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Fung's Kitchen Celebrates Lunar New Year With Lions and Cantonese Food

Hoi Fung (right) invites Martin Yan (left) to Houston each year to preside over the annual Lunar New Year celebration.
Hoi Fung (right) invites Martin Yan (left) to Houston each year to preside over the annual Lunar New Year celebration.
Photo by Mai Pham

More than 300 people attended the annual Lunar New Year celebration and banquet at Fung's Kitchen. As in years past, chef and propietor Hoi Fung presided over the festivities alongside friend and colleague Martin Yan, well known for his television series Yan Can Cook.

Yan, who had flown to Houston specifically for the event, was accompanied by chef Tony Wu, the executive chef of M.Y. China in San Francisco, and a master of the centuries-old tradition of noodle pulling.

Three lions weaved their way throughout the room for photo ops, and to collect their small red envelopes.
Three lions weaved their way throughout the room for photo ops, and to collect their small red envelopes.
Photo by Mai Pham

The evening kicked off with a traditional lion dance, with three lions dancing and working their way through the guests tables to collect little red envelopes containing money. It is the Chinese tradition to bestow the lion with money to ensure good luck and prosperity, and many eager guests did so, posing for photo ops and even petting the lion as they would a live pet.

"We have an eight-course banquet for you this evening," announced Yan. "Why eight? Because eight is a lucky number, and it will bring you good fortunes for the new year." And thus, the joyous food celebration began, beginning with a crispy skinned roast pork and a butternut squash soup teeming with fresh chunks of grouper.

Wu demonstrated how he could cut a thin piece of meat on top of an inflated balloon.
Wu demonstrated how he could cut a thin piece of meat on top of an inflated balloon.
Photo by Mai Pham

As in years past, Fung and Yan performed live cooking demonstrations on the stage, which were projected onto two large projection panels located in the front and back of the banquet room. Yan explained everything as he went along, keeping the momentum of the evening high, an entertainer to the core. I was hoping to see Wu do his traditional noodle pulling demonstration, but this year he opted instead to show us other tricks, such as how he could slice meat on top of a balloon without popping the balloon.

There were plenty of giveaways during the evening to bolster the spirit of the celebration, as numbers were drawn (each person had been given a raffle ticket at entrance) and guests came up to the podium, television-game-show-style, to receive their prizes. Among the prizes were items like bottles of sake, gift certificates, and Martin Yan aprons.

The story continues on the next page.  

Tables were arranged for parties of 10, with each person getting one tasting of each course, including this quail.
Tables were arranged for parties of 10, with each person getting one tasting of each course, including this quail.
Photo by Mai Pham

Food-wise, Fung's delivered with items like roast plump champagne quail, imperial whole sea scallop in a wasabi sauce (each guest went home with a gift bag from Kikkoman that included this sauce), colossal tiger prawns in spicy garlic salt that were as big as a five-ounce lobster tail, crispy pork in a hand-made wonton cup, hand-pulled noodles by chef Wu, and caramelized fuji apple crisp topped with sugar threads.

The Fung's Lunar New Year is a colorful, fun event that sells out every year. If you don't want to miss out, be sure to call and make your reservation during Christmas-time or the beginning of January. We leave you with some photos of the food and festivities.

The colossal prawns were delicious.
The colossal prawns were delicious.
Photo by Mai Pham
Each guest received one perfectly formed, crusted with-tasty-crispy-spices golden prawn.
Each guest received one perfectly formed, crusted with-tasty-crispy-spices golden prawn.
Photo by Mai Pham
A young prize-winner makes her way onto the stage to claim her reward.
A young prize-winner makes her way onto the stage to claim her reward.
Photo by Mai Pham
Whole pacific scallops were topped with wasabi sauce.
Whole pacific scallops were topped with wasabi sauce.
Photo by Mai Pham
Lots of smiles and laughter were evident throughout the night, as guests petted the lions while giving them their red envelopes.
Lots of smiles and laughter were evident throughout the night, as guests petted the lions while giving them their red envelopes.
Photo by Mai Pham
The crispy pork came in house-made wonton cups.
The crispy pork came in house-made wonton cups.
Photo by Mai Pham
All the noodles served were hand-pulled by chef Tony Wu of M.Y. China in San Francisco.
All the noodles served were hand-pulled by chef Tony Wu of M.Y. China in San Francisco.
Photo by Mai Pham
The evening ended on a sweet note with crispy, caramelized fuji apple: like a fried banana, only better.
The evening ended on a sweet note with crispy, caramelized fuji apple: like a fried banana, only better.
Photo by Mai Pham
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Fung's Kitchen

7320 Southwest Freeway
Houston, TX 77074

713-779-2288

www.eatatfungs.com


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