Dragons, Pigs and Jamon Legs
Living the year of the Dragon in New York, as Spaniards, and Chinese.
02.07.24 | By Aaron Luo
Growing up in China, Lunar New Year (also known as Chinese New Year or Spring Festival) was the largest celebration and most cherished holiday of the year. It marked the beginning of the new lunar cycle, symbolizing the transition from the old year to the new, and bringing with it hopes for luck and prosperity. This was the time to feast and spend time with all members of the family and friends. Lunar New Year held a special place in our hearts, not only for the delicious foods that adorned every table but also for the precious moments spent with loved ones whom we often missed throughout the year.
As two first-generation Chinese growing up in Madrid and Valencia, Spain, we experienced something truly special. It was an opportunity to live at the intersection of West and East, embracing our Chinese traditions while immersing ourselves in the vibrant Spanish culture.
The culinary experience was perhaps the most striking cultural difference, particularly in our encounter with cured meats and cheeses—elements not typically found in Chinese cuisine, especially in the Shanghai and Zhejiang provinces where dishes are predominantly cooked. However, our families quickly embraced Spanish cuisine and all its flavors. For special occasions like Chinese New Year celebrations, a leg of Jamon 100% Iberico always graced our dinner table. Additionally, we frequently incorporated Spanish cured meats such as Chorizo and Jamon into traditional Chinese dishes like fried rice, dumplings, stews, and soups. Initially, we turned to these ingredients out of necessity, but they soon became staples, with Jamon or Chorizo seamlessly substituting for their Chinese counterparts in our recipes.
Fast forward 20 years, and here we are living in New York City, on a mission to bring the finest charcuterie from Spain to the US. As we welcome the Year of the Dragon in 2024, according to the Chinese Zodiac, we plan to celebrate the new year surrounded by loved ones in New York. Our menu will feature Chinese dumplings filled with napa cabbage and Jamon (check out our IG for the recipe), along with Yangzhou Fried Rice, all accompanied by the carving of a 16-pound Jamon 100% Iberico. We can't think of a better way to mark this special holiday.
¡Felize Año Nuevo! - 新年快乐! (Xin Nian Kuai Le)