Category Archives: Chinese Culture

Chinese New Year Greetings | Say What?

We’re celebrating the Chinese New Year in a few days. In the Philippines, this Chinese holiday has become something like a national event. In fact, a few years back, the Philippine government began declaring the Chinese New Year as a special non-working holiday. One question that I get a lot: how to say proper Chinese New Year greetings?

We see and hear a lot of different variations, which has only added to the bit of confusion.

Chinese New Year Greetings kiong hee huat tsai Binondo arch
The Binondo Chinatown Arch, Manila

So is it –

“Kung Hei Fat Choi”? (What we read and hear most commonly)

Or “Gong Xi Fa Cai”?

Or “Kiong Hee Huat Tsai”?

Continue reading Chinese New Year Greetings | Say What?

New Year Traditions for good luck

Everyone’s probably busy preparing for the New Year festivities. What New Year traditions do you observe for good luck?

Though we are a Chinese household, we practice only a handful of the usual traditions that are supposed to bring in good luck for the New Year.

One of the mainstays of our New Year spread is fish. Fish symbolizes prosperity because the Chinese terms for fish and for excess/ extra sound alike – “yu”. It does not even have to be an expensive kind of fish. Our favorite fish is pampano / pompano.

Here is a Chinese style steamed Pompano fish recipe that I usually prepare for New Year’s Eve.

steamed pampano fish chinese style


Filipinos prepare 12 kinds of round fruits on New Year’s Eve. In our household, it does not  necessarily have to be 12 or round. I always prepare tray of fresh and colorful fruits, though, for good measure. 😀

fruits new year traditions good luck

The boys in my family get haircuts a day or two before New Year. This is supposed to get rid of and leave behind the bad luck that the passing year brought. I would get a haircut too, just so I look good welcoming the New Year, y’know. 😉

Continue reading New Year Traditions for good luck

Chinese language summer camp at Dash

If you live in the New Manila, San Juan or Pasig areas, and want your kids to learn Chinese this summer, enroll them at Dash Chinese Language Summer camp.

Chinese language summer camp at DashSince 2009, Dash has been offering the Summer Fun program to kids ages 2 to 12. And year after year, the kids come back because they probably enjoy it. Maybe it doesn’t feel like school at all. Continue reading Chinese language summer camp at Dash

beijing tong ren tang chinese medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine for growth: Beijing Tong Ren Tang

Have you considered traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for growth? We paid a visit to Beijing Tong Ren Tang TCM clinic for my eldest daughter, Patch who seems to have stopped growing three years ago when she was 12.

She loves to play volleyball, and would want to become really good at it. That’s one of the main reasons why she wants to be taller.

I am not sure if Chinoy parents still commonly practice giving tien chit to their kids at puberty. Tien chit is an herbal medicine that is supposed to help kids attain their optimal height. Well, Hub and I have been letting Patch take tien chit for 2 years now. Unfortunately, we did not see any improvement in her height. As it turns out, we may have been buying a sub-standard ready-made version of the herbal medicine. Worst-case scenario: tien chit doesn’t work.

But we’re not about to give up just yet. Besides, tien chit worked for several of our friends’ kids, and hub’s friends themselves when they were younger. One of Patch’s classmates is taking tien chit, along with acupuncture therapy, and this boy who used to be little is not so little anymore. He grew at least 5 inches taller in a span of just over a year!

Growth factors

I’m aware that there are a lot of other factors that contribute to growth, genetics being the major player. On this account, we may have a good case since Hub and I are of average height.

Nutrition and sleep are also major contributors to growth. I’m pretty sure Patch doesn’t lack good nutrition. But sleep – oh yes she lacks. Scientific studies have proven that growth occurs during deep sleep. So I have a lot of convincing to do for her to get more sleep -about 8.75 hours for her age.

Sleep requirements for children (slide for Johnson’s Baby)

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)

The short of the story is that I brought Patch to Tong Ren Tang where the classmate who grew by at least 5 inches goes for treatment. Yep, we’re exhausting all means. Continue reading Traditional Chinese medicine for growth: Beijing Tong Ren Tang

Shao Bing – traditional Chinese biscuits | China eats & treats

So I went along again with Hub on his latest China business trip. Our hosts, who have been our export agents for over 10 years, so graciously entertained us. Because it was a strictly business trip, dinners and massages were our pinaka-leisure time. (Oh, the massages are for another blog post!)

The humble, unassuming shao bing

The humble, unassuming shao bing (read “shao ping” without the air sound on “p”… If you studied Han Yu Pinyin, you know what I’m talking about. :D)

Continue reading Shao Bing – traditional Chinese biscuits | China eats & treats