In every Chinese people’s warm memories of the Spring Festival, there may be activities involving setting off firecrackers, receiving lucky money, visiting relatives, and watching the Spring Festival Gala, but to feel the true “taste” of the Chinese New Year, eating dumplings is something indispensable to us.Dumplings are shaped like a golden treasure that ancient Chinese used. People eat dumplings in the Spring Festival believing that they could “attract wealth and treasure“ . People love to wrap all kinds of ingredients with auspicious meanings into the fillings of the dumplings, sending their best wishes to the new year.
In Jiaodong Peninsula, the eastern coastal region of Shandong Province, seafood dumplings are always the mainstay，irrespective of New Year occassion or other moments to honor the gods and guests. In 2013, Jiaodong Dumpling Food Custom was selected into the third batch of Shandong provincial intangible cultural heritage.
Seafood dumplings belong to Shandong cuisine. Fresh sea food such as cuttlefish, yellow croaker, Spanish mackerel, oyster, and shrimp are used as ingredients to make dumplings. The dumpling’s skin is thin, and the stuffing is white, smooth, and tender--that is why it has also been given the name “Fresh from the Sea“, featuring characteristics of delicate, delicious and healthy.
Among them, Spanish mackerel dumplings and shrimp dumplings rank the top of the seafood dumplings, and are extremely popular with dumpling-lovers.Spanish mackerel dumplings are made with fresh Spanish mackerel. The fish meat is cut off along the spine to prepare for skinning and mincing, ginger and a few Chinese chives are also added into the stuffings.The dumpling skin should be soft in order for the boiled dumplings to be crystal thin and transparent --the fish balls inside present an inviting color of pure-whiteness and some greenness through the skin. With the tender fish meat and the fragrance of Chinese chives completely blending, the fresh mouthfeel and tempting aroma offer an endless aftertaste for taking just one bite of the dumpling.
Jiaodong Seafood Dumplings are a result of the wisdom from generations of fishermen in the special context of fishery culture in Jiaodong,carrying and holding the unique lifestyle, customs and strong nostalgia of Jiaodong people.
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