Chinese food not on the New Year menu

Some of the guests who attended the Chinese New Year celebrations at Craigavon Civic Centre. INLM06-211.
Some of the guests who attended the Chinese New Year celebrations at Craigavon Civic Centre. INLM06-211.

The Chinese community in Upper Bann had to celebrate the Chinese New Year at Craigavon Civic Centre without Chinese food.

Instead the 220-strong guest list at the Civic Centre were served traditional roast beef and roast chicken dinners.

Take-aways were banned and only a set menu was on offer for the traditional Chinese New Year celebrations recently which celebrates the Year of the Horse.

Paul Yam of the Wah Hep Chinese Community Association in Craigavon said Chinese food has been off the menu at their traditional celebrations for a few years.

Mr Yam said he hoped that next year the local Chinese community will be able to tuck into a feast of steamed fish and king prawn cooked in a traditional Chinese style.

However, he said he understood that it was difficult to find a chef who was able to cook traditional Chinese food.

And Mr Yam said he understood that it was difficult for Craigavon Civic Centre to provide a traditional Chinese feast.

He said the council-owned Civic Centre had done exceptionally well with help to decorate the building for Chinese New Year last year and the roast beef and chicken dinner was “something different” for the guests and a dinner they had “thoroughly enjoyed”.

“It is not impossible to organise a Chinese feast for the new year but I understand the difficulties,” he said.

“Everyone enjoyed the dinner provided. It was something different,” he said.

The Mayes Hall was lavishly decorated with Chinese symbols and decor. Each table was festooned with oranges which symbolise prosperity.

There were traditional Chinese dancers, magicians and ribbon dancers plus a number of local Chinese children had taken Irish dancing lessons and performed at the function. There were Bollywood dancers and Scottish Highland dancers performing. And even a special performance of Gangnam Style which went down a treat.

A Craigavon Council spokesperson said, “The Chinese New Year event has taken place in Craigavon Civic & Conference Centre for a number of years. When booking any event in the Civic and Conference Centre it is stipulated in the term and conditions of hire (point 17) that - The main kitchen is not available for private hire and customers are not permitted to supply their own food or beverages at any function.

“The facility provides its own comprehensive catering service. On this occasion the organisation booking the venue did not request Chinese food.”