Noodles, dumplings, crispy rolls; sweet, sour, spicy. With just a few words I am willing to bet your mouth is watering and your head is swirling with images of a splendid, colourful Chinese banquet. Our friends from the Far East have transformed the enjoyment of food across the globe and Chinese food is now one of the world’s most popular cuisines.
Here in the Small City, we may not have the bustling metropolis and multi-cultural melting pot of our larger counterparts but we do boast some of Scotland’s best Chinese food establishments – The Jade Garden and China China spring to mind - and a thriving Chinese Community which goes back to the late sixties.
Since then, Perth’s Chinese Community has grown and flourished and is now run by second and third generation Scottish-Chinese locals all of whom have played a hugely important role in weaving our two cultures closer together.
Linda Chan-Malcolm is the walking embodiment of this statement; born in PRI, as one of the oldest of her cousins, she was among the first to consider herself as much Scottish as she did Chinese. Hers was a glorious childhood of two halves with has much time spent playing with her Scottish classmates as there was chatting to Chinese chefs, studiously doing her homework and napping under the sink of the family’s Jade Garden restaurant on Scott Street.
The Jade Garden opened in1975 and under the irrepressible character that was Mrs Chan went one to become one of Perth’s leading restaurant institutions. It is where many of us experienced our first, proper, Chinese sit-down meal; fiddling with chopsticks and watching on in wonder as the table filled with shredded duck and mini pancakes, baskets of sticky dumplings, bowls of noodles dressed in salty soy sauce and crispy pork covered in crackling. It’s where we learned sweet and sour could be a taste sensation, prawns were all the better for a slick dressing of black bean sauce and egg stirred into rice was, quite honestly, the food of the gods.
It is easy to see then, why we have all fallen in love with our second culture here in Perth and why so many of us have become entwined in the amazing food, traditions and influences. Because of course, spring rolls and chow mein may be where it all started but after fifty years together, it’s not just about food. In this current global climate, where the narrative of multi-cultural communities is being used as a political point scoring tool, half a century of closely woven ties has raised generations of children and adults who consider themselves to live in a richer, more diverse and happier city because of our first, second and third generations of Scottish-Global citizens.
THE YEAR OF THE ROOSTER kicks off on Saturday 28th January with THE ANNUAL CHINESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATION FESTIVAL taking place in Perth City Centre on Monday 30th January.
The procession will gather at around 4.45 pm outside 2 High Street, with firecrackers being set off from the Tay Street viewing point, before the procession, led by the Chinese Lion and Chinese Dragon, leads participant up the High Street, down King Edward Street and into St John’s Place (Willows side), then onto St John Street.
Invited guests of the Perthshire Chinese Community Association will then go in to The Salutation Hotel. Others who have gathered for the parade are invited to then cross the bridge to Norie-Miller Walk which will be lit up with a Chinese New Year theme featuring more firecrackers and Chinese arts demonstrations until 9.00 pm. As with all of the Norie-Miller Walk Light Nights the walk will remain open, and lighting switched on, until 10.00 pm that night.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT PERTH'S CHINESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS HERE >>>
From the traditional Chinese Lion that we've all now come to consider a big part of our Perth culture, to the street food, delicate dancing, impressive martial arts skills and stunning displays of traditional Chinese Dress, this is a festival that opened up its beautifully-coloured, kimono clad arms and embraced all of us.
We caught up with Linda for a sneak preview of this year’s celebratory food and we’re delighted to bring you two easy to create recipes so you can join in the fun at home!
READ OUR FILLET BEEF & BLACK BEAN SAUCE RECIPE HERE >>
READ OUR CRISPY SEAFOOD NOODLES RECIPE HERE >>
READ LINDA CHAN-MAlCOLM’S BIG PERSONALITY STORY HERE >>>
The Rooster is tenth in the Chinese zodiac
Lucky Colors: gold, brown, yellow
Lucky Numbers: 5, 7, and 8
Lucky Flowers: gladiola, cockscomb
Here's to a prosperous and happy one for each and every person.