Posts tagged Best Columbus Chinese Food
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There’s are a lot of fruit in Chinese cuisine which leads to delicious meals but did you ever wonder why? Well, Jacqueline Newman has done the research on why! Check it out below!

Chinese Food Symbolism: Fruits (Part I)

by Jacqueline M. Newman

Foods and Symbolism

Spring Volume: 1996 Issue: 3(1) page(s): 16

Fruits are temple offerings. Did you ever wonder why? What about oranges? Did you get any this past Chinese New Year holiday? Were they fresh? The Chinese love fruits, they like them big and beautiful, and they prefer fresh fruits, though sugared ones are common at this time of year. Fresh fruit at the New Year symbolizes life and a new beginning. Sugared ones are a wish for a sweet year. Traditionally, the pomelo, mandarins or what we call the tangerine or clementine, as well as limes, bananas, pineapple, and water or winter melon are seen as temple offerings. And speaking of traditions, during the harvest festival, the Lunar New Year, and other special occasions, fruits are common gifts, as well as common offerings.

The orange is a prayer or wish for good fortune. That is why it is probably the most common food offering. As a harbinger of wishes for good luck, they are often eaten on the second day of the New Year. Why not the first, because once an Emperor distributed oranges to his officials on the second day of the New Year. Thus you are also wishing for officialdom if you eat them on this day.

The mandarin and other fruits in the citrus family have other interesting roles. For instance, after her wedding, the bride is given two of these fruits by her new in-laws. She is to peel them the evening of the nuptials and share them with her husband. These two fruits are symbolizing a family wish that the bride and groom share a happy and full life together. Also, the name of the mandarin in Cantonese also means gold, clearly a dual wish here adding hopes for a life loaded with prosperity.

I was told that in the north of China two types of dried fruits are placed under the marriage bed, both wishing for many offspring. These are dried lychees and dried longans. The reason for these particular items, the words for them also mean "to have children quickly."

Melons and the pomelo are symbolic of family unity, they hold out the wish that the family will, like the moon, stay round, large, whole, and also united. Families love to share them and many other fruits. That may be why they buy large fruits and share them together.

Pomegranates have special family meaning, too. They symbolizes fertility; this fruit is full of seeds. A picture is often a wedding gift, a special picture with one of these fruits shown half-opened. The meaning is a hundred seeds, or more completely, a hundred sons. The word for seed is zi, it is also the word for sons.

The pomegranate is one fruit not used for sacrifice. The reason, it is considered to be too seductive. If you see a pomegranate on an old sash or cap of office in an ancient painting, the meaning has nothing to do with the seeds of this fruit, rather, it is saying or maybe praying to keep the title or rank from generation to generation in the same family. As in the two meanings for zi, what we call a homonym, only in this case it the word shi which also means generation.

Banana, found on some offering altars are there for other reasons. This fruit's leaves are one of the fourteen precious items to scholars. So on the offering table or altar, you are finding a wish for education, brilliance in work or school, or a related thought.

Apples have meaning, too. They symbolize peace. The word for apple in Chinese is ping, the homonym of ping is peace. Should you wonder what a homonym is, think of the word bear, the big four-legged animal and then think bear as in to bear fruit. Now the blossom of the apple is different; it stands for beauty. If you see one in a picture along with magnolias, the meaning is a hope that your house be honored and rich (with beauty).

Apricots are symbolic, too, they can stand for or mean a beautiful woman. But beauty had best not be to give your husband a red one. If you did, it would tell him that his wife is having an affair with a lover.

The loquat in Chinese is called pipa, which is the name of a Chinese musical instrument. Now this fruit ripens in early spring. So young boys out with less than honorable women were said to be running with loquat blossoms. Peaches portend longevity, and one almost always sees them in the hand of a man. That could be because the peach blossom advises of a somewhat loose lady. One rarely sees these two fruits together. though in real life less han honorable women could be out with young boys.

Pears symbolize something else. For example, lovers should never share a pear because the word for pear is identical to the word for separation. Many fruits are shared, but never is the pear divided with a husband, a lover, or a friend. And, whatever you do, don't give pears as a gift, especially on the 15th day of the 7th month; if you did, you would be wishing a separation from or to someone loved.

Symbols in fruit and other foods are fascinating. Allow me to end with a tripartite Chinese image wishing you (with a peach, a pomegranate, and a finger-lemon) a long life, many sons, and every happiness.

Recipes to Try at Home: Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water

  • 2 cups uncooked white rice

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1 pound ground pork

  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

  • 1 (14 ounce) package firm tofu, drained and cubed

  • 2 carrots, shredded

  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon hot chile paste

  • 1 head iceberg lettuce leaves, separated

  • Add all ingredients to list

Directions

  • Prep - 15 m

  • Cook - 32 m

  • Ready In - 47 m

  1. In a saucepan combine the water and rice. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes, until water is absorbed. Set aside and keep warm.

  2. Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Cook the pork, green onions, and garlic for 5 to 7 minutes, or until lightly brown. Add the tofu, carrot, Hoisin, and soy sauce, stirring frequently until heated through. Remove from heat, and stir in the sesame oil and chile paste.

  3. To serve: spoon a small amount of rice into each lettuce leaf, top with the stir-fry mixture, and drizzle with additional soy sauce or hoisin, if desired. Wrap the lettuce leaf to enclose the filling.

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Fresh, wholesome & tasty Asian wraps!

Footnotes

  • Optional additional stir fry ingredients

  • These may be used in place of or in addition to the tofu: chopped peanuts, peppers, shrimp, rice noodles, diced chicken, scrambled egg or bean sprouts.

What is Sesame?
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Sesame is a common ingredient in Chinese food but where does it come from?

Sesame  is a flowering plant in the genus Sesamum, also called benne. Numerous wild relatives occur in Africa and a smaller number in India. It is widely naturalized in tropical regions around the world and is cultivated for its edible seeds, which grow in pods or "buns". World production in 2016 was 6.1 million tonnes, with Tanzania, Myanmar, India, and Sudan as the largest producers.

Sesame seed is one of the oldest oilseed crops known, domesticated well over 3000 years ago. Sesamum has many other species, most being wild and native to sub-Saharan Africa. Sesamum indicum, the cultivated type, originated in India and is tolerant to drought-like conditions, growing where other crops fail.

Sesame has one of the highest oil contents of any seed. With a rich, nutty flavor, it is a common ingredient in cuisines across the world. Like other nuts and foods, it can trigger allergic reactions in some people.

Sesame seeds are sometimes sold with the seed coat removed (decorticated); this variety is often present on top of baked goods in many countries.

Sesame seed is a common ingredient in various cuisines. It is used whole in cooking for its rich, nutty flavour. Sesame seeds are sometimes added to breads, including bagels and the tops of hamburger buns. Sesame seeds may be baked into crackers, often in the form of sticks. In Sicily and France, the seeds are eaten on bread (ficelle sésame, sesame thread). In Greece, the seeds are also used in cakes.

History of Food: Lychee Fruit
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Since Lychee is this years lucky fruit I thought we should learn a little more about this history behind it!

Lychee: The lychee is also a spiky red fruit, a bit bigger than a cherry, with a pit surrounded by an inedible peel and somewhat translucent milky flesh. It is very high in Vitamin C and is juicy and sweet with a pleasing hint of tartness. It’s mostly eaten fresh but can also be canned. It can be found in many frozen yogurt places in the U.S. as a popular topping. It is also a popular flavor for many Asian drinks, snacks, and dessert products.

It is a tropical tree native to the Guangdong and Fujian provinces of China, where cultivation is documented from 1059 AD. China is the main producer of lychees, followed by India, other countries in Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and South Africa. A tall evergreen tree, the lychee bears small fleshy fruits. The outside of the fruit is pink-red, roughly textured and inedible, covering sweet flesh eaten in many different dessert dishes.

What are some of your favorite Lychee treats?


China Summer Fun
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Summer is just around the corner and if you need some places to think about visiting think about China. This huge continent has so much to offer during the summer months.

Check out some of the reasons and things to do here:

The Weather

From mid-May through mid-July, the rainy season kicks in across southern and eastern China. The rains are nicknamed the plum rains (梅雨 meiyu, or “may yoo” in Mandarin) for the season when the fruit ripens. Frankly, during those weeks, it feels as if nothing can grow but mold. But don’t be downtrodden; bring rain gear and you’ll be fine. Northern China doesn’t have the same precipitation pattern so make your itinerary include Beijing and Xi’an if you’re worried about getting too wet. After the rains end, you’re likely to seek shade from the scorching sun and blue skies that govern the later part of the summer.

There’s a lot to do in the summer months and some great festivals to try to catch as well. The summer months are the perfect time to tour Tibet as the weather is the mildest and most of the festivals take place in July and August. Visit beach cities like Qingdao and Xiamen to catch some rays, or head all the way down to Hainan to really cook on the white sand beaches of the island. If you’re hanging out in any of the big cities, Beijing, Chengdu, and Shanghai all have great outdoor venues and you’ll find many places to sit in the shade and drink tea - or something stronger - and relax.

 

Summer Activities

Beach: If it’s beach-time you’re after, try one of these destinations for sand and sun:

  • Xiamen, formerly known as Amoy, is a relaxing smallish city directly across from Taiwan that has great beaches, long stretches of the promenade, nice seafood restaurants, and a laid-back atmosphere.

  • Qingdao, most famous for its beer, is another smaller Chinese city with famous beaches and plenty of places to soak up the sun.

  • Sanya, a city on Hainan Island in the South China Sea, is the mecca for serious beach-seekers. Full of top international five-star beach resorts, you can take your pick and have a classy beach holiday. (Be sure not to miss the matching his & her Hawaiian outfits available in all the hotel shops...)

Nature: If you’re looking to see some nature and mountain landscapes then these are perfect choices:

  • Tibet enjoys its best weather in summer months and there's not a better time to go in order to catch great festivals.

  • Jiuzhaigou is a famous national park and reserve in Sichuan Province. Many ethnic Tibetans live there so it's culturally interesting but the reason to go is the scenery. Full of pristine forests and clear lakes, if you're coming from a big city you'll be relieved to see that there is some amazing nature left in China.

  • Mount Song & Shaolin Temple is a great destination if you want to combine a little history and religion with your nature walk.

  • Four Buddhist Holy Mountains draw thousands of tourists and climbers every summer. If you're really ambitious, perhaps you could make it to all four?

  • The Great Wall just has no match in China. No, it's not off the beaten path. Yes, you'll probably be there with hundreds of other tourists. But it's famous for a reason. Don't miss it if you're near Beijing.

Green: If you don't have time to head too far out, some Chinese cities have plenty of green, many have gardens which are famous:

  • Visit any Chinese park

  • Suzhou's famous gardens

  • Hangzhou and the West Lake or Moganshan.

  • The Giant Panda Breeding Base in Chengdu offers lots of green bamboo and giant cuddly animals.

Shanghai: In Shanghai, these are great summer activities:

Beijing: And in Beijing, any of these activities are great for summertime.

Summer Festivals

Summer Holidays

Qi Xi, Night of Sevens (Chinese Valentine’s Day) is not an official holiday, but a traditional celebration usually falling in August.

Chinese kids are off from school between early July and the end of August.

Unique Vegetables in Chinese Food: Bamboo Shoots
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China is a large continent which in turn brings a lot of different food varieties. One vegetable that is seen in a lot of different Chinese cuisines in Bamboo shoots. What are they you ask?

As the name implies, bamboo shoots are the edible shoots of the bamboo plant, which is native to Asia. They are cut from the plant once they appear above the ground to preserve their tenderness and because if they are left to grow exposed, they will turn a green color. 

Fresh bamboo shoots are available at Asian or Chinese markets, or you can find canned bamboo shoots at most local grocery stores. Fresh shoots need to be boiled until tender, then husked and cut into pieces. Canned bamboo shoots only need to be heated since they are pre-cooked.

You may have eaten bamboo shoots at a Chinese restaurant as they are often part of a stir-fry. You can try them at home in almost any stir-fry dish, including stir-fry beef with bamboo shoots and stir-fry mushrooms and bamboo shoots.

Next time you order your favorite dish from Windchimes thing…does this have Bamboo shoots in it?

 
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Happy Lunar New Year: The Celebration Begins
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Just because the new year has begun doesn't mean you're allowed to rest.

While most countries that observe Lunar New Year offer three to seven days of public holidays, celebrations don't end until the 15th day of the first lunar month, also known as the Lantern Festival. (Lunar New Year in 2019 lasts from February 5 to February 19.)

There is a list of superstitious dos and don'ts for the new year but the rule of thumb is to say a lot of "kung hei fat choy"or "gong xi fa cai," and avoid saying things that may sound like a less auspicious word.

During the festival, people will travel around to visit relatives, who will prepare snacks and fill up candy boxes for the visits -- except for the third day of the month.

It's believed that arguments are more likely to happen on that day -- February 9, this year -- called chi kou (or "red mouth"). Hence, most people will engage in other activities like visiting a temple. In Hong Kong, a major spring festival horse racing event takes place every year on the third day.

During the 15 days, married couples have to give out red packets filled with money to children (and unmarried adults) to wish them luck.

The seventh day is renri, or the people's birthday (February 11). when the Chinese mother goddess Nuwa is said to have created mankind.

The highlight comes on the last day, during the Lantern Festival (February 19).

Being the only day when young girls in ancient Chinese society could go out to admire lanterns and meet boys, it's also been dubbed Chinese Valentine's Day.

Nowadays, cities around the world still put on massive lantern displays and fairs on the 15th day of the festival.

Some create more sparks than others. Like Nuanquan, a small Chinese town that puts on a spectacular "firework" show by throwing molten metal against a cold stone city wall.

Kung hei fat choy!

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Chinese New Years: Lucky Foods
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February 5th is Chinese New Years and there’s so much to celebrate! One thing that is very important to the celebration is food. There are certain dishes that are eaten for the symbolic meaning and luck.

The auspicious symbolism of these traditional Chinese New Year foods is based on their pronunciations or appearance. Not only do the dishes themselves matter, but also the preparation, and ways of serving and eating mean a lot.

The most common Chinese New Year foods includes dumplings, fish, spring rolls, and niangao. We've rounded up 7 essential Chinese, or Lunar, New Year dishes, and included the symbolism behind them all.

Here are the 7 lucky foods to eat:

1. Fish — an Increase in Prosperity

In Chinese, "fish" (鱼 Yú /yoo/) sounds like 'surplus'. Fish is a tradtional Chinese New Year dish. Chinese people always like to have a surplus at the end of the year, because they think if they have managed to save something at the end of the year, then they can make more in the next year.

Steamed fish is one of the most famous Chinese New Year recipes. What fish should be chosen for the New Year dinner is based on auspicious homophonics.

  • Crucian carp: As the first character of 'crucian carp' (鲫鱼 jìyú /jee-yoo/) sounds like the Chinese word 吉 (jí /jee/ 'good luck'), eating crucian carp is considered to bring good luck for the next year.

  • Chinese mud carp: The first part of the Chinese for "mud carp" (鲤鱼 lǐyú /lee-yoo/) is pronounced like the word for gifts (礼 lǐ /lee/). So Chinese people think eating mud carp during the Chinese New Year symbolizes wishing for good fortune.

  • Catfish: The Chinese for "catfish" (鲶鱼 niányú /nyen-yoo/) sounds like 年余 (nián yú) meaning 'year surplus'. So eating catfish is a wish for a surplus in the year.

  • Eating two fish, one on New Year's Eve and one on New Year's Day, (if written in a certain way) sounds like a wish for a surplus year-after-year.

  • If only one catfish is eaten, eating the upper part of the fish on New Year's Eve and the remainder on the first day of the new year can be spoken with the same homophonic meaning.

2. Chinese Dumplings — Wealth

With a history of more than 1,800 years, dumplings (饺子 Jiǎozi /jyaoww-dzrr/) are a classic Chinese food, and a traditional dish eaten on Chinese New Year's Eve, widely popular in China, especially in North China.

Chinese dumplings can be made to look like Chinese silver ingots (which are not bars, but boat-shaped, oval, and turned up at the two ends). Legend has it that the more dumplings you eat during the New Year celebrations, the more money you can make in the New Year.

Dumplings generally consist of minced meat and finely-chopped vegetables wrapped in a thin and elastic dough skin. Popular fillings are minced pork, diced shrimp, fish, ground chicken, beef, and vegetables. They can be cooked by boiling, steaming, frying or baking.

How they're made: Almost all Chinese people can make dumplings. First they mix the dough, second make the dough into round "wrappers" with a rolling pin, third fill the wrappers with stuffing, fourth pinch the "wrapper" together into the desired shape, and fifth cook them.

Different Dumpling Fillings Have Different Meanings

Chinese don't eat Chinese sauerkraut (酸菜 suāncài /swann-tseye/) dumplings at Spring Festival, because it implies a poor and difficult future. On New Year's Eve it is a tradition to eat dumplings with cabbage and radish, implying that one's skin will become fair and one's mood will become gentle.

How to Make LUCKY Dumplings

  • When making dumplings there should be a good number of pleats. If you make the junction too flat, it is thought to purport poverty.

  • Some Chinese put a white thread inside a dumpling, and the one who eats that dumpling is supposed to possess longevity. Sometimes a copper coin is put in a dumpling, and the one who eats it is supposed to become wealthy.

  • Dumplings should be arranged in lines instead of circles, because circles of dumplings are supposed to mean one's life will go round in circles, never going anywhere.

Lucky Saying for Eating Dumplings

Zhāo cái jìn bǎo (招财进宝/jaoww tseye jin baoww/): 'Bringing in wealth and treasure' — a felicitous wish for making money and amassing a fortune.

Read more about Chinese dumplings.

3. Spring Rolls — Wealth

Spring rolls (春卷 Chūnjuǎn /chwnn- jwen/) get their name because they are traditionally eaten during the Spring Festival. It is a dish especially popular in East China: Jiangxi, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Fujian, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, etc.

Spring rolls are a Cantonese dim sum dish of cylindrical-shaped rolls filled with vegetables, meat, or something sweet. Fillings are wrapped in thin dough wrappers, then fried, when the spring rolls are given their golden-yellow color.

Lucky Saying for Eating Spring Rolls

黄金万两 (hwung-jin wan-lyang/): 'A ton of gold' (because fried spring rolls look like gold bars) — a wish for prosperity.

Read more about spring rolls.

4. Glutinous Rice Cake — a Higher Income or Position

Chinese New Year cakes

Glutinous rice cake (年糕 Niángāo /nyen-gaoww/) is a traditional Chinese New Year recipe. In Chinese, glutinous rice cake sounds like it means "'getting higher year-on- by year"'. In Chinese people's minds, this means the higher you are the more prosperous your business is a general improvement in life. The main ingredients of niangao are sticky rice, sugar, chestnuts, Chinese dates, and lotus leaves.

Lucky Saying for Eating Niangao

年年高 (niánnián gāo /nyen-nyen gaoww/): 'Getting higher year-after-year by year', can imply children's height, rise in business success, better grades in study, promotions at work, etc.

Read more details on Glutinous Rice Cake.

5. Sweet Rice Balls — Family Togetherness

Sweet rice balls

Sweet rice ball (汤圆 Tāngyuán /tung-ywen/) is the main food for China's Lantern Festival, however, in south China, people eat them throughout the Spring Festival. The pronunciation and round shape of tangyuan are associated with reunion and being together. That's why they are favored by the Chinese during the New Year celebrations.

Lucky Sayings for Eating Tangyuan

团团圆圆 (Tuántuán yuányuán /twann-twann ywen-ywen/ 'group-group round-round'): Happy (family) reunion!

6. Longevity Noodles — Happiness and Longevity

Longevity noodles (长寿面 Chángshòu Miàn /chung-show myen/) unsurprisingly symbolize a wish for longevity. Their length and unsevered preparation are also symbolic of the eater's life.

They are longer than normal noodles and uncut, either fried and served on a plate, or boiled and served in a bowl with their broth.

7. Good Fortune Fruit — Fullness and Wealth

Certain fruits are eaten during the Chinese New Year period, such as tangerines and oranges, and pomeloes. They are selected as they are particularly round and "golden" in color, symbolizing fullness and wealth, but more obviously for the lucky sound they bring when spoken.

Chinese New Year fruits

Eating and displaying tangerines and oranges is believed to bring good luck and fortune due to their pronunciation, and even writing. The Chinese for orange (and tangerine) is 橙 (chéng /chnng/), which sounds the same as the Chinese for 'success' (成). One of the ways of writing tangerine (桔 jú /jyoo/) contains the Chinese character for luck (吉 jí /jee/).

Eating pomeloes/shaddocks is thought to bring continuous prosperity. The more you eat, the more wealth it will bring, as the traditional saying goes. The Chinese for pomelo (柚 yòu /yo/) sounds like 'to have' (有 yǒu), except for the tone, and exactly like 'again' (又 yòu).


Daily Horoscope: August 8, 2018
 
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Chinese calendar:
Day of the Water Monkey
Month of the Earth Goat
Year of the Earth Dog 2018

Polarity of the Day: Yang
Polarity of the Month: Yin
Polarity of the Year: Yang
Lucky directions: West-South-West
Lucky colors: Green

 

 
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The Water Monkey is the most cunning of Monkeys.

His curiosity and talent are as well developed as his sensibility is extreme. Indeed, if the Water Monkey is funny, charming and manipulative as all monkeys can be, his intense emotions also allow him to work with instinct, for better or for worse. On a day of the Water Monkey, creative crafts as well as inspiration and new ideas are favored. Remember, however, that if creativity and dreams are connected, the world of production, marketing and sales of a new product depends on reality, with its ungrateful work and challenging failures, must never discourage you from always starting again. Success always comes to those who persevere against the winds and tides.

Today more than ever, you feel the soul of a conqueror of the impossible, a Christopher Columbus in search of gold and glory, whom no one seems to take seriously, for the time being… If you’re single, you feel perfectly capable of seducing a movie star. Who does not try anything has nothing, but be prepared to suffer disappointments. To conclude, during a Water Monkey’s day, it is above all to oneself that one must avoid lying.

Daily Energetic chart: Weak in Wood element
Birth's character and destiny (BaGua): The Great Possession
 

The Legend of Potstickers
 
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Potstickers are one of my favorite dishes. These simple, little fried pillows filled with meat leave you wanting more. Usually they are an appetizer and meant to share but sometimes you just want them all to yourself. How did these little dumplings become so popular and why are they so delicious? 

The Chinese have been enjoying these little treats since the Song Dynasty. No one knows the exact origin of how they were created but according to legend they were invented by a chef in China's Imperial Court who accidentally burnt a batch of dumplings after leaving them on the stove for too long. The dumplings were overcooked and burnt on the bottom but not on top. The Chef went with this mistake and said it was a new dish and was supposed to be served in this style, leading to the Potstickers we enjoy today. 

 
 

Typically, potstickers are made with a hot water dough that uses boiling water, giving the dough greater elasticity so it can hold it's shape. Though, if you are trying to make these at home you can usually pick up Gyoza or wonton wrappers to create a similar substitute. After they are made you want to fry them up and flip over with the brown side up. Then after they are finished and plated up you can use a variety of dipping sauces to bring out the delicious flavors of the pork inside. 

There are other types of potstickers from different regions of China but these fried delights are my favorite. Come into Windchimes today to taste them for yourself. And be prepared not to share!