Not everyone knows about this tasty, sea-scented dish, but if you’re here, that means you miss that creamy seafood platter best enjoyed with crackers. A lovely appetizer and a nice light lunch, the Chinese seafood delight is like no other dish.
Let’s just start by saying the Chinese seafood delight as I know it is not Chinese at all, but it was common on Chinese buffets in the States.
Still, I give mine a Chinese feel with a pinch of Chinese five-spice that works marvelously with seafood.
Now, I’ve seen versions of this dish calling for mayonnaise and white bread, an inexpensive seafood casserole that looks like it came out of a survivalist cookbook.
I’ve also seen recipes of seafood stir-fried with veggies — folks call that one a Chinese seafood delight as well. For me, the dish is a 70s retro classic that’s as tasty as it is a bit awkward, like everything in the 70s!
My Chinese seafood delight starts by prepping the shrimp and boiling them until tender. The rest is cream cheese combined with crab meat, horseradish, minced bell pepper, celery and a splash of lemon juice.
Here’s where I mix in the Chinese 5 spices, which adds color, flavor and aromatics to the appetizer.
The shrimp become the garnish and the main ingredient, of course, and if you want to add any other type of seafood, please do so.
And although the classic recipe for the dish calls for fake crab meat and fake lobster meat, I believe some things are better left in the 70s.
I serve this one at dinner parties when I’m serving fish as the main course; that way, the seafood complements the meal. And this beauty with crackers is always crowd-pleasing.
Serve it center table and let people assemble their own crackers. You might want to prepare a few extra shrimps, though, because they’re gone fast!
So, here’s my shout-out for the 20th-century seafood classic. I hope you enjoy it!
Peel and devein the shrimp.
Boil for 5 minutes until pink but not overcooked. Cooldown to room temperature.
In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, crab meat, horseradish, minced bell pepper, celery, lemon juice and Chinese 5 spice.
Garnish with the shrimp.
Chill for 30 minutes before serving and serve with crackers.