Fat City has already reported about next week's kick-off of the Chinese New Year festivities, including Mayor Funkhouser's proclamation that the week of January 31 through February 6 is Kansas City's first official "Chinese Week."
And, yes, we've noted that many area Chinese restaurants are celebrating the holiday -- which traditionally lasts for two weeks -- in some fashion. The six Bo Lings restaurants, for example, have a special menu in place. But the holiday means much more than eating flounder in ginger-onion sauce.
"Chinese New Year is not just about the food, although that's an important component -- the gathering together of family and friends over a meal," says Richard Ng, who operates the six area Bo Lings restaurants with his wife, Theresa. "The event is something of a celebration of Chinese culture. You not only usher in a brand-new year but reconnect with family and friends.
"One of the first things we do is visit relatives, beginning with our elderly relatives, since in our culture, the elders are revered," adds Ng, who was born in Hong Kong. "And parents honor their children by presenting them with the red paper packets -- they're called hong bao in Mandarin -- filled with a little money as a promise for a successful new year. Employers often do the same with valued employees."
Ng plans to celebrate this Chinese New Year's Eve -- on Wednesday night -- with his employees by hosting a special party for them.
Ng laughs when asked what he feels about the upcoming "Year of the Rabbit."
"I'm an optimist," Ng says. "I don't worry about the symbolic significance of any year. I just have faith it's going to be a good year."
Since 2011 is the year that Ng officially moves his Plaza location to a new spot on the other side of Brush Creek, we'll all hope it's a good year.
(Image via Flickr: kennymatic)