Hopia Luck It! : )

Some branch in my family tree could have an Ama, (Chinese for grandpa) without a doubt.  Proof? My youngest brother’s eyes.  I took after my grandmas, who were mestiza (Filipino European mix), so people usually don’t see how we could be siblings.

The difference is much more pronounced when we were younger (and leaner).  We three – two boys and a girl – sort of split the gene pool.  One brother looked like my mom (think Sam from Glee, minus the mouth).  The other took after my dad, chinky eyed with a nose often described as “perfect” before a basketball accident lent it a slight bump where it didn’t set right.  My grandmas are both fair skinned but their features, you could say, are poles apart – I got a hodgepodge.  I think I look ordinary, but sometimes hear otherwise.  Oh, well.

So last post I mentioned “luck”.  And here I mention being a 16th of an inch Chinese (no official claim, since no one bothered to dig up the root of the family tree).  Which brings me to how this Chinese New Year my brother and my mom celebrated in Binondo.  Minus the rest of the family.  They hopped on the motorbike and took off without us. Represent, I suppose.  They followed the Dragon Dance procession, ate (mami) noodles at Eng Bee Tin and brought home hopia (means good pastry), tikoy roll, ampao, siopao, and mochipia.
I didn’t like  mongo hopia (mung bean paste filling) when I was younger, preferring the hopia baboy kind - sweet pork, mung and onion (which I never knew was in it) mush enveloped in a bread-y or flaky crust.  The mung bean hopia of my childhood is a wagon wheel with browned spokes (or dice shaped), filled with dark mung beans and came out of a cardboard box in the sari-sari store (variety or neighborhood corner store, though now there's one every third house.  They don't sell hopia).  It could be hard and thin or soft and crumbly, depending on the state of “freshness” when you bought it.
The hopia baboy, on the other hand, is a bulgy light colored half moon dough with an almost yellow orange tinge on the hump mantling a moist filling, smells delicious, and comes in a slightly greasy wax paper wrap.  The flakes around the dough fall out as you open the pack. More exciting eating (and satisfying) to me, who appreciates heft and rich flavor.  Now Eng Bee Tin’s hopia has gone upscale and fancy flavored.  The mung bean is upgraded to ube or yam filling, with flavor combinations you get from breaking down most of the components of the Pinoy halo-halo – sweet beans, langka, (jackfruit),  macapuno, sweet chickpeas – you get the picture.

The fancier mochipia is basically a hopia with a filling within a filling.  There’s mochi tucked into the ube filling.  Now mochi is cooked glutinous rice, like kakanin, that’s pounded into a gluey mush.  There’s a contrast in texture with mochipia – soft dough, soft but subtly grainy yam and then the sweet sticky mushy mochi.  Let’s see you say that last part fast, 10 times!  
Tikoy is like mochi, with the regular tikoy shaped as a round cake is a Chinese New Year must-have. Best received or exchanged. Like our kakanin, sticky and sweet symbolizes harmony in the family.  To the Chinese, it also means luck or wealth would “stick” on everyone. You  fry wedges of it after dipping in beaten eggs, that’s it! It could come in roll form, flavored with pandan, ube, chocolate, eto, generously coated in flour so you could get your hands on it.  
Everyone knows about siopao I suppose, those meat filled dumplings.  We had some too, always my favorite.  The ampao is not its cousin.  Far from it! This ampao is a hollow sesame seed encrusted “stick”.  See?  You get the crunch of the seeds (or peanuts)  and then  a slight stickiness in the thin dough with a crusty bread like texture. Too sweet for me though.  I like the Cebu ampao better, which is a solid square of puffed rice.
Angpao is not food, its the red envelope with you keep money in, for luck.  Sounds like, that's all : )

Mom even bought these overdeveloped oranges.  More fruit for me, yipee!!! Why the red ribbon around one? Well, I tied one on for luck (also on the money tree).  I heard it somewhere, what it symbolizes or fortune it invokes I have no idea.  I just did it.

We accumulated a bunch of lucky plants (money tree etc; even basil, which they say you have to tie a blue ribbon on) and bracelets and charms through the years, it might just work.

I don't rightly know if the black stones on here are black tourmaline or chrysanthemum stones.  The latter has telltale white firework bursts on the stone and some on the bracelet has it but some had the random and stripy patterns of tourmaline. 
Tourmaline is for luck and healing while Chrysanthemum stones bring love and power. 
The bracelet is my brother's and it was blessed at a ritual.  I didn't see how they did it but my blue rhino was placed in a huge, pristine bowl that hums when a sort of wand rubs the rim in a circular motion, like you would making water glass "music".
Pineapples, gold ones, are wealth "energizers".  I say bring it on! ; )

Did it? I give you a noncommittal hmmm. The geomancers say it depends on where you place the things or your personal reading (has to be, because there are too many aspects to deal with and find a “cure” for).  Depends on industry.  Faith.  You. Your birthday and birth time. All that.
Hope we all get luckier this year.

The blue rhinoceros is supposed to deflect robbery, accidents, even backstabbing S.O.B.s

Tell me if it works for you : )

P.s. Funny looking dragon, innit?


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