Saturday, January 18, 2014

Ethnic Auckland: Spicy lamb feet a delicacy that melts in mouth

By Lincoln Tan 5:30 AM Saturday Jan 11, 2014 Camel meat and horse milk are considered to be among the delicacies in the part of the world where Rizaydn Reyim comes from, and lamb trotters rank among the favourites. Mr Reyim, 31, is a Uyghur (pronounced "weega" or "weecour"). He hails from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China, and he is eager to share his food with those in his adopted homeland. "Not many Kiwis will ever get a chance to travel to Xinjiang, so by starting a restaurant serving Uyghur food I think it will be the only way they will get a chance to experience our food," Mr Reyim said. Uyghurs are a Turkic ethnic group whose cuisine is characterised mainly by lamb, beef, camel, goose, carrot, tomatoes, onions, pepper and various dairy food and fruits. They are mainly Muslim and the food is predominantly halal. "There is no seafood, and all the vegetable and meat we get are from what we farm and grow," Mr Reyim said. "So we know very well how not to waste any part of the animal, and eat everything from the lungs, tail and even eyes." Mr Reyim said lamb trotters, with their gelatinous textures, were a favourite because Uyghur men believed them to be an aphrodisiac and the women believe eating them helps beautify their skin. In Xinjiang, speciality "lamb feet restaurants" have sprouted in recent years because of the food's growing popularity. "Lamb feet don't really have too much meat, but the best part is eating the tendons and sucking the bone marrow," said Mr Reyim. "It is also the tendons and tissue around the leg that also naturally adds to the flavour and thicken the sauce." The spice in the koy pachak kormisy dish comes mainly from the cloves, which are considered to have anti-oxidant properties and other health benefits. Mr Reyim said the meal was best accompanied with an Uyghur-style milk tea, which is flavoured with salt instead of sugar. Lamb trotters are available at the butchery section of Asian supermarkets such as Tai Ping. Koy pachak kormisy Ingredients • 8 lamb feet, cut into pieces • 1 onion, chopped • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped • 1 tsp salt • 1 tsp pepper • 1 each red and green capsicum • 1 tsp dried cloves • 1/2 cup tomato paste • 1 Tbsp soya sauce • Vegetable cooking oil Method • Wash and clean the feet carefully and discard hooves, then immerse the feet in water. • Put the feet in a deep pressure cooker with some salt, pepper and oil. • Cook for 1 hours with medium pressure, remove and leave to cool. • Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a separate wok and add the feet. • Add chopped garlic, cloves and onions and fry together with the feet for about 2 minutes. • Add half cup of lamb broth (from the pressure cooker), soya sauce, tomato paste and fry for a further 5 minutes. • Finally add the red and green capsicum, and after a quick fry it is ready to serve. • Add salt and pepper to serve. Where to try Silk Road Uyghur Cuisine, upstairs 12 Wyndham St, Ph: (09) 379 5299

Kiwi acrobat shows off her skills this Chinese New Year

Kiwi acrobat shows off her skills this Chinese New Year By Lincoln Tan 5:30 AM Saturday Jan 18, 2014 She grew up in Whangarei as a ballerina and a vegetarian, but 23-year-old Emma Phillips is back as a Mandarin-speaking acrobat who loves eating duck heads. For 20 months, the 23-year-old has trained as the sole European student with 180 young Chinese acrobats at the Wuqiao Acrobatics School in Wuqiao, Hebei, China. Specialising in foot-juggling a solid wooden table, Chinese parasols and spinning carpets combined with contortion, she has been performing alongside Chinese acrobatic troupes at circuses and stadium shows across China. But she is "extremely excited" to be back in New Zealand for her first Chinese New Year performance at the ASB Showgrounds today. "In China, Chinese New Year celebrations is a really full-on thing with fireworks and firecrackers going on 24/7 for the entire 15-day duration," she said. "It'll be really interesting to see what the celebrations are like in Auckland." Her love for the performing arts began when she joined a ballet school as a child, but she dreamed of becoming an acrobat after her dad took her to watch Cirque Du Soleil in Auckland when she was 15. "To be an acrobat, China's the place to be if you want to train with the best," she said. Training was intensive, more than eight hours daily over six-day weeks, and free time was used for visits to fabric markets and sewing her own costumes. She considers herself lucky to have trained in Wuqiao, which was the birthplace of Chinese acrobatics more than 2000 years ago. Miss Phillips will take centre stage at 11.35am with two foot-juggling acts performed to traditional Chinese music.

Year of the Horse will bring love, marriage and babies

Year of the Horse will bring love, marriage and babies By Lincoln Tan 5:30 AM Saturday Jan 18, 2014 Month of Chinese New Year celebrations will begin once PM has ceremonially 'dotted the lion's eyes' Janet and Charles Chan keep alive the tradition of celebrating Chinese New Year. This year they will be among those welcoming the Year of the Horse. Photo / Brett Phibbs Janet and Charles Chan keep alive the tradition of celebrating Chinese New Year. This year they will be among those welcoming the Year of the Horse. Photo / Brett Phibbs A month-long series of festive events to welcome the Year of the Horse will follow the Prime Minister's dotting of the lion's eyes today. Chinese New Year is still two weeks away, but celebrations start this morning with the Chinese New Year Festival and Market at the ASB Showgrounds in Greenlane. At 10am, Prime Minister John Key will officiate at an eye-dotting ceremony, also known as "dian jing", giving "life" to Chinese lions who will perform a dance to ward off evil and bring in good luck. Under the 12-year-cycle Chinese calendar, or sheng xiao, the Year of the Snake will give way to the Wooden Horse on January 31. Auckland feng shui master James Dong is predicting the year to be a challenging one for New Zealand, with possible natural upheaval and political changes. But the presence of shung chun or "double spring" also promises more romance, marriages and babies. "For some Kiwis, this will be the year to marry, move into new homes and have babies," Mr Dong said. It is also extremely rare for the Chinese lantern festival - observed on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year and known as the Chinese Valentine's Day - to fall on the same day as Valentine's Day on February 14. A highlight at today's market day is a "face changing" performance by a cultural group from China's Jilin province. Next Saturday, Chinese Yu Opera will take centre stage with Chinese acrobats, traditional musicians and New Zealand's Got Talent finalist magician Andre Vegas at Lunar Fest 2014. The event at Trusts Arena in Henderson, organised by a local Asian media company, World TV, will end with a traditional fireworks display. The Year of the Horse will be welcomed with a bang in downtown Auckland CBD as firecrackers are set off at the base of the Sky Tower at 7pm on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. The Chinese God of Fortune, Cai Shen, is also to make a spectacular appearance at SkyCity on January 31. The Korean community, which also observes the Lunar New Year, is organising an event held to honour those aged 65 and over at Takapuna Grammar School on February 1. "In our culture, New Year is a time to remember our seniors and thank them for their contributions," said spokeswoman Diane Lee. The Lunar New Year is traditionally observed for 15 days, and the four-day Auckland Lantern Festival returns to Albert Park on February 13 to mark the end of the cultural festivities. Tang Dynasty, one of China's oldest and best known heavy metal band, and the Shanghai Jiangzhou Drum Troupe will be headline acts at this year's event. The festivities will close with a fireworks display from the Sky Tower at 10.30pm on February 16. What's on Welcoming the Year of the Wooden Horse Chinese New Year Festival • Today, 9.30am to 4pm, ASB Showgrounds, Greenlane. • Market and food stalls, dragon and lion dances. Lunar Fest 2014 • January 25, 3pm -11pm Trusts Arena, Henderson. • Cultural performances, stalls and fireworks. Firecrackers • January 30 and January 31, SkyCity. God of Fortune • January 31, Sky City. Meet Cai Shen, the Chinese God of Fortune. Acrobats, drumming and lion dance • Every weekend from January 30 to February 16, at SkyCity. Auckland Lantern Festival • February 13 to 16, Albert Park, Auckland City.