Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wedding Banquets & Their Symbolic Meanings

Earlier this year when I came back from a culinary tour of Hong Kong and Macau, I was thrilled to see an email from Judy, one of our recent brides:
“I did not get a chance to properly thank you for everything you did to make my wedding so beautifully wonderful and special...THANK YOU so very much. And it was such a relief to have your team there to take care of all the details for the evening, leaving us to simply enjoy the wedding and our guests. Thank you also for the very thoughtful addition of the macaroons at the end of the night” --Judy M. Chen
It was so great to read such a touching email after such a long flight! Judy first met me when she was helping her sister plan her own wedding with Saffron 59. When Judy got engaged, she immediately booked us to assist with her own wedding.

And since the peak of the wedding season is almost upon us, we get a lot of requests for wedding banquets. We have globally diverse couples with roots from South India to Frankfurt Germany, inspiring us to get creative and uniquely customize our menu items for them.

Our fusion of different cultures and cuisines such as our Surf & Turf for one wedding couple were:
Charred Argentinean Steak Chimichurri w/ Korean Red Paste and Pan Seared Black Cod w/ Miso Glaze & Sake Marinade; followed by Green Tea Macarons.

Some couples want their wedding banquets to be more traditional. Here are some Saffron 59 featured dinner dishes, all of which have symbolic meanings of happiness, longevity, and fertility:
  • Longevity Noodle - The noodle is symbolic to long life at weddings and celebrations.
  • Jewels of the Sea - The type of soup has some significance, indicates wealth because the ingredients are very luxurious.
  • Roast Suckling Pig - Roasted pork is a symbol of virginity.
  • Chicken and Lobster - Having chicken and lobster at the wedding indicates “dragon” and “phoenix” are living in harmony and the yin and yang elements are balanced in the family.

  • Fish - Serving fish represents the hope that the couple will experience a wealthy life together with abundance because the pronunciation of fish is the same as "abundance.”
  • Double Happiness Fried Rice - "Double happiness" wishes the newlyweds marital bliss and to have children soon. Xi is a symbol of fertility.
  • Roast Duck - Considered as red dish, the red color signifies happiness. The dish comes with the legs and head as a symbol of completeness.
After the sumptuous cocktail reception, one of our staff, Manamie, assists with the tea ceremony to honor the wedding couple’s parents and family.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Travel: Sri Lanka: Boutique Hotels by International Architect Geoffrey Bawa

It was not until I was in Sri Lanka this past December that I noticed this internationally well known architect, Geoffrey Bawa who has a string of “Boutique Hotels”. Bawa was regarded as having been one of the most important and influential Asian architects of the twentieth century. He was ahead of his time with his style of blending the natural environment and its surrounding in his work.

Bawa was born in 1919 and came late to architecture, only qualifying in 1957 at the age of thirty-eight, but he soon established himself as Sri Lanka’s most prolific and inventive architect for buildings in a tropical Asian context. Although best known for his private houses and hotels, his portfolio also included schools and universities, public buildings as well as the new Sri Lanka Parliament. His architectural career spanned forty years and was ended in 1998 by a stroke, which left him paralyzed. He died in 2003.

I was very fortunate to get a private tour of his home and office, which now a foundation. One of his most astonishing work is his own garden at Lunuganga which is 1.5 hours away from the capital, Colombo. Not a typical garden of colourful flowers, neat borders and gurgling fountains but with an abundance of lush wilderness and assemblage of tropical plants of different scale and texture. It requires days to explore its every corner and appreciate its changing moods.With each exploration you can find many different discoveries depending on the time of day.

In Sri Lanka his imprint is everywhere: in Montessori schools, farm orphanages, convents, universities, factories, hotels, parliament buildings and private homes.

Interior Photos of Bawa's Home in Colombo