A chef will be bringing a taste of the Chinese New Year to Wrexham.
The Chinese New Year – or the Year of the Goat – begins on Thursday, February 19 and it will be a big day for Rong Wang, 41, head chef of the Real China restaurant at the Eagles Meadow shopping centre.
Rong says he and his family, his wife, Ying, and their two children, William, four, and Jessica, one, are happily settled in the town having bought their own home.
Although the family now celebrate Christmas and other British celebrations, the Chinese New Year is still very important to him.
He said: “My wife came to Britain a long time ago to study as a student and has a British passport. My children who were born in the UK also have British passports. But I do have Chinese blood running through my veins.
“I grew up in Shanghai and went to cookery school when I was 18. Since coming to the UK I have worked at many Real China restaurants in Liverpool, Bradford and other places but we, as a family, are settled in Wrexham now.
“We have bought our own home, a semi-detached house in Wrexham and really enjoy living in North Wales. We get on really well with our neighbours and share Christmas cards and presents. Everyone has made us very welcome and my son, William, speaks English very well, better than Chinese.
He added: “But I do miss China when it comes to celebrations like the Chinese New Year. It’s a very big festival and very important to Chinese people. In China we would visit friends and family and wish them good health and fortune for the year ahead.
“I will be telephoning my family back home in China on the day. We try to visit once a year but it’s a long, long way to travel and quite expensive.
“As a family we like living here in Wrexham. I take my son William for tennis lessons every day. He practices for half-an-hour a day at Wrexham Tennis Centre. We are used to life here and have a happy time.”
According to Rong, he will be cooking up some special Chinese New Year treats for diners.
He said: “It’s the Year of the Goat or Sheep as the Chinese word for both is the same really. People who are born in the Year of the Goat are peaceful, kind and popular.
“Food is an important part of the Chinese New Year celebrations and families will cook and share meals with friends and family.
“I will be demonstrating how to cook a traditional Chinese New Year dish outside the Eagles Meadow restaurant so people can have a try although it is quite a hot dish with plenty of chillies in it!
“We are also planning to have some Asian demonstrations too with plenty of bright costumes and dancing on show. It’s going to be a spectacular celebration and will definitely remind me of home.”
Jason Sheehan, who has been the manager of Eagles Meadow’s Real China Restaurant for three months, says plans are in hand to make the Year of the Goat get off to a spectacular start.
He said: “I’ve been learning a lot from Rong and can see how important the festival is to the Chinese community. We are planning a few Asian demonstrations and have a few surprises planned which we are keeping under wraps until the actual day.
“But I can say that Rong will be giving some cooking demonstrations on the plaza outside the restaurant so shoppers can get a taste of the real China.”
Eagles Meadow manager Kevin Critchley added: “Real China Restaurant’s colourful and exciting Chinese New Year celebrations will certainly add something different to any routine shopping trip.
“I’m sure our customers and shoppers will enjoy trying some of Rong’s al fresco cooking while watching the traditional Asian demonstrations.”