The Chinese Lunar New Year, 4709, began this past Monday, January 23rd.. Designated The Year of the Dragon, the Chinese calendar dates back to 2600 BC. Like our current, modern calendar, it is based on the cycles of the moon. If you were born in 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988 or 2000, this is your year. The Chinese believe that the animal celebrated during the year of one’s birth is the animal that lives in one’s heart. You Year of the Dragon babies are thought to be fun loving, outgoing and popular individuals, with talents that range from politics to the priesthood.
The celebration of Chinese New Year is a week long festival, with San Francisco, California having what is claimed to be the largest celebratory parade outside of Asia. Food is an integral part of the week’s festivities and the Chinese have different traditional foods, each with it’s own positive symbolism to ensure the health and well being of family and friends. As an example, on New Year’s Eve, Jiao Zi, a delicious steamed dumpling that looks like ancient forms of money, is served to bring the promise of wealth and prosperity for the coming year. There are too many to detail in this writing, but the link above will take you to a detailed page on all of the traditional New Year foods and the symbolism behind them. For your own festivities, try an Asian take on a modern American favorite; our recipe for five spice chicken wings. You’ll find everything you need and much, much more at Grand Asia Market on the Cary/Raleigh border.
Grand Asia Market is located at 1253 Buck Jones Road. There is another location serving the Charlotte area, located at 4400 Potter Road in Stallings. Both are superb Asian specialty markets with seven distinct departments offering everything from the very best in fresh seafood, meats and produce, to shelves of Asian specialties and medicinal herbs. Their Joy Luck Club Cafe prepares lovely fresh foods to order, for enjoying there or to bring home. Grand Asia Market is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 to 8:00, and Sunday, from 10:00 to 6:00. If you haven’t yet discovered it, you’re going to be delighted that you did.
Now that you have experienced Grand Asia Market and found your special ingredients, try our version of Five Spice Chicken Wings and think Super Bowl party…..
Five Spice Chicken Wings
- one dozen whole chicken wings, cut into 2 pieces each
- 1 cup of water chestnut flour
- 4 cups of peanut oil
For the marinade
- 1/8 cup of soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon of five spice powder
- 1/8 cup of Chinese rice wine
- 1/2 teaspoon of fresh, grated ginger
Prepare the marinade by whisking all of the ingredients together. Marinate the chicken wings for a minimum of 1/2 hour. Before removing from the marinade, heat the peanut oil to 360 degrees. Remove the chicken wings, coat in the water chestnut flour and dep fry for approximately five minutes or until a nice golden brown. This recipe makes 24 pieces, so be ready to prepare more. They are sweet, tangy, spicy and delicious, particularly with a small glass of that Chinese rice wine!