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Lunar New Year at Peach Farm Seafood


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Lunar New Year at Peach Farm Seafood

galleygirl | Jan 29, 2004 12:45 PM

For the last three Lunar New Years, or some date in close approximation, a group of friends, (hounds, non-hounds, co-hounds, significant and not-so-significant others), has put aside their fears, (and better judgement), and allowed me to order my idea of the perfect New Year's banquet. It usually involves as many people who can squeeze around the biggest banquet table at Peach Farm Seafood, home of the inuagural dinner and my favorite place in Boston's Chinatown...I tend to follow a similar menu each year (hey, we all have traditions!) with a few seasonal or suggested options, so anyone who's read last year's post may be bored... ;)

We started with Geoduck Sashimi, four pounds for our crowd....Arranged in thin slices on a platter of ice, this sweet, fresh crunchy treat will appeal to those who like mirugai, or giant clam, in Japanese restaurants. ..It may actually be the same thing; I hear it's a favorite in Hong Kong...Whether or not it's the same animal, there was joy in my heart to see that much raw-shellfish spread before me! ;) Served sashimi-style, with wasabi and soy sauce...The taste of the sea is in every bite. The heads were sliced and salt-fried with the squid that followed (see below)...I wish they had served them seperately, because it was hard to tell which was which, until one bit into it and discovered the intense clammy flavor.

A huge, round platter full of Cold Appetizers..Thinly sliced roast pork, cuttlefish, jellyfish, and a red-cooked organ meat that we decided was pig intestines...It had been a favorite last year, and this year as wel. Must have been exciting for all those Atkins-types...The mound of jellyfish was atop a heap of pickled turnip; love that sweet pickled taste.

Crab and Chicken Soup...Someone else will have to post on this. Tom, our go-to guy, and organizer extraordinaire there, said his mother suggested it...All I know, is that among a group that usually leaves their soup bowls half-full, they were empty here....

Spicy Salt Fried Squid.....My companion murmured, "This is *way* better than the last place you took me." I was so proud! Of course, PFS does do the best salt-fried squid in town, IMHO. Slices and tentacles, fresh from the fryer, with a hint of chili pepper for heat, and the requisite saltiness...

Giant Steamed Oysters in Black bean Sauce...I LOVE THEM. That's it...Big steaming mouthsful of lightly cooked oyster, topped with PFS's superlative black bean sauce...They use a loose, well integrated version, yet the flavors are intense...The oysters used here are about 6" long, not the normal bites would expect in a raw bar....Four or five are a meal(g)...I have no idea where they get them, but other Chinese restaurants in Boston seve them as well..My guess is that they're too big to serve raw, but their flavor comes to the forefront when minimally steamed by a watchful chef.

Mound-o-Peapod shoots, barely cooked and loaded with garlic. PFS does a thorough job of the "handwork" required for this dish, so there is lots of leaf, and less of the stems themselves; a good thing...

Maggee Eel, dpon't know if it's on the menu..Thick, boneless fingers of eel, light cornstarched and fried...They were tossed in a light maggee-flavored coating, unlike the previous times I've had it, where the sauce was just drizzled over it.. with some garlic and sesame seed....I tried not to tell my slightly eel-leary tablemate what he was eating, but he ended up going for seconds and thirds, so it was a hit...

Fat-Choy Oysters, the "apples and honey" of the Chinese New Year's table...Fat Choy is the Irish Moss that sounds the same as "good luck" in Cantonese, so it's a given on your festive menu...It topped a mound of braised lettuce, and was surrounded by a wall of dried oysters. The Irish moss was well cooked, and the flavor deep and earthy (I know it's a sea vegetable, but it was!) Combined with the bitterness of the cooked lettuce, and the tender yet chewy dried oyster, I was quite happy...Now, if I could only convince my mother to lose the apples and honey.

Eggplant with Black bean Sauce on a Sizzling Platter...Not as tender as I remember it in the past...I was so proud of my companion(Cabinboy? Cabinman?)) when he said. "I liked the eggplant we had at the other place better"...Those ruthless interrogations about every bite he eats of every meal we share must be paying off!

Stir-Fried Littlenecks and Garlic chives. Another off-menu item...Tender sweet clams, tossed with lightly cooked garlic chives...I think these were one of the favorites of the evening, even among the less adventurous eaters...I would go back and have a plate for dinner any day.

A whole chicken, (complete with head), boned and stuffed with sticky-rice and Chinese sausage...I think it's roasted...Maybe someone will chime in...It's a traditional item, intact, for a year full of good luck...I don't eat chicken, but people seemed to really like it...Cabinboy scarfed multiple helpings... I will further interrogate him on the leftovers. You have to special order the chicken two days in advance.

Whole Cod,steamed in ginger and scallions...The whole fish on the table is traditonal, for abundance and wholeness. The mild cod flesh contrasted well with our other more intense dishes...I would have preferred a tautog, but there wasn't a large enough one available...

See Yao Wong fried noodles,a dish that Tom couldn't translate to English or Mandarin, (we had no Cantonese speakers with us) but is off-menu... Pretty simple, involving very thin wheat noodles, just slightly crisped with a little sesame oil and soy sauce...Not as crunchy as typical thick yellow Hong Kong noodles...Another big favorite here, I was craving it all the next day...

We finished up too late for tapioca, so we had oranges to guarantee us sweetness and wealth...

There were also more bottles of wonderful whites than I can possibly list, starting with a cava that Striperguy supplied for our first toast, a bottle of Chinese 52 proof White Lightening, discovered by Zatan, and a wonderful Sauvignon Blanc(?) redolent of lychees that Rubee will have to supply the information on...Everyone, please chime in on anything I may have missed, or anything to further embellish! ;)

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