While many of us were cramming our gullets on January 1 with Hoppin' John and collard greens for wealth in the New Year, many folks of Chinese descent like Chris Yeo, the chef/owner from XINO|SINO and The Straits, will be waiting to get lucky until February 10, or the first day of the Chinese New Year celebration.
Editor's note: London-based cook, food writer and consultant Fuchsia Dunlop sits down with CNN to discuss her love affair with Sichuanese cuisine. Her responses have been edited for concision and flow.
CNN: What sparked your interest in Sichuanese cuisine?
I got very interested in China through a job subediting news reports about the east Asian region, particularly China. So I started Mandarin evening classes and went on holiday to China and was fascinated.
I'd been in Sichuan in 1993 when coming back from a holiday to Tibet and had an amazing lunch with some dishes I never forgot. I had looked up a Sichuanese musician whom I'd met in my hometown of Oxford, and he and his wife took me out. It was at a very modest little restaurant, but we had a delicious meal and ended up on the riverbank drinking jasmine tea at a teahouse. At that moment, I thought, I want to come back and live here.
Hieu Huynh is a writer producer at CNN On-Air Promotions. She is based in Atlanta, Georgia.
As the steam carts roll by, I caution my dining companions, "Never pick from the first one that comes along."
Eating dim sum is like a game of strategy and patience. The goal is to fill up on the good stuff, which usually means waiting as the cold and lifeless items pass by.
"Never pick the first?" my best friend asks. "Isn’t that almost like dating? If you're too quick, and just pick the first thing you see, you might miss out on something even better."
Gung hay fat choy! In case you're looking for last minute advice on how to welcome the Year of the Dragon, we've rounded up our Chinese New Year-related coverage for all your celebrating needs.
But first, a quick explainer from Chef Chris Yeo on the ancient food traditions associated with the Lunar New Year.
"Chinese New Year is a special time of year for many. 'Chi fan le mei you?' or 'Have you eaten yet?' is the most common greeting heard during the celebration of the Spring Festival, also known as the Chinese New Year throughout the West. Many of the traditions of Chinese New Year center around food either being cooked or eaten. To people who trace their roots back to China, the most important date in the lunar calendar is Chinese New Year – it’s a traditional time for feasting with family and friends that dates back thousands of years.
Although it's the people from Guangdong province who have the reputation for eating just about anything, Shanghai foodies are no slouches.
You can find plenty of weird eats around the city that you might actually enjoy if you know where to look.
For this list we stayed away from the shock value - no sheep penis here - and sought out what locals are actually eating.
5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.
Instead of your typical weekend plate of scrambled eggs, head out for some dim sum - a Cantonese tradition of communal small plates.
Feeling hesitant? Chinese culinary authority Ed Schoenfeld from the newly opened dim sum-inspired restaurant, Red Farm, is here to cart you toward success.
Five Ways to Up Your Dim Sum IQ: Ed Schoenfeld
A Chinese delicacy may soon disappear from California restaurants if a bill to ban the sale of shark fins makes it through the state Senate.
A symbol of wealth and luxury, shark fin soup was once prized by Chinese emperors for its rarity. Today, it's typically served at weddings and banquets to demonstrate a host's good fortune.
But it comes at a high price, for one's wallet and the environment. Shark fins, which fetch up to $600 per pound, are sometimes acquired through the controversial practice of finning: a shark's fins are cut off and the rest of its body is tossed into the ocean.
California, home to 1.1 million Chinese-Americans, is one of the largest importers of shark fins outside Asia. The California Shark Protection Act would make it illegal to possess, sell or trade shark fins.
The state Senate is expected to take up the legislation next week.
Food says so much about where you’ve come from, where you’ve decided to go, and the lessons you’ve learned. It’s geography, politics, tradition, belief and so much more. World-renowned chef, author and Emmy winning television personality Anthony Bourdain visits Los Angeles' Koreatown in the next episode of "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown," airing Sunday, April 21, at 9 p.m. ET. Follow the show on Twitter and Facebook. This story ran in 2011, and we're sharing it again as Bourdain explores the role of food in Asian-American identity.
Sundays are for Dim Sum. While the rest of America goes to church, Sunday School, or NFL games, you can find Chinese people eating Cantonese food. As a kid, there were a lot of Chinese traditions I couldn’t get into, but Dim Sum and Johnnie Walker were okay in my book. We’d wake up, put on our hand-me-down Polo shirts, and as Dad did his best Bee Gees on the Karaoke machine, we got ready for Dim Sum.
Yes, we're later than usual on the poll today. For one, I actually (gasp!) left my desk for lunch today in order to record a podcast for our new series (more on that soon). Actually, though, I'm attributing it more to having signed up for the 10:30 seating of chefs Eddie Huang and Tyler Kord's Chinese New Year dinner at No. 7 restaurant in Brooklyn last night.
Diners lucky enough to score a reservation (rumor had it that Jimmy Fallon's party couldn't nab an 8 p.m. table and had to abandon mission) clustered around a communal table, daintily spooning and spearing family-style cold sesame noodles, sausage dumplings and pickles onto their square white plates.
Chopsticks picked up pace, clattering as bowls of bitter butter greens, a soy-drizzled whole Dorade and obscenely silken tofu topped with century-old egg hit the table. By the time the fat-swaddled pork shoulder and eight-treasure (1. lotus seeds, 2. edamame, 3. smoked ham, 4. mushrooms and...did I mention there was also wine?...) glutinous rice-stuffed duck arrived, decorum had flapped out the window.
No doubt you once thought that as soon as your skills were honed, you’d become the chopstick-wielding version of Edward Scissorhands, embarking on a masterful two-pronged exploration of China’s culinary culture.
Well, not quite.
Chinese dining etiquette is built on tradition, not dexterity.
We asked Lawrence Lo, founder of LHY Etiquette Consultancy Limited, to explain the enigmatic cultural origins of some common table manners, just in time for your Chinese New Year banquet.
Read the rest of "5 Chinese eating habits explained" on CNNGo.