Chinese new year is one of the biggest event in whole year, people will go back their hometown and start to enjoy their New Year’s Eve dinner with their families. At the same time, they will also share their entire year experience together. All family usually prepare some new year food for their family dinner. So let’s take a look what they are.
1. Chicken (鸡）
The chicken should be served whole with the head and the feet still attached. This connotes unity and a good marriage between families. A common cooking method: Marinate the chicken and then air-dry it for about three hours until the skin is like paper. Flash-fry it and then coat it with spices. The same method can be applied to ducks as well.
2. Fruit （水果）
Mandarin oranges are a common fruit during the New Year. The word in Chinese for oranges, ju ? in the Teochew dialect, is a homophone for ji ?, the word for auspicious or lucky. Pomelos are another favorite. The Chinese word for pomelo, you zhi 柚子 sounds like the word for “to have” in Chinese, which is you ?. Citrus fruits are in abundance in Asian grocery stores during this time of the year. Try 99 Ranch. They also carry exotic selections like durian, dragon fruit and jack fruit.
Families traditionally spend New Year’s Eve preparing the dumplings and will eat them at midnight. It’s a custom that dates back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The dumpling is shaped like an ingot, which personifies wealth. The saying associated with dumpings, or jiao zhi 饺子, is “gen shui jiao zhi” , or “ring out the old year and ring in the new.” Legend has it that the more dumplings you eat during New Year celebration, the more money you can make in the upcoming cycle.
The saying that goes with the Chinese New Year fish dish is “nian nian you yu” ????, which means “may the year bring prosperity.” The character for prosperity, yu 鱼 is a homophone for the word for fish, yu . Families buy a whole fish, which symbolizes unity, and it is typically steamed with ginger and a light soy sauce. It’s also important to leave leftovers for the next day because this signifies that the prosperity will overflow. Whole fish is usually a norm in Chinese restaurants.
The tradition of eating rice cake goes back 3,000 years. The Chinese word for rice cake, or nian gao 年糕, correlates to the phrase “nian nian gao sheng ????,” which means “increasing prosperity year after year.” Eating rice cakes also celebrates the beginning of the rice harvest in the spring. These cakes come in both savory and sweet variations.
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