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Sunday, February 10 ushers in Chinese New Year - the year of the snake - giving lovers of Chinese food yet another excuse to indulge in what's arguably our preferred 'foreign' fare. "Jamaicans certainly enjoy Chinese food," states restaurateur Dalton Yap who has been in the food business since 1972, when he opened his first restaurant in Mandeville. Dragon Court, located in South Avenue, opened its doors in 1996. "The preference is," he continues, "for Cantonese and Hakka cuisines and the reasons are pretty straightforward — the Chinese came to Jamaica in 1854 from the Guangdong Province, the southern part of China and were largely from the Hakka tribe. This culinary preference is reflected across the island and manifested in the colourful presentation and expert infusion of spices. Jamaicans never tire of eating pork and yam, pork and ham choy, chow mein and chow chow".
Seems our obsession with the cuisine has rolled over into Sunday, threatening perhaps the iconic rice and peas! We'll leave that discussion for another time.
Yap has seen an impressive rise in Dim sum - an integral part of Chinese cuisine associated with the tradition of yum cha, or taking tea. " Dim sum," explains Yap, "started in the eighties as a result of a new wave of immigrants from Hong Kong who had found work in the garment industries at the Free Zone. Today's new wave of immigrants — China Harbour — coupled with the local market has increased the Sunday dining experience, affording family and friends the luxury of a relaxed dining experience, often for hours with copious pots of Chinese tea. The new wave of immigrants, from the northern provinces, has introduced hot and spicy — Sichuan-style cooking which could now be said to be rivalling that from the south.
What has remained constant, however, is Jamaica's Top Five favourite Chinese dishes:
Sweet and sour chicken
Cantonese roast chicken
Chow mein or stir-fry noodles
Chow fan or fried rice
Why wait until Sunday? Order your favourite dish today and more on Sunday as you join in the Chinese New Year celebrations.
6 South Avenue
Mon-Sat 11:30-9:30 pm
Sunday Dim Sum
Chinese New Year feast courtesy of Dragon Court restaurant.
sauce — a
the duck with
Dragon Fish —
whole fish. Fish is
symbol for Chinese
speaking to an
prosperity. NB: the
fish head must be
pointed to the
guest of honour.
a visual and
and fish fillets
come together to
which is served
steaming hot with
like bars of gold.
Sun-dried oyster with
seaweed in braised
pig’s trotters — this is
a must- have for
the pig’s trotters,
Sea cucumber with shitake mushrooms in lettuce — sea cucumber is an aphrodisiac
and symbolises fertility, mushroom speaks to long life, and lettuce prosperity. This
healthy dish is favoured by the elderly.
The ever-popular sweet and sour
chicken with Dragon Court’s
generations-old secret sauce. The sauce
combines over 20 ingredients and is
expertly prepared by Master Chef Nip
Hon Wah. A few ingredients are
specially imported for this unique sauce.
Roast chicken — a must-eat for
Chinese New Year. Whole chicken is
especially auspicious and offered up in
honour of the ancestors. This
Chinese-style crispy, roast chicken is
delicious and reflects the signature
Cantonese BBQ aroma and flavours.
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