Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Gooma!

This past Sunday, I went to Chinatown to Grand Harmony restaurant for my Aunt's 90th birthday! She's actually my dad's cousin, but we call her "Gooma" which is Auntie in Cantonese because she's like a big sister to my dad. When my dad came to the United States in the late 60s, he was the only one is his immediate family to emigrate here. He is the youngest of 7 children and came to New York City when he was 19. Just a teenager! Since he came here by himself, he lived with my Gooma in Chinatown, NYC for a few months until he made enough money to rent his own apartment. Ever since then, they have been as close as brother and sister. In fact, it wasn't until I started college that my dad told us that she wasn't his "real" sister but his cousin. My whole childhood we called her Auntie so I always assumed she was his older sister.

For those of you that watch "Top Chef", last week's episode was filmed at the Grand Harmony restaurant. It's a pretty well known establishment in Chinatown. My brother had his wedding there and so did my cousin.  They have changed management quite a few times so the food there isn't what it used to be, it used to be much better.  However, we've been going here for decades, so it's like a tradition for us to come here.
One of the dishes we ate is called Seafood Birdsnest.  Which is a stir fry of vegetables and a variety of seafood in a fried basket.  The edible basket is made of fried Taro.  It is delicious!
On the menu, was also whole steamed fish, crispy soy sauce chicken, shrimp fried rice, beef lo-mein, lobster with black bean sauce, conch with sauteed shitaki mushrooms and sweet red bean soup.  It was a feast!
The birthday cake was heavenly!  My cousin ordered the cake from Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, this ice cream store is a Chinatown landmark!  We went here as kids, and they have the most exotic delicious flavors.  Gooma's cake had layers of mango, lychee, and strawberry ice cream.  Sooo good, and totally out of this world! If you are ever in the area, you must go here to try out some of their exotic flavors.  They have flavors like Avocado, Wasabi, Ginger, Taro, Black Sesame, and Red Bean. What's your favorite flavor?


  1. That meal looks fantastic. The ice cream cake sounds decadent!

  2. The food looks delicious!

    What a nice story about your dad coming to this country. Both sets of my grandparents came to this country.

  3. Happy birthday to Gooma! Ninety years is quite the accomplishment! It looks, from your pictures, as though her birthday celebration was delicious. I could go for some of that ice cream right now!

  4. Cool ice cream flavours! I'd like to try them all...I think I'll start with the Black Sesame. I wonder if we have a ice-cream place like this in Toronto's Chinatown?

  5. That ice cream cake is making my mouth water - mmmm!

  6. What a fun birthday celebration! I'm not so sure about some of those ice cream flavors. I have been trying some new recipes, and just learned what wasabi is, because I made a recipe for salmon patties that calls for it. I like it for the salmon, but have you tried horseradish ice cream? LOL

    Oh, I enjoyed reading about your dad coming over and living with his cousin, who became a sister to him. My grandma came over as a baby with her parents, Germans from Russia. They became migrant farm workers.

  7. Oh wow - that food looks amazing. I need to try to get there one day. Looks like everyone had a great time!

  8. yum. Happy birthday to your (sort of) aunt! It's fun to be Chinese sometimes - everyone can really just be aunt/uncle. I was just reading a recipe for the taro basket and was thinking about trying to make it. I remember having that as a kid. So fun.

    As for fun flavors, I love green tea ice cream.


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