Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Lucky Food = Perfect Chinese New Year Dish

Chinese New Year was last Monday. My family and I had fun celebrating it last weekend. Although there are a lot of traditions for celebrating it, we did not do much besides eating a lot of the traditional Chinese New Year food. Eating is one of the important things in Chinese culture, I am sure it is almost the same wither other cultures. My mother is a great cook. This is my everyday dinner looks like. 

Food we eat during New Years is considered as "food that brings luck to us." I am going to introduce five kinds of lucky food that my family eat during Chinese New Year. Each of them has its own meaning and hope.

1. Fish

During Chinese New Year, all the families HAVE to eat fish, and it has to be the WHOLE fish. It is hard to cook the whole fish at home, so we usually eat it at the restaurant. This one was SO good. (The one on the photo is from Taste of Sichuan)

The reason we eat fish is that the "fish" has the same pronunciation as the "extra" in Chinese. We believe if we eat fish in the New Year, we will have in excess of something like money and/or food for the upcoming year.

2. Dumpling

Besides a plate of fish, a bowl of warm dumplings are also a dish that must appear on the New Year's dinner table. They are not only delicious to eat, but also fun to make. Making them takes time and energy, so some people choose to buy them from the store. Take my advice, making them from scratch is more healthy and delicious than buying the frozen ones. It is so worthy for making them at home. This phrase is can be used all over the world "Nothing Better Than Home Made." 

Making dumplings requires the work of the entire family. The main purpose of celebrating new year is to spend time with the family. Cooking together is a great way to mingle with each other. Each family has their own recipe for making the filling. My mother has her own recipe as well. Although I tasted many different kinds of filling from restaurants, my mother's filling is always my favorite. Dumplings can be boiled or fried. I love both style. They are ONLY BEST to eat on the making day. Sadly, they would not taste good when they become cold, even reheating them would not carry out the same taste.

Legend tells that "the more dumplings you eat, the more money you will make in the upcoming year." The reason for that is dumplings are look like little baby gold bags. I ate WAY too much of these for the past week, so I am looking forward to making a lot of money.

3. Rice Cake

Rice cake is another "Chinese New Year Must-Have." The top one is made from sweet rice. They can be made into soups by boiling them. I like to eat them in the noodle soup. They also can be eaten like sweets by dip them into sugar or honey after they are cooked. The bottom one is made from regular rice. We usually stir fry them with meat and vegetable. All of the rice cake dishes are yummy in the tummy.

The name of rice cake in Chinese means "growing up." Growing up does not only mean the hopes for the young children will grow taller in the New Year. It can be raise in salaries, better living condition, higher grades etc. They are the luck of more successes in the upcoming year.

4. Apple

After nice dinner, lucky fruits are also necessary for dessert. Apple is the number one lucky fruit in China. Apple in Chinese sounds similar to the word "peaceful," so it symbolizes "peace." We eat apple everyday no matter during the New Year or not. We are happy that we found big apples from Costco.

5. Orange

Same as apple, orange is another lucky fruit. It is not popular as apple, but it has its own meaning. Orange in Chinese sounds like "auspicious." My family loves oranges. Not only the flavor, but also the smell. Whenever we peel the orange, its smell will fill up the entire house. Therefore, my mother likes to keep some of the orange skin and put them on the kitchen counter. I hope smell of "auspicious" will remain in the house.

I hope you will eat some of those food, and they will bring luck to you.

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