Not literally. But look at this video.
OK, now did you see him tossing the rice in the air?
Observe the name of the restaurant behind him — and I am indebted to Robbie Czajka on Old Sydney Album for this. When I shared to my Facebook I commented: “The Nine Dragons was one of our Yum Cha spots back in the day — I mean roughly the early 2000s — Ian Smith, Sirdan, Bruce Part and many more. Many a great Sunday.”
The early 2000s! I have a post I did some time ago which rescued from various platforms a few of my very earliest blog entries.
2 January 2000: …Yum Cha was a success this morning. [ABC Andrew] turned up and was fascinated by the Y2K problem in the computer BIOS. Ian came up with the theory that it may have defaulted to the chip’s year of manufacture, and indeed when I rang G later today he agreed it was possible, as the chip was manufactured in 1994. So the BIOS was ready to change 1999 to 20 something, but became confused; it kept the 20, but defaulted to 94. A. rang later and came back over about 5.30. He had been online at work to the company (Phoenix Technology) who now have the rights to Award Software, the manufacturers of the BIOS. He downloaded a patch onto a floppy disk, brought it over, and we installed it. While the BIOS still thinks it is 2094, the patch enables it to boot the computer to 2000, obviating the need to buy a new motherboard or a new computer just yet. Next step is the modem and signing up to an ISP.
11 January 2000: Since last entry I have joined Telstra Bigpond and have been using up my 100 free hours, since they expire on February 4. Wow! I have made two cyberfriends, one a Thai girl who wants to study in Australia (got me through Dave’s ESL Cafe). The other, Johnny Wu (Wushuboy) is a 32-years-old Wushu master in Cleveland Ohio. He is a fascinating study in multiculturalism ( a word I recently contributed to the Cambridge English Dictionary Online!). He is a fount of family tradition, balancing that against being gay and thereby (in his eyes) terminating 3000 years of Wu family history–and he knows the whole 3000 years! He responded to my email thanking him for his website, and we’ve been “nattering on the Net” as Dale Spender says ever since.
Also, an email from M: he’s been attending classes with the Dalai Lama! Today he goes to Calcutta, then to Rajastan.
My nephew visited on Saturday. He had very impressive documentation to back up his story … and it turns out his mother was a lineal descendant of Bungaree who sailed with Flinders in 1803!
4 January 2004: … I, in the meantime, went to Yum Cha at the Marigold with the Empress, Sirdan, Malcolm, James, a new person named Andy (not the sailor) and eventually Antony. Excellent duck….
The crowd around Central on their way to the Cricket reminded me of the 2000 Olympics. Now I’m off to keep an eye on the game by TV and radio. (I prefer to listen to the ABC radio commentary with the TV on Channel 9 at least some of the time.)
So way back! And I have another set called Blogging Sydney’s Olympic Year.
Sunday, September 3 2000: 12 days to the Olympics
They say Moore Park will be finished before the Olympics, but they are finding it difficult as there are not enough graders available to do the job. Meantime Belmore Park, near Central Station, is now carpeted–not with bright flowers, or fresh green grass, but with daggy green carpet! Very tasteful. There was a bomb scare at Kirrawee Railway Station south of the city last week; apparently emergency personnel were misdirected to Canterbury Station (some distance away and on quite another line) due to a “pronunciation problem”! However, Central Station refurbishment has been completed–well almost.
Extra police on the streets and quite a few foreign visitors are already apparent in the city. The athletes, of course, have started moving into the Olympic Village.
Today was Yum Cha again–for the unitiated this is Cantonese for “drink tea” and is essentially an endless supply of delicacies (steamed buns, dumplings, chicken feet, etc) washed down by tea. One can if one chooses have a 24 course breakfast–or more. There were ten people today–PK, Ian Smith, J***s, Sirdan, ABC Andrew, Clive, a guy from Houston Texas, a lesbian Olympic volunteer official from NZ (a friend of Sirdan), Bruce from the Albury, and me. Rabbit sent his hugs to all but was otherwise engaged today. Sad news is that John Wilkinson, who was there last time, an old friend of M, is critically ill in hospital: M has just gone to visit him.
Good news (9.30 pm): John Wilkinson is much better than he was yesterday.
Sunday, September 17 2000
Another glorious Olympic day in Sydney. The shirtless cuties are about again.
Having announced today’s Yum Cha (Chinese brunch) would be held at the Golden Harbour at 10 am, I turned up expecting crowds, and indeed quite a lot of foreigners were about. Presumably the restaurant owners read these pages (who doesn’t?) so we were delayed twenty minutes while the staff cleaned up, went out for extra provisions, and put tables in the street to cope with the overflow. At last we were ushered to our select table, and the Dowager Empress enthroned herself beside Clive, with PK on Clive’s right, Sirdan and James on my left. People were too shy to identify themselves, but as the restaurant filled with people I could but be impressed by the drawing power of these humble pages. As was fitting all these people pretended they did not know us, respectful of our privacy. A very pleasant meal. It is unfortunate, however, that some rituals associated with the NSW Department of Education prevented some honoured guests from attending; their apologies were duly given and accepted.
Sunday October 1 2000
Well, what a Yum Cha! [At Silver Spring.] Frankly, I was not feeling well this morning, but Yum Cha soon changed that. A record attendance on this last day of the Olympic Games. Seventeen people–so I won’t list them all, but one Indonesian Olympic visitor, the regulars (PK, James, Ian Smith, Sirdan, Bruce, Clive) plus Simon H (a friend and ex-student of mine, whose friendship now goes back over 20 years), Tim K (a person I met about 14 years ago) whose personal odyssey is fascinating, and most pleasing of all Mr R and Delenio. A lovely way to spend Sunday morning.
The day went on and I went with the flow. After Simon, The Rabbit and Delenio had gone, I followed Ian to the Beauchamp and then the Albury–the Marathon went past us hardly noticed!–and it was a slightly drunken afternoon but one essentially of good fellowship. The drink was really incidental to the kind of friendship that Denis Altman talks of in his novel. Surprise: Ian knew Denis Altman way back when I was in the closet known as Wollongong! (Or it was to me a closet!)
And the Olympics Closing Ceremony is in progress as I write….
And a sample of other yum cha days:
Marigold Citymark, Sydney, Sydney Restaurant Review – Eatability
29 JAN 2006
We were disappointed, but not as much as this patron:
Food 2 Ambience 2 Service 2 Value 3
I went to the Marigold with some work colleagues for yum char. They had lost our reservation so they put us on a table next to the toilet. They place smelt awful, I think they must have just painted it or have a large smelly dog. The food itself I think was probably that frozen stuff that you get from the freezer and put straight into the fryer or steamer – yuck! The waiters were rude too. Never ever going there again!!
M, Sirdan and myself made it this morning; Lord Malcolm had trouble finding a parking place close enough so could not come. He didn’t miss much, except for the chance of meeting M properly.
Admittedly the place was overcrowded because of Chinese New Year, but the service even so was awful (2), the food very ordinary if not old, and the ambience, well, factory-like. Of course we had our vouchers so the price was right, but M made sure in both Mandarin and English that the staff knew what he felt and ostentatiously offered a five cent tip.
We won’t be going back. We will try the Regal next time we want to use our vouchers; last time we were there it was pretty good.
M tells us the Silver Spring (now Zilver) is much better again, having new owners apparently. So we might give that a go later on. “Zilver has reopened after a $3 million makeover from its former identity as the well-established Silver Spring restaurant. The cuisine is now modern Chinese with Jack Ng, the award-winning Hong-Kong born executive chef, at the reins.”
We liked the Regal, and Nine Dragons, and Golden Harbour, and the East Ocean… So many on so many Sundays for ten years!
I followed this 2018 walk through Sydney’s Chinatown, saying however on Facebook: “Paths I once frequently took. Now it all looks rather daunting, but 10, 20 years ago — no worries!” So true! The 2021 version of me lacks energy and endurance compared with the 2000 one, or even the 2010! No hiding from the march of time eh!
But The Gong in 2021 has many a good Chinese restaurant, and today’s proposed lunch with Chris T is at Taste of Xi’an.