Happy Lunar New Year to All! I'd like to share with you the food I had with my family on the End of Year Dinner.
In Chinese culture, we have an End of Year dinner (reunion dinner) because it's a reunion and a gathering with family members. The dinner is very large and traditionally includes dishes of meat (mostly pork and chicken). It is typical for a Chinese family to make eight to nine dishes for the reunion dinner.
I think it's amazing how every year and for every Chinese "ritual" like holiday, my mom can whip up 8 fantastic dishes in one wok and with one spatula! Below are some of the foods we had at my family dinner.
My mom usually cooks the whole chicken, by just steaming it in a pot or a wok with water. I'm not sure how long it takes to cook, but I'm sure it doesn't take over an hour to make it. A whole chicken including head and feet symbolizes a proper beginning and end to the year.
This is another meat dish we have during the End of Year dinner: crispy pork with arrow roots. The pork is best eaten when you first buy it because the pork skin is still nicely crisp and crunchy. If you wait a while, the skin is less appealing and soggy.
Here's a dish that everyone tries and simply cannot resist it. My mom's impeccable and savory stir-fry shrimp. It sucks that I'm slightly allergic to shrimp, but once in a while I can't resist so I secretly eat shrimp. The shrimps she bought this past weekend were surely ginormous. The sauces and seasonings my mom used for the shrimp sure packed a lot of flavor.
|Stir-fried vegetables and calamari|
This is one of my favorite dishes because it's a unifying dish because there's so many vegetables, fungus, and of course calamari. I must confess that every time we're done praying and burn incenses, I secretly pick a piece of calamari off the dish and stuff it in my mouth because I can't resist it and I absolutely love calamari.
This is one of the best dishes my mom makes. My boyfriend absolutely loves this dish. I don't know anyone else besides my mom that makes this dish actually good. It's vermicelli with dried shrimp and scallions. It's savory and always perfectly cooked. In Chinese culture, having glass noodles or almost any kind of noodle on any holiday or birthday means longevity.
|Braised Pig Feet with Bean Curd Stick|
This is absolutely one of my favorite, favorite, favorite dish. My mom doesn't make it on regular days. I'm not a huge fan of pork, but pig feet is an exception especially if mom is cooking it because it's slightly sweet, savory, and absolutely delectable! There's not much meat on pig feet, but if you happen to find and try the pieces with actual meat, it's tender and flavorful!
This year, my mom didn't fry the bean curd stick. The dish was still good and I ate the store-bought/fried bean curd, but it just wasn't as greatly executed as if my mom were to add in her own deep-fried bean curd stick.
There is one dish that I am missing. It's the solids from the soup we usually have which is a blend of oyster, mushroom, lotus root, pork meat, and bean curd stick.
Yup. Mom cooked another beautiful and hearty dish for us and my boyfriend. I wonder what's her secret, because whatever it is I hope to learn it from her some day.