As many of my friends know, Chinese New Year is my very favorite holiday (my second favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, is the other great gustatory-centric day of the year). And every year I throw a party.
So this year — for my first lunar new year in Montreal — I celebrated with a huge dumpling bash that I planned with my friends.
We planned to make about 1,000 dumplings for about 50-60 people, figuring everyone would want about 20 dumplings each. But there were plenty of other snacks on hand, including steamed pork buns, pineapple candies, Haw flakes (the candy of my youth!!) and outstanding kung pao chicken by Anthony…
…as well as these succulent Chinese five-spice ribs by Bartek.
They were a mega success.
And because it is the Year of the Rabbit, Yung made an incredible “Chinese spaghetti” with some tender rabbit gifted by some friends.
But the real star of the evening (not including post-dumpling karaoke session) were the hundreds of dumplings that we churned out.
Xi Feng was our fearless dumpling leader, and expertly guided everyone through the process. It was amazing to watch.
I think I spent hours just dicing vegetables, meats and herbs. Thank god for my food processor. This was a bowl of vegetarian dumplings (mushroom, tofu, carrot, scallion, garlic, and cilantro)…
…but my favorite were definitely the meatier variations. We focused primarily on pork dumplings, an extremely auspicious food for the new year.
There were so many dumplings, every single inch of counter space was crawling with the tiny pouches of delight.
There were plenty of tutorials to show everyone how to make a perfect dumpling so each guest could get involved.
Everyone pitched in.
Most of them were boiled…
…but I also decided to fry some up, Jiaozi style. At that point I was so wasted, it’s a miracle I didn’t sustain severe peanut oil burns all over my arms. Why you ask?
Yung decided the most important ingredient for our party was a case of highly contraband Chinese sorghum whiskey, otherwise known as baijiu.
The baijiu, coupled with endless reserves of wine and beer, was a huge hit, mostly because they involved Yung standing on a chair and conducting round after round of toasts celebrating the new year. After completing my evening with a karaoke rendition of ‘Rainbow in the Dark,’ I deemed it the best Chinese New Year’s yet.