Sweet treats on New Year’s Eve

In other parts of the world, you’ll know that the party has officially begun when people dressed in red go out in the streets and you see lavish fireworks exploding in the skies. Despite the absence fireworks in Palau, the people instead partake of the bountiful food prepared to greet the Chinese New Year.
Stepping into the Waves Restaurant at the Palau Royal Resort felt like entering into a totally Chinese territory-from the decorations to the traditional foods they served for the occasion. The buffet table was filled to the brim with a vast selection of food, from noodles, fish, shrimps to dumplings to sweets and everything traditional to the occasion.

It was confusing trying to get a taste of everything but I focused on the sweets which dominated the long buffet table- the fried tikoy, steamed rice cake, fried rice cake, fried seafood cake, croquette, Chinese new year cake, pao (steamed flour with fillings), and oranges.

PRR food and beverage manager Allan Tuppil said every food they served carries different symbols and beliefs.
Legend has it that offering sweets and sticky cakes to the Kitchen God, a god sent from Heaven to each family to take charge of family’s affairs and make a report on what the family has done in the past year to Heaven became a practice.
The sticky cake is said to prevent the Kitchen God from speaking ill of the family in Heaven by sticking his mouth. PRR also distributed other tokens for good luck in the new year. Kung Hei Fat Choy!

Published in Island Times, February 22, 2007 issue.

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