Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Happy New Year!

"Mommy, those dragons won't come over here, will they?"

Hi, it's Sheila, and my family reveled in another culture a few nights ago. The Chinese New Year just wrapped up, and our family celebrated with the Wong family at Oriental Wok.

Each year, owners Mike and Helen Wong and their daughters Angela and Susanna, welcome people to their landmark restaurant to enjoy the culture of their homeland. Our special evening started with a video from Hong Kong's 2011 fireworks display and ended with Fort Mitchell fire crackers.

In between, the Wong's served up a 10-course dinner, as traditional as you can get. The food was amazing. My little guy Eric loved the crispy chicken, grabbing the legs off the large platter, and he really liked the Chicken Bau encased in a little bun. We enjoyed delight after delight like West Lake Soup, Rainbow Steak Tenderloin, and "Dragon" Lobster over Spinach. We even tried a Chinese delicacy -- chicken feet. Surprising how much meat a chicken has on its foot.

We also made some new friends at our table. Caroline and Eric had their three children with them. The kids got stickers and coloring books, along with kits to make bracelets, but their favorite part was the entertainment. Since the Chinese call 2011 the Year of the Rabbit, the kids had a chance to pet some baby rabbits from the Tewes Farm.

A quick fashion show displayed some traditional Chinese garments (that's my daughter Katie with the umbrella). My son Eric's remark about the dragons came during the Hua Xia Chinese Dance Troupe's Northern Imperial Lion Dance. He was fascinated, but he was a bit nervous until he realized there were people under those big masks. We also enjoyed the traditional fan and umbrella dances, and young violinists from the Beijing Opera performed too.

You are probably familiar with the story of Mike Wong travelling from his homeland in China to America back in the 70's. He's had a very successful life and career here, and the Chinese New Year party at Oriental Wok seems like his gift to his neighbors in Northern Kentucky.
The Chinese consider the Rabbit to be one of the luckiest signs, and I feel lucky my family got to enjoy this gift from Mike and Helen and their lovely family.

Gong Hay Faht Choy! Happy Chinese New Year!

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