Getting Luckee: Susur Lee decodes his Chinese New Year dim sum platter
This February 19, restaurants across the city will ring in the Year of the Ram (or Goat or Sheep, if you’d prefer with special dishes that symbolize good fortune, wealth and happiness. Among those restaurants: Susur Lee’s Luckee. We asked Lee to guide us through his special dim sum platter—available from Luckee’s special menu until March 1—and what makes it so, well, lucky. “Dim sum is not proprietary to Chinese New Year,” says Lee. “But these have been enhanced to make them appropriate for the festival.”
Traditionally, dumplings are meant to resemble boat-shaped silver ingots, which symbolize prosperity; the more dumplings you consume, the more money you’ll make. These ones are stuffed with lobster, the Cantonese word for which is made up of the characters for dragon (which gives lobster some street cred when it comes to power and strength) and prawn (pronounced haa, it’s often associated with happiness).
Black moss (faat choy) sounds like the Cantonese words for “striking it rich.” The same characters appear in a greeting you’ve probably heard before: “gong hey fat choy,” which translates to “congratulations and be prosperous.” The vegetable, balanced atop one of Luckee’s chicken and shrimp siu mai dumplings, has a soft, vermicelli-ish texture, and is a staple in Chinese New Year cuisine.
A once-dry, but now rehydrated Fanny Bay oyster (hou si) sits pretty on the second siu mai dumpling and is meant to represent success. (In Cantonese, the pronunciation of oyster sounds similar to “good business.”) Braised dried oyster and black moss is a popular New Year’s combination, and these dumplings are bite-sized versions of the Prosperous & Good Fortune plate on Luckee’s special holiday menu. “That’s the dish my mom would wake up at 3 a.m. to make,” says Lee.
Abalone (bao yu), a sea snail, stands in for good fortune and excess, and here, it’s placed on top of a golden har gow “coin” to underline the concept of wealth. To keep things real, the reddish colour of the har gow wrapper is made from carrot juice instead of an artificial red dye. (The colour red is considered good luck because the word, hung, is phonetically similar to “prosperous.”)
Meshy bamboo pith fungus (zhú sūn) is wrapped around a steamed crab claw and symbolizes long life—again, thanks to how similar the words for both are to one-another. “Food, for me, is education,” says Lee. “I discovered all of these meanings from my mom and my chefs.”
Just in case you haven’t been counting, every order has eight items—an auspicious number, because the number eight (baat) sounds like the word for wealth (faat). When it comes down to it, this holiday basket “is for anybody who likes money,” says Lee.
$32 (serves two). Available now until March 1. Luckee, 328 Wellington Street W., 416-935-0400.
9 thoughts on “Getting Luckee: Susur Lee decodes his Chinese New Year dim sum platter”
Oh no! It’s west of Yonge. What’s the score?
One day you’re whining like a baby and now you’re soliciting it. I give you credit: You don’t even attempt to hide the fact that you’re nothing more than a troll with nothing to say. Make up your mind Kid.
My comments were directed and poking fun at Darren who is the one who whines about the discrepancy. I’m not the one whining. Re-read my comments elsewhere.
we all know who you were directing them to. darren has not said a word other than posting a discrepancy between east and west. you on the other hand, whined how annoying it was, etc. we’ve all seen your inane comments. and daniel made the point that you started out complaining and now you’re asking for it. you make no comment on topic. you just troll. and you act like you aren’t a troll after literally asking for him to post what you first complained about. you’re nothing more than a troll with nothing to say. and a liar to boot. unless you can point us to where darren has ever whined. please show us troll.
Why do you keep saying Darren whines? fact: he has never posted anything resembling whining. He posts a statistic. A statistic that fact: You ranted about finding annoying. As pointed out, you could block him from this oh-so-annoying stat but you don’t. Instead you continue to throw a little hissy fit on another story and then you start asking for it to continue, so you can continue to whine about it. You seek it out and then pretend you aren’t looking for it. You really are a textbook troll. I take back my earlier compliment that you owned it because you clearly are delusional. You ARE a troll.
Oh get off your high horses and get a sense of humour. I was poking fun at the stat. Yes, it gets annoying seeing his stat on every restaurant review. Relax! And by the way Adriana, you posted a few months ago that you were wanted TL to post more stories about restaurants west of Yonge. Who’s calling who a liar.
1: high horse coming from the guy who announced that nothing in the east is worth writing about. 2: from a guy who said that and then started listing places he liked in the east. 3: from a guy who is a constant contradiction. 4: at least you’re back to admitting to being a troll, but you’re still lazy about it. 5: of all the things that you could be annoyed at, a guy merely pointing out what toronto life is notorious for: never straying from their bubble, is the thing that you take issue with? 6: you should get a sense of sarcasm. one would think that maybe… just maybe you’d have figured out that when i said they should post more about west of yonge that it was sarcasm. but not you. my two cents: never gets tired of being wrong. so to answer your question, i guess i’d be calling you a liar, now in addition to not that bright. for the record, you have yet to point out where darren ever whined. as opposed to how often it has been pointed out where you have. troll.
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