Steamed fish: whole fish in a soy sauce broth, garnished with ginger and scallions
Happy Chinese New Year! One of the best dishes served during this festive time is steamed whole fish. It’s a symbol of prosperity because the characters for “fish” and “surplus” sound very similar. The fish must be served whole, which signifies a lucky year, from start to end. I love this simple dish because it’s quick and tasty while using minimal ingredients.
Growing up, I heard that you should never flip over a fish to get to the meat on its underside. This superstition stems from fishermen, who believed that turning over the fish would lead to their boat capsizing. As a result, I’ve seen some very deft chopsticks debone a fish in almost artistic maneuvers.
My favorite part of the fish (at least as a child)? The eyeballs. Yep, those round spheres are delicacies. We used to squabble over them as kids to see who would get the first pick. I remember associating them with pearls, both in their shape and value.
What interesting food traditions or eating preferences do you have?