The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Year of the Tiger!

Any holiday is a good time to think about food! A friend sent me a link to an article from which I am posting an excerpt below. Enjoy.

Savoring sweet somethings to ring in new year

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Year of the Tiger roars in on Sunday - a relatively late start to Lunar Year 4078. Festivities continue for two weeks, with Bay Area restaurants featuring special eight- and 10-course menus filled with culinary symbolism and - unlike most Chinese meals - plenty of sweets.
That's because candied fruits and vegetables, along with special cookies and candies, represent hopes for a year of sweet life and good fortune - two qualities restaurateurs wish for their patrons with a variety of offerings.

At Chef Chu's in Los Altos, chef-owner Lawrence Chu doesn't take any chances. He welcomes diners with candied winter melon and other fat choy candies on each banquet table instead of serving hors d'oeuvres.
Peanut- and coconut-filled glutinous rice balls, representing longevity, fill the sweet soup dessert at Sichuan Fortune House in Pleasant Hill, where chef-owner Shaobin Zhang also offers a crisp sesame pancake filled with sweet bean paste.

"The rice ball's name sounds similar to having a whole year where everything comes to fruition," explains Terry Chan, co-owner of South Sea Seafood Village in San Francisco, where the unfilled rice balls are served in a traditional red bean and tapioca soup.

South Sea's kitchen also turns out a firm, crunchy doughnut. "We call them Happy Face Doughnuts to symbolize a year full of joy," Chan says.

Sweets aren't the only edible symbols for the new year. Any food with a name that sounds similar or is a play on the Chinese words for things like luck, abundance and good fortune are prominent on Year of the Tiger menus.

Both Chu and Zhang serve a whole fried fish with a reddish sweet-and-sour sauce. "The Chinese phonetic sound for fish sounds similar to abundance and blessing, and the sauce is red for joy and luck," Chu says.

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