Happy Chinese New Year! Welcome to the Year of the Monkey. For our second Taste Of, we’re enjoying some traditional Chinese food and a classic Kung Fu movie.
Amanda prepared a great start to our evening. While I was at work, she crafted some red and gold paper lanterns and hung them around our kitchen. When I got home, she started playing the album ‘Traditional Chinese Music’ from Amazon Prime and we set out to make some Chinese food. Our menu for the evening was steamed vegetable dumplings, fried rice, and for dessert, tangerines, which are supposed to bring good luck in the new year.
We bought a Black and Decker rice cooker a couple years ago because we got onto a kick of having rice with dinner. It had fallen into disuse over time and was stored alongside a number of other kitchen gadgets we’ve purchased over the years. Tonight, though, was its time to shine. Not only did it cook our rice, it also has a basket that we used to steam the dumplings. I cooked my white rice first while Amanda was prepping the dumplings, then while the dumplings were steaming, I fried the rice. The rice was done just as the dumplings finished, which was great timing. After our obligatory photos, our food was still hot as we sat down for our movie.
Our classic Chinese movie for the night was The 36th Chamber of Shaolin. This movie is amazing. It was released in 1978 at the height of the popularity of Kung Fu movies, and ended up defining a lot of the genre. The main hero struggles against some oppressive ruler or tyrannical warlord, begins losing the struggle, and then learns Kung Fu to make the comeback at the end, all while finding inner peace. The movie stars Chia-Hui Liu as San Te, a legendary Shaolin master. As a college student, he is taught by a professor who sympathizes with the rebellion against the current occupation of their homeland. He gets involved with the rebellion, but is found out by the invaders, and is forced to flee. After a daring chase, he narrowly escapes, but not before being injured. He decides that he needs to learn Kung Fu to prepare himself to fight the invaders, so he starts heading to the Shaolin temple. Once there, he convinces the Shaolin monks to let him stay and train with them. The monks have 35 chambers set up at the monastery to train in Kung Fu. Most of the movie is San Te attempting to pass the individual chambers.
The movie has spectacular fight choreography. One of the most impressive scenes was when San Te was learning to use the staff and the instructor was using a long staff to train group of students in the proper form at the same time. That led to a synchronized staff fight. All of the fight scenes were incredibly well done.
The 36th Chamber of Shaolin is the first of four movies, the rest of which we will be watching ASAP. We looked up Chia-Hui Liu on IMDB and found that he has a long list of movies that we also now need to watch.
This is only our second Taste Of date, but we are extremely happy with the results so far. Even after we finish our year of date nights every night, we are planning to continue our monthly cultural experiences. We’ve learned a lot about cultures that we otherwise didn’t know much about.