Food and Drink 

Gung hay fat choy, near and far

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Are Steve Jiu and I the only ones left on the planet who love to celebrate every holiday and culturally significant day known to humankind?

By the time you read this, I will have picked the bits of haggis from me teeth after a wee bit o’ fun at Robbie Burns night, having only just put away the last of the New Year’s party horns. Our outdoor Christmas lights are still up – and on – because they make these long dark nights a little brighter. (Promise I’ll turn them off before Easter.)

Now I sit wide-eyed in anticipation of the big noisy parade down Pender and Keefer streets in Vancouver to celebrate Chinese New Year, this the Year of the Dog, followed by a feast of won ton and noodles and barbecued duck at a Chinese restaurant somewhere.

I caught up with Steve after he penned a letter to the editor in the Jan. 12 Pique enlightening people about Chinese New Year. Its subtle subtext: wouldn’t it be great if Whistler got on the Chinese New Year bandwagon big-time.

Steve is better known as the multi-tasking, multi-disc-spinning DJ Kato – well, not anymore; he just changed his name to DJ Jiu, – when he’s not running Farfalla Hair Salon or running for council. His bandwagon message pretty much encapsulates his inner impresario self, and comes across with a bang in person.

"Chinese New Year is so big in Vancouver, which is great, but in Whistler it’s non-existent – it’s a big divide.

"I don’t think people here see the economic benefit it could have," says Steve, who will be heading down to Vancouver to get his annual hit of Chinese New Year with family and friends.

On the 28th, the day before Chinese New Year, everyone will flock to his mom and dad’s house in Coquitlam to exchange gifts and enjoy all kinds of special foods. There’ll be a "steamboat", where you cook your own shrimp, scallops, pieces of meat and Asian veggies like bok choy in a bubbling broth. And barbecued pork, ginger beef, salted pork and chicken (the latter served with garlic sauce), fried rice and chow mein.

Chinese New year is a time to celebrate together, and to "sweep clean" by putting your physical and metaphorical house in order. Any grudges between you and a cousin? Steve says now’s the time to mend bridges and move forward with a clean slate.

Friends and relatives will drop by with gifts for each other — boxes of chocolates, bags of oranges or red packets of lucky money. They’ll read about and discuss the New Year and what it will bring. (This is the year of the red or fire dog, to be precise, and that adds a little extra energy and zip. But normally years of the dog bring out the loyalty and honesty in people and inspire confidence.)

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