Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Taste of Chanukah in Wenzhou, China

Da Wang oil lamp cake (大王灯盏糕) restaurant in Wenzhou, China
A popular place for a local snack in Wenzhou

I didn't only observe many examples of the Christmas holiday in Wenzhou, China, this year. I also observed a Jewish tradition in the U.S. for December 25: I ate Chinese food.

Of course, finding Chinese food isn't too much of a challenge in China, but this time the local food in Wenzhou allowed me to also feel some of the Chanukah holiday spirit — particularly fitting since this year its first full day was also December 25.

oil lamp cakes (灯盏糕) in Wenzhou, China
Deep fried goodness

The deep fried cakes are very similar in concept and taste to the latkes (potato pancakes) commonly eaten by Jews in some parts of world during Chanukah, except they are made from shredded white radish instead of potato. They are also stuffed, most often with meat and egg. The place I went to this day offered a variety of options.

menu with variety of oil lamp cakes (灯盏糕)

I figured I would avoid the common pork filling on this day. I asked whether the 羊 (yáng) listed on the menu meant lamb or goat. No answer came right away, but eventually someone said "It should be lamb."

Good enough — either worked for me anyway.

inside of an oil lamp cake (灯盏糕)
That brief moment between being whole and disappearing

The radishy delight was tasty, although it left me craving applesauce.

To top it off, the name of the latke-like treats has a coincidental tie to the Chanukah story, which traditionally includes the miracle of one day's worth of oil lasting for eight days. Due to their shape, they are called oil lamp cakes (灯盏糕).

It will be hard for me to top this December 25th in China.

1 comment:

  1. Post is much funnier given that people from Wenzhou are called the "Jews of China/the Orient." If you don't mention that, I will :)