Getting ready to welcome the Year of the Tiger and gather to feast with our loved ones. The new year would not be complete without the traditional dishes.
Here's a list of auspicious dishes that you can prepare to enjoy during Chinese New Year.
This idiom 年年有余 (níanníanyoǔyú) means “to have abundance every year.” This is why fish (鱼, yú) is served during Chinese New Year, as it has the same pronunciation as “abundance” (余, yú) in Mandarin.
It is a tradition to serve the fish whole with its head and tail intact to represent the beginning and the end. The expression means to be disciplined and finish everything you start.
The fish can be cooked in any way, as long as it is served whole.
Steamed or Boiled Chicken
Back in the olden days, it was considered a luxury to have chicken meat and will only be served during important festivals, such as Chinese New Year when the whole family comes together.
This is why eating chicken symbolises togetherness.
Shiitake Mushroom, Sea Cucumber, Abalone
Known as the three musketeers of a Chinese New Year dinner menu and often served as a braised dish that symbolizes prosperity.
Sea cucumber (海参, hǎishēn) that has the word ‘shen’ which has similar pronunciation to growth (生, shēng) represents fertility.
Prawns/shrimp (xiā, 虾) are revered as a symbol of fortune and good luck. Shrimp also signifies happiness as the Cantonese word for shrimp sounds like laughter “ha” and believed to bring happiness to the family for the whole year.
Yee Sang (Yu Sheng)
Yu (余, yú) and Sheng (生, shēng) when combined literally means ‘abundance growth’ and is the basis of this dish.
While the name of the dish is ‘yee sang’, the act of tossing it is actually ‘lou sang’. It is also believed that the higher you toss the eye sang, the greater the fortune that will fall on you.
Spring Rolls or Five Spice Meat Rolls
These rolls are often served during Chinese New Year as a symbol of luck because it resembles gold bars and inspired by the lucky Chinese saying for “a ton of gold”.
There's so much more good food waiting to be enjoyed over the holidays. Here's wishing you a good, fulfilling New Year celebration with your friends and family!