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Hot Sauce and the Cats

Oct 26, 2017  ·  3 min read

Everyone is familiar with these glossy, shiny mesmerizing felines at Hot Sauce Wellington; they’re downright inescapable. Despite the creative concoctions and moreish small plates, these bad boys are by far, the most ‘grammed feature of our new Asian eating house and bar.
Since they’re so wonderfully adorable and present in our new space, we’d thought we’d find out how these felines came to frequent themselves in traditional and non-traditional Asian restaurant and businesses.

What’s in a name?

These shiny talismans are commonly referred to as Waving Cats, Fortune Cats and Welcome Cats. All of the above are a good indication of why we see these guys are seen chilling by shop fronts, registers and in our case, every surface which isn’t dedicated to food or drinks.
In Japanese, these cats are called Maneki Neko which translates to “beckoning cat.” The act of waving is a sign of bringing good fortune to its owners – but only if it’s the right paw. The left paw, this is supposed to attract people and the right invites good fortune and money – seems like our cats are about the cool kids and mean vibes.

Rumour has it…

No one can quite put their finger on how this majestic cat came to be, however, the most common origin story begins during the Edo period in Japan (17th century to mid-19th century).

So here goes: a rainstorm suddenly came across a wealthy man who took shelter under a tree next to a temple. He came across a cat who sought his attention and he followed it inside the temple and moments after lightning struck the tree he had been standing under. The cat saved his life. So grateful for his good fortune, the man became a benefactor of the temple and under his watch, the temple grew to be extremely prosperous. When he passed away, a statue of the cat was created in his honour. Over time his blessed tale was told, and the Maneki Neko became a symbol for prosperity and luck.

Looks matter

The typical Maneki Neko is white with orange and black spots however the colour variations hold significance and communicate unique blessings.
White: Happiness, purity, and positive things to come
Gold: Wealth and prosperity
Black: Wards off evil spirits
Red: Success in love and relationships
Green: Good health

This lucky charm is popular in Japanese and Chinese cultures and given the reception of Hot Sauce, we consider them pretty damn lucky.

words by chris lee

image by lovewelly


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