Sunday, March 7, 2010

Lunar New Year's

Ok so Lunar New Year's has actually come and gone, but I still wanted to share with you my little celebration. The actual date of Lunar New Year's this year was February 14th, but celebrations go on for a few weeks afterward as people spend the first few weeks of the year visiting family and friends. Honestly I did not have a huge set of celebrations, but I did set up a ancestor shrine to commemorate my forefathers.

Ancestor Shrine for Lunar New Year's 2010

I also had a little dinner party of people the day after Lunar New Year's with a few friends where we ate and talked. I made my friends wontons like my family used to do during the holidays, but sadly forgot to take pictures of me making them. I promise next time I'll document the process so that I can share with you. I never remember to whip out my camera when I need it and it's something I need to work on. Here they are though and seriously I can't tell you how good they were. I adore wonton soup and can eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Luckily they freeze spectacularly well so that's exactly what I did for a few days.

Homemade Wonton Soup

Then last week celebrating the end of Lunar New Year's I went with a friend of mine to a little Shanghainese restaurant here in the city called Shanghai House. I've been here several times and it's probably one of my favorite restaurants in the city for the simple reason that it's food like my family made when I was growing up. This time we had the tea-smoked duck that tasted like ham, but with duck skin. Can we say delicious? We also had dry-fried green beans which were so perfectly cooked crisp-tender and had such a nice rich dark sauce. Of course we had Shanghai Dumplings or Soup Dumplings which are little dumplings that are filled with soup when you bite into them. You eat them with vinegar which balances the richness of the filling with the tang of sourness. They are dumpling perfection when done well and Shanghai House does them really well. Then the last dish and my favorite was the dessert which were black sesame balls in a fermented rice wine pudding. For me it's really a homey taste as I used to have it for breakfast in the morning. There's nothing like eating this hot sweet soup in the morning and biting into this chewy dumpling filled with sweet sesame filling. Meals like this make me wonder to myself why do I not cook Chinese at home more often?

Tea-Smoked Duck

Dry Fried Green Beans

Shanghai Soup Dumplings

Sweet Black Sesame Dumplings with Rice Wine Soup

Also for Lunar New Year's it's tradition that little red envelopes full of money are handed out to all the singles for their prosperity in the upcoming year and one of my friends handed me the cutest red envelope I have ever seen. She also folded a little dollar bill into the shape of a heart. Seriously one of the sweetest gifts I have gotten in ages. So that's what I leave you with a little love from one of my friends to start off the New Year.

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