5 Chinese New Year Foods You Need to TryJan 21, 2023
新年快乐 Happy New Year! It's the perfect time to bring family and friends together to celebrate new beginnings. What's a Chinese New Year celebration without delicious food? We've got you covered with five Chinese New Year foods that not only taste great but are also rich in symbolism.
1️⃣ 水饺 shuǐ jiǎo 🥟
Dumplings are not only scrumptious, but they also represent wealth since they're shaped like ancient Chinese gold. That's why they symbolize wealth. Traditionally made with a pork filling, they are now filled with all kinds of ingredients, including chicken, beef, shrimp, vegetables, shiitake mushroom, and more. Don't forget to hide a small coin inside one of the dumplings - whoever finds it is believed to have good fortune for the coming year.
2️⃣ 面条 miàn tiáo 🍜
Noodles symbolize longevity in Chinese culture and are a popular food during Chinese New Year and birthdays. Long noodles represent long life, so be sure not to cut or break them before you eat them. Noodles can be served in a variety of dishes, including stir-fries, soups, and salads. Hand-pulled noodles, which are made by stretching and folding the dough repeatedly, are especially prized for their texture and flavour.
3️⃣ 鱼 yú 🐟
鱼 sounds identical to 余 "surplus. It's customary to serve a whole fish on New Year's Eve and leave it unfinished until after New Year's Day. This is to ensure that the yú (surplus or fish) will carry on into the next year. Fish is usually served whole and cooked in a variety of ways, including steaming and braising. Popular fish dishes during Chinese New Year include steamed whole fish with ginger and scallions, braised fish in brown sauce, and fish soup with Chinese cabbage and bean sprouts.
4️⃣ 橘子 jú zi 🍊
Oranges and tangerines sound similar to 吉 jí "prosperity," and their bright orange colour is said to bring good fortune. They are often displayed in a bowl or plate as a centrepiece and are also given as gifts during Chinese New Year.
5️⃣ 鸡 jī 🐓
Chicken sounds almost identical to 吉 jí "prosperity," and it's mandatory that we serve the whole chicken on New Year's Eve. A half chicken is considered "broken prosperity" and must be avoided. Chicken can be cooked in a variety of ways, including steaming, braising, and roasting. One popular chicken dish during Chinese New Year is 红烧鸡 hóng shāo jī "red cooked chicken" (braised chicken), which is made with chicken thighs that have been marinated in soy sauce, sugar, and spices, and then braised until tender and flavourful.
No matter where you are, you can enjoy these delicious Chinese New Year foods! Each dish has its own unique symbolism and meaning, which makes them all part of the rich cultural heritage of China. Whether you are celebrating Chinese New Year or simply want to appreciate foods from a Chinese cultural perspective, these dishes are an excellent place to start. Happy New Year!
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