Happy year of the HORSE! I know Chinese New Year celebrations are over but I’d just like to drop a little post about what has become my favourite CNY snack for the past few years. For most of my life, I had always looked forward to munching on crispy shredded taro balls (wu har/芋蝦), homemade pan-fried radish cakes and nian gao every CNY. Nowadays, the one thing I cannot spend new years without is arrowhead chips. More specifically, Da Shi Jie’s arrowhead chips.
Now what on earth are arrowheads? The chips look like they can pass off as potato chips. In fact, undiscerning tasters may even think they are just eating potato chips. However, the arrowhead is actually a flowering plant with edible tubers that the Chinese decided to deep fry into chips. They have a fancier name called Sagittaria sagittifolia, but in China they are called cí gū 慈菇, which literally translates to “benevolent mushroom”. I’m not too sure why they are called mushrooms, though they do have an earthy aroma that is redolent of mushrooms. The reason I love them is that they are super crunchy, with a woodsy bitterness that makes them seem like extra-refined, sophisticated potato chips.
Some people might still prefer supermarket potato chips for the variety of flavours – these arrowhead chips are hardly seasoned! Regardless, that is exactly how I like to savour their superior natural taste. At HKD 118 per pack (easily finished in 3 minutes) they are on the expensive side, but afterall they are not potatoes.
Mind you I do normally fancy my mass produced, MSG covered potato chips from the supermarket. But when it’s Chinese New Year, I think it’s only right to spoil myself with superior snacks like benevolent mushroom chips.
These Da Shi Jie arrowhead chips are orderable online at http://www.dashijie.com.hk just before and during CNY. GET’EM NEXT YEAR if they’ve run out this year! Just FYI, Da shi jie, whose real name is Mak Lai Man, is a food loving lady from Hong Kong who quit her big shot job back in 2007 to start making yummy seasonal food (particularly from the Canton region) and to write foodie articles in local papers. Big ups to the lady running for dreams and spreading love for wonderful food!