Chinese New Year On a Boat

We've spent a whole week indulging in the name of Chinese New Year - yes, I love how festivals give you the excuse to (over) indulge. This would mark my third Chinese New Year away from home and while it definitely doesn't get any easier in terms of feeling like you're missing out on everything that's going on back home, the advent of technology (those wonderful camera-equipped Blackberry phones) has really helped made me feel as if I was part of it all somehow.

So while my family gathered in Kemaman for Reunion Lunch, we decided that we'd have our version of the Reunion Dinner at our favourite floating restaurant this year.

The Lotus Chinese Floating Restaurant
5 Baltimore Walk,
London, E14 9FB
Tel: 020 7515 6445,020 7515 6445
Fax: 020 7515 6446

Roast Duck

Kangkung Belacan. Water spinach fried with spicy shrimp paste - a little on the mild side but definitely something to satisfy the Malaysian tastebuds.

We had never had anything other than dim sum on previous visits to Lotus and while I would still pick dim sum over anything else at the restaurant given the choice, we came away from the meal content and satisfied. Like with the dim sum, copious amounts of water is was not needed after the meal, a side-effect of many Chinese restaurants, and portions were a good size. Other note-worthy dishes include the salt-baked chicken, steamed eel and braised mushrooms.

Complementary "Nian Gao", taken literally to mean "a higher year", the cherry on top of the cake. Nothing like some fried sticky, sweet rice cakes to welcome the new year.

Us, all decked out in red.

If there's an occasion that warrants two visits to Lotus in a week, it's Chinese New Year. The best way to catch up with your singing buddies over the festive season? Story-swapping over delicious dim sum on a Sunday afternoon.

Clockwise from top left: Egg tarts, steamed custard buns, fried prawn dumplings, glutinous rice in lotus leaves.

The restaurant does some lovely renditions of dim sum classics like pork and prawn dumplings as well as porridge and custard buns. What I really look forward to on each visit, however, are the less conventional dishes like their cheung fun-wrapped fried dough-wrapped prawns and mushroom-filled fried bean curd rolls.

Nicole, sinking her teeth into one of those crispy beancurd rolls that I love so much.

I've always thought of dim sum as the perfect social meal - food comes in bite-sized portions and there's plenty of sharing to do. With food that has never let us down, a good selection of dishes, lovely views and the novelty of eating on a boat, I daresay that this would be my go-to for dim sum in London.

I hope that you've been enjoying welcoming the Year of the Rabbit as much as I have. Here's to a happy, prosperous year ahead!

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