Each year the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center draws more people to its Taste of China Festival in celebration of the Chinese New Year.

For the third year, organizers expect more than 2,000 people to come out and enjoy Chinese cuisine, family games, calligraphy, martial arts, cooking demonstrations, and Tai Chi performances to welcome the Year of the Snake.

"The food items we pick represent a different region in China. We are trying to show different styles of food because China is so big," said Patsy Lee, the center's former president.

Wanda Zhang, who owns the Harvest Moon Chinese restaurant in Oro Valley, will demonstrate how to prepare popular New Year's dishes.

"We want to let the community know more about the Chinese cooking and show them what ingredients we use," said Zhang, who opened Harvest Moon 13 years ago and has promoted healthy Chinese cooking since the beginning. She also teaches culinary classes at the cultural center.

"Dumplings are my favorite and it is our restaurant's signature dish. It is a traditional dish for families to prepare together and talk about their New Year resolutions," Zhang said.

Zhang shared the recipe (below) for the dumplings - aka potstickers - she will make Saturday. "She has demonstrated this dish for us in the past and they are delicious. Dumplings are very important to the Chinese people," Lee said. Chinese New Year offically begins Sunday.

If you go

• What: Taste of China Festival.

• When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

• Where: Tucson Chinese Cultural Center, 1288 W. River Road.

• Admission: $2 (kids 12 and under free). Free parking.

• Details: tucsonchinese.org or 292-6900.

The Perfect Potsticker

Makes: about 20 to 40 potstickers, depending on wrapping skill, which can take years to perfect.

4 ounces shrimp

4 ounces Napa cabbage

2 tablespoons finely chopped green onion

2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

1 pound ground pork (or chicken)

Pinch salt

1 teaspoon garlic-flavored olive oil

3 ounces chicken broth

1 ounce cooking wine

2 tablespoons cornstarch

3/4 teaspoon sugar

Pinch white pepper

1 teaspoon oyster sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon ginger

1 package Peking Potsticker Wraps

2 teaspoons vegetable oil (for skillet)


1. Separately chop shrimp, cabbage, green onion and cilantro into very fine pieces.

2. Mix together shrimp, cabbage, green onion, cilantro, and ground pork, then add the rest of the ingredients (except wrappers, oil and water) and mix thoroughly.

3. Take 1 potsticker wrap and using a finger or brush line the rim of the wrap with a thin layer of water (use a spray bottle to mist water on the wrapper if still dry).

4. Place 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of the meat and vegetable mixture in the middle of the wrap.

5. Fold and repeat steps 3-4.

6. Fry about six potstickers at a time in a nonstick pan, using 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil at medium heat, until golden brown. Then add a half cup of water and cover pan with a lid (leaving enough of a crack on the lid to allow the steam to boil off). Continue cooking about 10 minutes. The wrap will appear to bubble away from the meat when done.

Source: Wanda Zhang, Harvest Moon Chinese restaurant, Oro Valley

Did you know?

This will be the Year of the Snake, the sixth animal of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs.

The snake is a hard worker who is generous and charming but also frugal with money. Snakes try to help others in need and they rely on their own intuitions.

New Years dinner at Harvest Moon

Wanda Zhang will prepare a multi-course New Year's dinner with wine pairings at her restaurant at 6 p.m. Feb. 23. The cost is $100 ($70 vegan). Harvest Moon is located at 12125 N. Oracle Road. Space is limited. Make reservations at 825-5351.

Year of The Snake Dinner

The event, to benefit the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center, includes a casino night, hors d'oeuvres, cocktails, entertainment, a silent auction and dinner. It starts at 5 p.m. Feb. 16 at the J.W. Marriott at Starr Pass, 3800 W. Starr Pass Blvd. The cost is $150; proceeds benefit the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center ($70 is tax-deductible). RSVP to 292-6900.

Source: The San Francisco Chinese Cultural Center.