Chenpi

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

Does anybody else’s family keep orange peels in their kitchen? Chenpi are sun-dried tangerine peels. In fact, chenpi literally means “aged peel.” They can be used as a seasoning in Chinese cooking and an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine. Chenpi is most commonly found in desserts like red bean soup, and it is also used to make the Hunanese dish Orange Chicken. I remember my grandmother used to add chenpi to the soups that she prepared. She kept them in a mason jar in her kitchen cabinets after laying them out on a napkin to dry near the windows. I used to ask my grandmother not to ladle the chenpi into my bowl because even though I had no problem with the bitter taste of the peels themselves, I did not really like their texture. Nowadays, I do not really mind chenpi in my soup, as I have grown used to them. We actually have a family friend who lives in Xinhui, a city province in China known for their chenpi. I think it is interesting that something as ordinary and easily disposable as a tangerine peel can be used to add a distinctive flavor to certain dishes in Chinese cuisine.

Year: 1997

– Hilary Tung

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant