Gong Hey Fat Choy
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