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National Crab Rangoon Day

Kara Sweeney, Kristen Ostrem, and Sarah White, friends from Boston and crab rangoon enthusiasts, created National Crab Rangoon Day, with some sources reporting they did so in 2009, and that they organized events for the day in Boston, New York City, and Vail that year. Although, a February 13, 2008, post in the I Celebrate National Crab Rangoon Day and I Love It Facebook group—the first post in the group, of which Kristen and Sarah are moderators—implies it was National Crab Rangoon Day on that 2008 date. Similarly, a post in the group in February 2009 says the observance that year was not the first observance of the day.

Crab rangoon is made with wonton wrappers that are filled with minced crab meat or imitation crab meat, cream cheese, and seasonings, and deep-fried in vegetable oil or baked. Scallions, onion, garlic, and other flavorings are sometimes included in the wonton. Crab rangoon is a staple in Chinese-American food, and is usually served as an appetizer, often with duck sauce, sweet and sour sauce, plum sauce, soy sauce, or hot mustard sauce. Crab rangoon has been given other names like crab pillows, crab puffs, crab rangoon puffs, crab cheese wontons, cheese wontons, and cream cheese rangoons.

Although fried wontons date to the Tang dynasty in China, wontons weren't served in the United States until the 1930s, and at that time they were often filled with pork, not with crab and cream cheese. Crab rangoon is believed to have been created at the Polynesian-style tiki restaurant Trader Vic's in California. One account says this took place in the late 1940s and the dish was possibly known as Rangoon Crab, which means it would have been at Trader Vic's Oakland location, while other accounts say it took place in the Beverly Hills location in the mid-1950s.

One thought is that crab rangoon was created by Victor Bergeron—Trader Vic himself—who also created the mai tai, and who often adapted dishes from his travels in Southeast Asia, the South Pacific, and Hong Kong. (The name "rangoon" refers to Yangon, then known as Rangoon, the former capital city of Burma, now known as Myanmar.) Another thought is that the dish was created by Trader Vic's employee Joe Young, who worked under Bergeron. Regardless of when exactly crab rangoon got its start or who created it, it has been on Trader Vic's menu at least since 1955, and its popularity has increased over the following decades to the point that there now is a holiday devoted to it!

How to Observe National Crab Rangoon Day

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