I would think that my Chinese New Year here in London is actually more happening than what I used to get back in Singapore. There are tons more excuses for meet ups with every single human I know here because of the very fact that all of us have that absence — the longing for home especially at this time of the year. So here is a quick refresher of what I have been up to the past 2 weeks — I clearly am still in the holiday mood after submitting coursework about one month ago HAHAHA. Why is my self-declared break (and the feelings that accompany it) not ending?
Joey invited us for a CNY dinner (Lavender, Rachel and I) and to head to his house after. I came directly from Korean lessons so I was quite full by then, but I headed to finish their leftovers anyway. I never say no to food, especially not Chinese food :’)
Free 年糕 which was complimentary as part of the entire dinner! They probably knew that people were gathering together in the spirit of the New Year so it was quite pleasant to get some dessert after all the main dishes HAHAHA. I ate so much because they had so much leftovers being full from the dinner already, but I am definitely not complaining about that 🙂
After dinner although Joey was ill he insisted on hosting us over at his house, cooking 年糕 and a Dutch dessert for us (which was really sweet and lovely, both the dessert and of him). I enjoyed my time there especially since he had a large TV right in front of his bed — I was feeling bitter about having to celebrate my CNY here alone (or so I thought) so I went onto his YouTube and played dozens of Chinese New Year songs… that they had not heard before. Were these Chinese New Year songs really exclusive to Singapore? Joey and Rachel did not seem to know even the tunes of 贺新年! I truly miss hearing these ridiculous remixes and songs all over Singapore 😦 I feel like it has been a long time since I have been immersed in that sort of festive atmosphere for Chinese New Year, although it has only been 2 years.
That’s the Dutch dessert and me eating (somemore) 年糕 while looking at Jay Chou in high definition HAHAHA. I really enjoyed my time there even though we had to leave early and I was really thankful for that night; it was special and at the same time it reminded me of home very much.
CNY Day 1
Wan Tian was here from Finland over the first few days of Chinese New Year so it was me intruding on their (WX and WT) quality time and acting like a tourist myself. Which gave me more excuses to spend money.
I went to Chinatown to soak up some of the CNY vibes, check out the crowd and to collect my 鱼生 for the night. It was quite a disaster because I was collecting 2 for the day and I spilt the sauce on my way back, had to walk back to the restaurant and package it nicely again… thank god Rasa Sayang was really patient with me, re-packed it for me and readily packaged new sauces for me even though they were really busy on CNY Day 1. Makes me feel better about the large expense on this 😛
We had New Fortune Cookie that night for the first time! Previously when Edina came we wanted to try this out already, but there was no more duck left (!!) so we headed to Gold Mine instead. I am not too sure of the difference in taste between the two, but I know for sure that New Fortune Cookie is more affordable than Gold Mine HAHAHA especially after their recent renovations. It was a good dinner though definitely!
After dinner with the two of them I walked around Bayswater for a bit before I took the tube all the way to Waterloo to Bryan’s hall where I joined the rest of the 74th lads for my second dinner.
The dinner that they prepared (that I barely participated in because I had already eaten so much duck prior to this). I ate quite a bit of you tiao dipped in the bak kut teh though, it was too amazing 🙂
They were waiting me to lao the 鱼生 that I brought from afternoon! So nice of them HAHAHA even though I did not turn up for dinner that day.
And a group photo of us! So thankful to have this bunch in London with me; I can really notice the difference in moods that I have between the first and second year. I am so much happier in my second year really, with many more friends and many more meetups. My bank is bleeding much more than it did last year too, but I think that “paying” for these sort of meet ups, laughter and quality friendships will always be worth it. I love meeting up with batchboys (and a strong bias towards the Tigers) because I feel like they relate to me in so many ways and never expect anything more from you in a friendship. Perhaps this seems pretty much low maintenance because we definitely are not one another’s main priorities in life. It helps knowing that actually, because you will never (and they will never) feel bitter about a cancelled meet up or an occasion that you failed to turn up for, they will just invite you the next time anyway. And laugh it off perhaps. :’)
Thankful for the precious friendships I made during my stint in BMT/OCS. 🙂
CNY Day 2
It was a Sunday so a perfect day for Wan Tian to check out the Columbia Road Flower Market and the Brick Lane Market (which were very close in proximity!)
I had a burger….. I cannot remember what this was, but it was delicious and I loved the touch of the blue cheese. Of course it was oily but I think you don’t usually go wrong with oily street food HAHAHA.
And we also tried the famed salted beef bagel from this place, which was apparently known for being amazing and affordable. It was quite a queue but it moved really quickly, and I was oddly really full from the two burgers earlier. I don’t usually get that full HAHA.
CNY Day 3
Peng Ning kindly invited me to a SAF dinner hosted by the seniors and I shamelessly joined in hehe. I had pineapple tarts and steamboat and 鱼生 again but I really loved it! I think CNY is an occasion when you meet relatives that you have never seen before again and again anyway, and meeting these people that I have only once stalked before was really interesting 🙂
鱼生 from Rasa Sayang hehehe and here in this picture they feature the piece of paper that you can follow when reading out the 成语s for every food (the fish, the honey, crackers etc) HAHAHAHA.
Group photo, courtesy of Peng Ning 🙂 That was an interesting night — thanks Peng Ning for inviting me! It was always nice to meet people from the same organisation, also people that you have once seen on Facebook before hehe.
CNY Day 7
Met up with You Jing, Aloysius and Beatriz on this day where we contributed one dish each and met at Beatriz’s place!
I contributed Pork Bulgogi HAHAHA it was GOOD I think!!! I don’t usually succeed with my cooking but for this I followed the marinade recipe completely, refrigerated it for a few hours before frying it so the smell stuck to the pork shoulder well. I shall try this again because it was honestly quite simple 🙂 But I need to buy more ricecakes!!!
Our dinner that day!
And us, with kueh salat courtesy of Aloysius.
Woohooo I had four in the end HAHAHA let’s not question why. It was yummy so here is me bootlicking Aloysius, can I have more of the baked goods????????? Really ambitious with the Japanese Cheesecake and Matcha Lava Cake which are things that I will never have the patience to do….. praying for more friends who love baking over here :’) Please keep my tummy in your thoughts HAHAHA.
CNY Day 8
This was the next weekend after the actual CNY already! We invited Xin Mei down to London to have Maze Grill, a Gordon Ramsay restaurant which was offering 1 for 1 on their 3 course sets (which turned out to be £15.75 for each of us) HAHAHA. The restaurant lighting was not ideal for photography (because it was dimly lit, meant for candlelit romantic dinners) so here’s one with flash…
Why does it look tiny? It was okay though.
And the Apple Crumble which wasn’t what I expected (expected a slice with some apple slices on top), but nonetheless still good. Overall the meal had rather tiny portions but I was surprisingly full by the end of it, probably due to the dessert and the spam of vanilla custard.
Dilys secretly made us walk her home (HAHAHA jk) after that where I attacked her food:
LOL. I love the chicken(?) floss spring rolls!!! Omg. Of course we secretly ate her pineapple tarts as well even though she gave us a few from Singapore already HAHAHA. I never liked Chinese New Year goods so much when I was back in Singapore to be honest, it was only when I reached London… and I realise “you do not know what you have got until it’s gone” HAHAHA.
CNY Day 13
Met Bowei for duck at Gold Mine after 3 days because he was feeling feverish on the day we were supposed to meet.
And WE COULD NOT FINISH! WHY? I struggle to fathom what happened… I usually finish my food and 3 courses would not daunt me at all… we had two large beancurds left and a bit of duck and a bit of roast pork HAHAHA. It looked too miserable for takeaway but yet it was quite a waste… I am disappointed in myself and my tummy HAHAHA.
CNY Day 14
You Jing was on her off-vegetation-diet day after her tests so we headed to ASSA where we talked and talked about people and things again. Good conversations as usual because we went through very much the same struggles two years back, and our social circles intersect quite a bit… because while I may not know people, they are in my database HAHAHA.
Tried the ricecakes for the first time (because they were out of stock previously) and YES THEY WERE GOOD.
Us! We smelt like ASSA after we left the restaurant, as usual.
Went to Biju subsequently for a bubble tea fix where we talked till it was approaching 11pm… thankful for late nights because I think these are what I will remember the most once again. I remember the times I headed to Jurong Central Park after CCA on Fridays, going to Macs or Pizza Hut on Friday afternoons before heading home for the weekend… these memories are really fresh in my head :’) I loved how we ended up talking about language acquisition and how it will always be difficult to speak and pick up a language to the proficiency of a native too — one thing that struck me that day was how children had motivation to pick up a language because they needed a language to express themselves; adults would not face that same problem.
I enjoyed talking till late as I did during my teenhood (hehe naughty me) and I want to make the best and same out of my university experience here.
CNY Day 15
After such a long time, the Korean Society tutors finally kindly organised a social for the Intermediate session people! They were so nice because I think Beginner class or Advanced class people did not have such a social — it was nice to see the tutors who taught different classes all coming together and interacting with us over pizza, courtesy of the Korean society.
They are so pretty HAHAHA.
Here’s the group photo, of my favourite female tutors mostly in this photo — because I honestly think there’s only one bad pair (that I did not really enjoy going to). 🙂
Post-CNY Day 1
On CNY Day 16 (or after the whole celebration period Day 1), the RV UK group met up at Gold Mine (again, for me) where we had an excellent meal! The table comprised of about 9 to 10 people so the ordering was rather generous, we had such a spread of food which was nice! A pity we could not finish (and there was so much fried rice left which was such a large pity!) I would love to take these food away for lunch or dinner on any other day, but it was embarrassing HAHAHA.
This was not all the food but like wow, I do not usually get such a spread.
Group photo of all the RVians who turned up that day! Thankful that I know nearly almost everyone because of my excellent stalking skills 🙂
Afterwards Zheng Yang, Wern, WX, Nicole, Dilys and I headed for dessert at Cafe TPT (beside Old Town 97 in Chinatown) where we encountered a really rude service staff, but we agreed that we had no way around it because their food was good and it was likely that I would come back in the future if I were to head to Chinatown for supper or to hang out with people HAHAHA. I love familiarity and knowing that you grew up with these people; no matter how unfamiliar we are, we could still derive joy in the fact that we knew each other by basis of our Years 1 to 6 classes and then create mutually engaging topics from there.
Post CNY Day 2
Ken kindly hosted a CNY dinner at his house (because we were shameless in asking) and we probably had our last 鱼生 for 2017 HAHAHA. We spent the whole afternoon playing mahjong when I won £1, which offsets my expense for that day by a bit… HAHAHA.
The addicts! He had the full-sized mahjong tile which was awesome really, HAHAHA. These were exactly the same tiles that I had at home!
The party during the dinner! Enjoyed the last 鱼生 which was painfully grated by Ken’s friend (I forgot his name teehee), and it was good really!
The spread which was wooow HAHAHA I don’t usually have such large steamboats when I am in London because social circles do not really intersect most of the time. On top of this there was tang yuan, you tiao and mango sago, thank you Ken for being such a good host really! For providing the snacks when we were complaining of hunger as well hehe. It was always nice to meet up with RVians 🙂
Tonight will be probably the last of all these CNY-feels celebrations because Dilys, WX and I are going to head to the Magic Lantern Festival in London that I have encountered several times in my Instagram timeline and Facebook suggested posts (because I keep googling about it). I am keen because I believe this will be similar to what we saw in Singapore — the 春到河畔 at Marina Bay and Mid-Autumn decorations in Gardens By The Bay. Let’s hope that it will at least be similar to be worth the entrance price, and I think it will be quite a memorable night to take away.
I haven’t blogged in a while so let’s hope I haven’t missed out on anything in my life. I do want to keep these memories because they are posts I will look back on when I leave London for real 😦