Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, is a time to welcome longevity, wealth and prosperity into the upcoming year and to eliminate negativity from the past year. It welcomes spring from the winter, and is a time filled with celebration. That, of course, includes food!
It’s the Year of the Dragon
The most important holiday of the year in China, 2012 is the Year of the Dragon, which symbolizes power, honor, respect, passion and confidence. It’s also the only mythical creature in the Chinese Zodiac. As with most holidays, the Chinese New Year is filled with tradition, symbolism and family festivities.
A Celebration of Food, Flavors & Fun
People clean their houses before the New Year to help eliminate any bad luck and to get ready for the year ahead. Red, orange and gold decorations and banners are hung to wish people good fortune and happiness, and different types of food are served with special meanings associated with them:
- Fish and chicken represent prosperity
- Noodles represent longevity (and shouldn’t be cut or broken)
- Dumplings represent treasure packets (that taste delicious!)
- Oranges and Chinese New Year Sticky Rice Cake (which symbolizes growing taller and achieving more each year) are served for dessert
Celebrate the Chinese New Year!
Take this time to celebrate a holiday you may not have otherwise. Gather with friends and family to feast on the food of the season! It’s a great way to spend time together and welcome in new beginnings. Here are some great recipes to make for the festivities:
Pork Dumplings from AllRecipes
100 (3.5 inch square) wonton wrappers
1 3/4 pounds ground pork
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion
4 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 egg, beaten
5 cups finely shredded Chinese cabbage
Use a large bowl to combine the pork, ginger, garlic, green onion, soy sauce, sesame oil, egg and cabbage. Mix all ingredients together thoroughly.
Onto each wanton skin, add 1 large teaspoonful of the filling. Use water to make the edges of the wanton moist and fold them into a triangular shape. Lightly press and roll the edges to seal them. Set aside the dumplings on a lightly floured surface until you’re ready to cook them.
Steam the dumplings in a covered bamboo or metal steamer for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
Long Life Noodles from The New York Post
This meatless recipe is a traditional dish served for many types of celebrations. It’s easy to add different vegetable – or even meat – to this dish. Follow the basics of the recipe, then go with what you like for a fabulous celebration of life and food.
Peking Duck from Martha Stewart
A symbol of loyalty and faithfulness, Peking duck is a dish for the well wishes of the season. Serve this meal with some steamed vegetables or a green salad to balance the richness of the dish.
New Year’s Cake (Neen Gow) from Epicurious
What celebration is complete without a fabulous dessert to indulge in? While this recipe might be something a bit out-of-the-ordinary for you to make, it will be worth it, and it’s an important part of the Chinese New Year celebration.