The countdown to the Chinese New Year has commenced and everyone is scurrying to get ready for the celebrations. To ring in good luck for the coming year, the Chinese believe that there are foods that also help usher in blessings into their lives. Here are some of the popular choices found in Chinese New Year feast.
Long Noodles/Longevity Noodles
Noodles is an integral part of Chinese cuisine because aside from being satiating it is also holds a significant meaning. This is an indispensible dish for special occasions like birthdays and New Years because its long and continuous form is a perfect symbolism for good health and longevity. The noodles have to be handled carefully to avoid breaking it, since the length also suggests how long your life will be. Therefore it is auspicious to have this dish as you start another year.
Sweet Rice Balls
Also known as Tangyuan, this glutinous rice dumplings in sweet soup is a traditional dish served during the Lantern Festival or the Chinese New Year. Typically, these rice balls contain sweet fillings and then boiled in water. This treat symbolizes togetherness which makes it a perfect dessert for family reunions at this time of the year.
Another staple during the Chinese New Year buffet is the turnip cake. It is made with rice flour and grated daikon radish. It is commonly eaten during this time of the year because radish in Hokkien sounds similar to “good fortune.”
Fish during the New Year also symbolizes good fortune. In Chinese, the word “fish” sounds like “surplus,” which implies abundance or prosperity. It means that because they were able to save something at the end of the year, then they can have more for the next year. There are different dishes that can be served either steamed, boiled or braised. It includes:
- Catfish – the Chinese word for Catfish sounds like “surplus,” therefore it wishes a surplus year after year.
- Crucian carp – the first character of the word ‘crucian carp’ in Chinese, sounds like the Chinese word for “good luck.”
- Chinese mud carp – The first syllable for mud carp in Chinese is pronounced like the word “gift” in the same language. For them, this symbolizes inviting good fortune.
Fish should be served whole with head and tail intact because this means a good beginning and ending for the coming year.
The shape of jiaozi dumplings is similar to that of the yuanbao ingot, so this is interpreted as something that invites money. The word “jiaozi” also has the same pronunciation with the jiao coin which is used in ancient times. This dish in a New Year’s feast also means togetherness and heavenly blessings.
Tangerines and Oranges
Circles are often regarded as a symbol of good fortune for the Chinese. This is they displaying or eating tangerines and oranges during this occasion is most fitting because they mean wealth, good fortune and gold. Tangerine in particular means luck.
Niangao (Glutinous Rice Cake)
This dish is served as a dessert and it is made from glutinous rice flour. It symbolizes an improvement for the person eating it since it is supposed to help that person rise in the social ladder. It Chinese, the word nian gao is a homonym for “higher year.”
Tray of togetherness
It is customary to have the tray of togetherness every New Year. This spread consists of snacks like candied melons (growth and health), kumquats (gold and prosperity), dried coconut (unity and friendship), longan (for many male offsprings), and lotus seeds (prosperity). This tray should have eight compartments which is the Chinese number for good luck.
For those who are gunning for good business, dried oysters are deemed to be a perfect dish because its Cantonese word sounds like thriving business.
The word for lettuce in Chinese sounds like rising fortune. The lettuce is filled with your meat of choice before it is rolled, and then steamed. This dish represents prosperity or rising fortune. It is also a representation of conception, which can be a significant for those who wish to have children.
This is a very popular and well-loved dim sum dish which is made of meat rolled in a thin rice or flour paper, and then fried until golden. The golden color represent gold bars which symbolize wealth. Spring rolls are best enjoyed with dips and sauces, or you can simply eat it alone since the meat inside is flavourful as it will be well-seasoned.
Mustard greens or long leafy greens
This is not only a refreshing diversion from the meaty dishes, but it also symbolizes long life. They are sauteed with great care so as not to overcook them to invite longevity. The same goes for eating the entire vegetable.
Learn more about what foods to include in your Chinese New Year spread:
Welcome the New Year with a feast that invites positivity for the coming year, and what better way than to celebrate it with good food!
If you want the best hand-made dim sum dishes to ring in good luck for the Chinese New Year, visit Tak Po today or call us at 6225 0302 to avoid the long lines!
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