部由導演侯 孝賢執導的新片中演出。

曾在美國某大學主修中文,來自薩爾瓦多的Raul Erazo 最近才入境, 今年首次在台灣度歲 ,現在他得到獎學金在國立政治大學攻讀。

Raul Erazo 端上一盤大蝦金玉拼盤,他說:「薩爾瓦多新年和美國新年差不多。我們都吃火雞和蛋糕。我今天用大蝦做一道菜,很好吃哩!」他接著說:「今年我無法和家人共度農曆新年,但我可以和這裡的朋友一起慶祝。」

來自中國大陸的李燕端上「如意元寶」,讓大家一開眼界。這道菜的做法是把餃子沾上蛋糊,然後放到油鍋裡炸得金黃,像中國古代使用的金元寶一樣。

同樣來自越南的陳竹莉示範製作「稀少粽」。她把綠豆塞進糯米糰裡,後用蕉葉裹好。據陳竹莉說,「稀少粽」一般供慶祝年節之用,象徵家人團結。在鍋裡蒸熟之後,裹粽的蕉葉由綠轉黃,最後泛金 黃色。

長相和立法院院長王金平很像的登山嚮導曾建勳端上他的「富貴獅子頭」,美籍音樂家Devon Lafferty提供的則是「四寶拼盤」。

最後,謝立功署長披掛上陣,切碎香料,把甜酸醬澆在魚上,稱為「年年有餘」。在向大家表示謝意之後,謝署長說,台灣的度歲傳統之一是一家圍著桌子吃團圓飯。他說,今天的活動肯定了新移民在我們這個大家庭中的地位。謝署長最後表示希望台灣社會有如這頓盛筵一樣,尊重多元多樣,接納差異。

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