A couple of years ago, our awesome friends, Mike & Pei, wanted to ensure our good luck and prosperity at Chinese New Year. And so, they invited us over to celebrate the New Year by preparing a proper Chinese meal for us. Known as Shuan Yang Rou or Chinese hot pot (in Japanese it’s known as ‘shabu-shabu’), this special dish is often consumed on the first day of the lunar calendar.
“Hot pot” consists of briefly cooking raw food in a seasoned, boiling broth. The broth is simply seasoned in order to highlight the natural flavor of the food.
With the help of adults, the kids slowly placed the sliced meats (beef, pork and chicken) and several types of fishcakes and fishballs into the steaming broth. Adding their favorite vegetables, which included chinese cabbage, and mushrooms. Udon noodles were added in last.
Of course, LouLou picked only the “pink” items first (the pink fish ball, and fishcake)! Jaf on the other hand, didn’t want anything that resembled a vegetable because according to him, “I had too much vegetables last week already.”
After our hot pot bonanza, Aunty Pei decided to teach the kids how to make dumplings.
Minced pork, onions and cabbage are mixed together and nicely placed into the middle of a wonton, wrapper, folded, and pinched to perfection.
It was fun to watch and participate in…
We then placed the dumplings into the hot pot and enjoyed eating leftovers. 🙂
However, the most popular food to eat for Chinese New Year is the traditional Chinese steamed pudding called gau. This sweet, sticky rice pudding is made out of brown sugar and glutinous rice flour and is often wrapped in ti leaves and steamed for hours.
It’s sticky, like family bonds are supposed to be, and topped with sesame seeds, a symbol of fertility, and a Chinese red date for good luck.
This meal was very special for so many reasons. It was the celebration of a New Year, the closing of an old, and a bonding experience within our close knit family to remember all we’ve been through, are going through and will endure in the future.
It also illustrated the Chinese love of food, and just how important food is to the Chinese way of life.
We loved the meal, and everything we learned, that we decided to continue the tradition this year with the kid-foodies.
*Dedicated to our great friends Mike, Pei and Jacklyn who now call Texas their home! We think about you often, especially when we eat hot pot!!