Ahh yes, non-glutinous rice. Sounds quite appetizing, doesn’t it? Why yes, actually, it does. Chao Nian Gao is a special dish that is guaranteed to make your new year the best year. Nian gao in Chinese means “Higher Year” literally. It also means “Sticky cake”. The sounds for Higher year and sticky cake are the exact same in Chinese, homophones they call it. It’s a popular Chinese New Year dish, a sticky, gooey dish that has the best type of chewy texture known to (wo)man. Sauteed in some light soy sauce, a handful of scallions and some leeks, mixed in with lil’ pieces of minced pork, and your year is good to go. This dish, also called rice cake (although for this dish, it’s savory unlike any cake dessert), has a little story behind it, a story that goes something like this: Once upon a time, there was a Kitchen God in the sky. He often times bad-mouthed humans from up above. During Chinese New Year, all things should be celebrated, and nothing should be disrespected. It is a time to be fortuitous and happy. And so the other gods fed him this dish, Chao Nian Gao, a dish so sticky that it stuck his mouth closed so that he wouldn’t badmouth the humans for the rest of the year! THE END. Food with a story is the best type of food. You walk through the story while you taste the delicious flavors as if it was your own.
If you want a comparison of texture, this dish is kinda like the drunken noodles you’ll find at a Thai restaurant, but this time the noodles are a lot thicker. There really isn’t anything like this near campus or in State College…except Mama Chang’s poppin’ kitchen. FIELD TRIP ERRYBODAY. But actually…
It’s a perfect pallet, whatever you put in it is what you make it. Add some sugar, and it’s a dessert, add some soy sauce, and it’s an entrée, and add some spice, and baby, you’ll make everything right 😉
Song du jour: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-1UCe-k1gA pretty much sums it up! Happy Early Early Early Chinese New Year! (The one on the left is me)