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Chinese New Year Picks from Shut Up and Eat

by Michelle Little

Chinese New Year falls on February 10th this year, and we are determined to celebrate it right. But where to go and what to eat?  We turned to Montreal-based blogger extraordinaire Jason Lee from Shut Up and Eat to get his opinion.

Jason is a veteran of the Montreal food scene, and his blog is one of the few that also focuses on Asian dishes, although he writes about everything edible.  It’s no wonder that Jason has a passion for food, and Chinese food in particular.  His family has always been in the business, from restaurants to food production and distribution.  In fact, his grandfather was one of the original merchants to establish Montreal’s Chinatown, so it seems that his family’s interest has been present for generations.  Because of his history in Chinese cuisine, he explained that he “takes it personally when he does happen to write about it.” His blog is light, witty and not at all preachy or snobby.  Whenever we check out his blog we always learn something new, from a fun restaurant to his Dim Sum for Dummies  series including a description of Pheonix Claws … yes, chicken feet.

According to Jason, foods served at Chinese New Year are deliberately chosen for their auspicious meanings.  The Chinese are very superstitious and food eaten at this time is often symbolic for health, happiness or wealth.  We got Jason’s picks for his three top restaurant to bring in the New Year, as well as his guide on what to eat. Three meals, three restaurants. You decide.

Restaurant La Maison Kam Fung 

Dim Sum dumplings at Restaurant La Maison Kam Fung (Photo Credit Jason Lee)

Kam Fung has three locations to choose from in Montreal, Brossard and most recently, Dollard-Des-Ormeaux.  The restaurants are well known, and will inevitably be brought up in any conversation on Chinese restaurants in Montreal.  They are popular for their dim sum and traditional Cantonese cuisine.  Dim sum are small Chinese dishes made for sharing consisting of a variety of items including dumplings, noodle rolls, and meatballs.  It is the perfect food for a celebration with friends and family. Jason recommends trying the dumplings, which are wrapped in the shape of gold or silver ingots and auspicious for wealth and prosperity.

1111, Rue Saint-Urbain, Montreal

7209 Taschereau, unit 111, Brossard

339 boul des Sources#E, Dollard-des-Ormeaux

www.restaurantlamaisonkamfung.com

 

Peking Duck at Restaurant MonNan (Photo Credit Jason Lee)

Restaurant MonNan 

Restaurant MonNan is located right in Montreal’s Chinatown and is known for it’s delicious Peking duck.  The duck is served slowly over three courses, and is eaten in an almost ritualistic fashion.  Duck represents health and fertility and is often a celebratory meal in Chinese culture.  Jason’s favourite method of preparation is when the duck is wrapped in a Chinese pancake with scallions and cucumbers.

43 rue de la Gauchetière East, Montreal, www.restaurantmonnan.com

Maison Foo Lam

Ginger Scallion Lobster at Maison Foo Lam (Photo Credit Jason Lee)

Maison Foo Lam, located on Boulevard de l’Acadie in Ahuntsic, has an eclectic menu but is most famous for their fresh seafood.  In fact, you can pick your live fish, crab or lobsters from tanks right in the restaurant.  The word ‘fish’ in Cantonese sounds similar to the word abundance, which is good fortune for the New Year.  The fish, or shrimp is served whole from head to tail, which represents the beginning and the end.  If you have chosen the lobster to eat instead, the red colour is considered lucky in Chinese culture.  Sounds like a delicious way to ring in the New Year!

9394 Boulevard de l’Acadie, Montreal