Today is the lunar New Year's Eve and tomorrow starts the year of the Tiger. It is the Chinese tradition to have a great feast today (and for three contiguous days) to celebrate. If you are in the great
area, I recommend two restaurants that are the best for Boston cuisine: Sichuan
- Red Pepper (重庆食府), (508) 620-9998, 17 Edgell Road, Framingham, MA (off Rt. 9)
- Chili Garden (川王府), (781) 396-8488, 41 Riverside Ave, Medford, MA
We are going with a bunch of friends to one of them. Can't wait!
One of the must-have traditional New Year dishes is smoked pork (腊肉). The restaurants above smoke the pork themselves to make this wonderful dish and it tastes great. Also, when you go to any Chinese restaurant, don't forget to ask if they have sweet-rice balls (汤圆), a must-have dessert to celebrate the New Year. Not every Chinese restaurant offers it, but good ones should.
sweet-rice balls in rice-wine
By the way, my old townsfolk in
believe a Tiger Year will be severe. I don't think the young generation would buy that. Apparently the older generations have a more pessimistic world view. Chongqing
Among all the Tiger Years I have lived through, the one that stands out is 1974. In January that year I finished high school, without any graduation ceremony. In May I was sent down to the countryside as an "insert," and labored in the fields with peasants for nearly four years, until universities re-started in spring 1978. Life was really harsh in the countryside. But unlike many of my peers, I don't resent that time. I treasure that experience; it opened my eyes to the reality of how people at the bottom of society lived. One of the stories in my book Apologies Forthcoming, "Disciple of the Masses," has parts based on my own experience. Check it out.
Happy New Year everyone!