Raising A Toast To the Year Of The Horse

2014 is the Lunar Year of the Horse, taking over from the year of the water snake. And celebrations are on as the Chinese New Year was kicked off across the world, including Mumbai. I write this post from Aurangabad, celebrating with, well, Naan-Khaliya, and Khubaani Ka Meetha. In absence of some of my favourite Oriental Cuisine, these would have to do.

In Mumbai, however, it’s a different scenario. If you, like me, are fond of wielding your chopsticks, head to Mekong, the award-winning Oriental restaurant, and Li Bai, the highest social lounge & bar in the city at The Penthouse, Level 37, Palladium Hotel. I have been told that Chef Leong’s Chinese New Year menu is evocative of his memories of a traditional meal cooked for special occasions, featuring Steamed Chicken Dumpling with Abalone topped with Tobiko, Carrot and Purple CabbageBraised Claypot Duck with Sichuan spices in Black Bean Sauce; Stewed Fungus Mushroom, Bamboo Shoot and Water Chestnut in Mushroom Oyster Sauce and Steamed Morels stuffed with Shrimp Paste with Egg and Wine Sauce. The journey ends on sweet note with desserts like Kumquat flavored Chocolate Mousse and Mango Pulp with Sago and Pomelo.
The cocktail menu at Li Bai and Mekong is also a reflection of the bartender’s travels across the Orient. Get ready to ride into the Year Of the Horse, with Beijing Beauty (vodka, passion fruit, strawberry, lime and simple syrup), Dragon's TailYin Yang, Luck-T-ini (martini with a twist to bring you luck and prosperity in the New Year) and Shandong Mary (Asian twist to the classic Bloody Mary).

Pan seared Scallop topped with minced prawns in superior sauce
Steamed Chicken Dumpling with Abalone
Braised Abalone with Asparagus
The celebrations kick started from dinner on January 31st and will be on for lunch and dinner till the February 6th at Mekong and Li Bai.

So while I soak up some traditional Indian breads in sinful Saalan, go ahead and enjoy some Chinese fabulousness. I will be back in the city on 2nd February, and will be gone again on the 4th. Because… Kashmir beckons. More on that later. Meanwhile, some fun trivia about the Year Of The Horse.

People born in the year of the horse are said to be a bit like horses: animated, active and energetic – they love being in a crowd. They are quick to learn independence – foals can walk minutes after birth – and they have a straightforward and positive attitude towards life. They are known for their communication skills and are exceedingly witty.
If you were born in the year of the horse, you should be looking for potential partners who were born in the years of the tiger, goat or dog. Avoid those born in the year of the rat, ox, rabbit or horse. You won't like them.

If none of this rings true, don't worry. The animal signs of each year merely indicate how others see you or how you choose to present yourself. There are also animal signs for each month, known as inner animals, signs for each day, called true animals, and animals for each hour, or secret animals.

According to superstition, in your zodiac year you will offend Tai Sui, the god of age, and will experience bad luck for the whole year. To avoid this you should wear something red, which has been given to you by someone else. In general, the lucky colours of team horse are green, red and purple; the lucky numbers are three, four and nine, and the lucky flowers are giant taro and jasmine.

If you were born in the year of the horse, you're in good company. Fellow members of the horse club include Genghis Khan, Mongol ruler; Franklin D Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the US; Louis Pasteur, a 19th-century scientist; Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon; the American singer Aretha Franklin; and the model Cindy Crawford.
Don’t know you Chinese Zodiac Sign? Find it here.

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