The lunisolar calendar has determined that today is the start of the new year, so let’s welcome the Year of the Rabbit and bid adieu to the Year of the Tiger. Firecrackers, large amounts of food, decorations and red envelopes are among many of the festivities of this celebration. And if you are in the right area, you will see parades with drums and multiple people under a huge dragon suit dancing to the beat surrounded by firecrackers. I actually remember having so much fun seeing the dragon dances that when we were younger, my cousins and I would throw a large blanket over ourselves and march up and down the hallways in our houses chanting a drum beat and pretending to be one of the dragons in the parade. Dragon suits, lanterns and almost all decorations are red and abundant at any Chinese New Year event. The color red is considered good luck, and the red envelopes mentioned earlier are traditional gifts that usually contain money and are given to children by their elders.
And as with most Chinese traditions, there is always food! This year, I am unable to celebrate with my family because the New Year falls during the middle of the week, but I thought I would share with you a traditional Chinese dish. Now, I’m not positive if it’s a staple to a traditional Chinese New Year’s meal, but nonetheless, it’s very tasty. Remember my post about bizarre foods? Well, it’s time to be a little fearless and open-minded to the dish I am about to describe: Fish maw and crab soup. Fish maw is the internal air bladder of a fish that allows it to stay buoyant in the water. It is considered a delicacy and actually incredibly delicious. It is usually dried before it’s sold and then you have to re-soak it before cooking with it (kind of like dried mushrooms). The texture is very light and it draws in the flavors of the ingredients you cook it with. Fresh crab meat is also added to the soup, and then it is topped with thinly sliced ginger, green onion and cilantro. Right before you eat it, adding a little bit of red wine vinegar gives it the perfect flavor.
This soup has been at many of my family gatherings and every time I eat it, it brings me back to all the events and great times that I’ve shared with them.
What specific foods remind you of certain things/events?
Again, Happy Chinese New Year, Everyone! May this year bring you joy and happiness!!