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Year of the Rat
By Nicole Lee


The Bill


Five pax

Belly pork hotpot

Dan dan meen

Cold dish jelly fish

Beef tongue pork lung

Bitter gourd steamed rice

Pu er tea

Orange segments towelettes

Xie xie ni

Service not included



Translator’s Note


Five pax only five

Gan bei to the ones

who should be here

parents siblings all the

tiny ancestors wrong-ended

in the spyglass of the year


Belly pork

neat as dominoes

black as treacle

packed on a sludgebed 

of salted mustard

For prosperity


Dan dan noodles

coiled in hot sauce

pre-take off at

Chek Lap Kok

a lifetime ago

Long life to us all!


Yu sheng

Chopsticks in

For abundance

Beef tongue pork lung

Kong hei fat choi

For profit oi



Fu gua

A year of bitterness

Rice and tea

We are Chinese


For luck


Thank you come again

and we spill out into the pedestrian precinct

and the cold foreign air

and buy taiyaki custard fish

and eat them out of the paper bag

on the Northern Line platform

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