Something Different for Chinese New Year in SGV: Should I Even Try?
All of a sudden i find myself wanting to do something different....special this Chinese New Year. I would like to do something else than my usual steamed vegetable dumplings at Noodle 101 Express, Mei Long Village, Mandarin Noodle, and Dumpling 10053. Can anyone help me out? Or should i settle for the "usual" yet again?
I'm very fond of chinese pastries, savory or sweet-particularly sweet bean and veggie ones, if that helps.
Chinese hot pot is very popular around Lunar New Year. If your not familiar with it, it's probably best-described as a Chinese version of fondue. Basically, you start out with a traditional hot pot - looks kind of like a bundt cake pan but not fluted and with lower broader shape. Place this over a portable gas-powered hot plate, fill it with broth or stock - usually chicken - bring it up to heat, then you start dipping all sorts of cut meats, seafood, vegetables, and fishballs into it - just long enough to cook them and then eat. It's nice to have around the usual condiments as well, like la yu, chili sauce, sambal, hoisin sauce, red or rice vinegar, maybe even make some scallion oil. Repeat this process until the food is gone, then you're left with an incredible stock that you can finish off your meal with, or if you still have room, add some rice noodles and/or dumplings (there's really no hard/fast rules that I know of) and chow down. Of course, it's also good with rice. It's a very social thing, as this is usually done on a round table, which is very conducive to socializing while dining, especially with the hot pot being the focus of attention. And it's fun fighting over a lost shrimp, or scolding your neighbor for hogging the last of the sliced chicken. This can be done at home, of course, and the initial investment is the cost of one of these hot pots or a reasonable facsimile of it, and a portable gas-powered hot plate. Both are relatively inexpensive at the Chinese markets. And remember - there really aren't any rules - use your imagination!