Those brown, crusty looking things are known as chenpi, dried mandarin orange peels. When my parents first immigrated over this was one of the many things they brought over. The peels are aged for years. The older they were, the more valuable. The peels have medicinal properties and are like a cure-all according to my parents. They would always just throw them onto all kinds of foods like rice and congee. The one thing they made most out of the peels was soup. If I was sick, they’d say drink more soup. It was always soup,soup,soup. There was one downside to the soup, the taste. The peels gave the soup a very distinct smell and bitter taste. It was always a struggle to finish the entire bowl. The taste and smell of that soup will never leave my memory.
– Javis Wu