Bristol Evening Post 07-Feb-08

Allison Chow is interviewed for Bristol Evening Post about the arrival of the year of the rat and what foods are eaten during Chinese New Year.

CELEBRATING THE YEAR OF THE RAT

Chinese New Year - Lion Dance15:56 – 07 February 2008

Today is Chinese New Year, the most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. Bristol has a strong Chinese community who will be celebrating the start of the Year of the Rat with many special celebrations. MARTIN BOOTH reports.This week has certainly been a busy one for Alison Chow, manageress of Eastgate Oriental City behind the old Eastville Stadium near Ikea.

The two-storey building housing a warehouse-style supermarket offering Chinese food and goods on the ground floor, while on the first floor there is a Chinese restaurant staffed by chefs from Hong Kong.

Since opening last year, Eastgate Oriental City has become a hub for the Chinese community in Bristol, who today will be celebrating Chinese New Year and have been flocking to Eastville to stock up on traditional foods.

“We have been very busy,” Mrs Chow said. “The Chinese community have been coming here but Europeans as well and lots of teachers buying things for their class.

“We are very happy to be celebrating New Year and also happy that more people than ever are now celebrating it with us.”

The Chinese are a very close-knit community in Bristol. There are now a lot of Chinese students studying in Bristol, and there are a lot of Chinese working for firms such as Airbus and BAE Systems.

Special new year foods that Mrs Chow has sold for today include a whole fish, to represent togetherness and abundance, and a chicken for prosperity. The chicken must be presented with a head, tail and feet to symbolise completeness. Noodles should be uncut, as they represent long life.

The supermarket at Eastgate Oriental City boasts 4,600 lines and a range of exotic products including duck feet, pig spleen and, for the more adventurous, slices of shark fin.

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