Hungry for Luck
Photos by Meda Kessler
As millions of Chinese prepare to celebrate the Lunar New Year — 2021 is the Year of the Ox — other Asian cultures also mark the 15-day event with food, festivals and get-togethers with family. Considered a spring holiday to mark the end of winter and prepare for planting and harvest season, the celebration isn’t too likely to be met by warm weather here in Texas. But we’re all for new beginnings and fresh starts, even if we have to skip the large gatherings for now. This year, Chinese New Year starts on Feb. 12. As food is one of the biggest components of the holiday, why not support your local Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean or Thai restaurants? While these menus don’t offer a large variety of authentic dishes, there’s still plenty to enjoy.
Spring rolls are one way to celebrate the arrival of the new season; the fried versions are popular but, if you’re doing takeout, the rice paper-wrapped rolls will hold better. We typically order them with shrimp, but at My Lan Vietnamese Kitchen in Colleyville, you also can get them with tofu; grilled pork, beef or chicken; or a sugar cane-shrimp combo. They come two to an order with a peanut-hoisin sauce and can be cut into halves to serve. Vegetable dishes are included as a nod to a bountiful spring harvest. At My Lan, we get the seafood chow fun, stir-fried shrimp and calamari with lots of vegetables served over pan-fried flat noodles. And dumplings are a must. Our favorites are the little steamed purses of dough stuffed with crab and pork at Dragon House. A caveat: These are best eaten fresh out of the steamer, so if takeout is the only option, get them on the dinner table quickly. Otherwise, get the fried versions. Dragon House offers several dishes using hand-pulled noodles made in-house along with other Asian specialties. Dig in and wish for good fortune for the year ahead.