Are you ready for Chinese New Year? It’s less than two weeks away, and we certainly are. Chinese New Year is a time for reuniting with family, setting ourselves up for a year of good fortune and prosperity ahead, and eating some delicious food. We at Mi BOWL can hardly wait! In this blog, we’ll remind you of the dishes and food that are typically eaten during the new year and discuss their significance. It's important to note that every family celebrates Chinese New Year in their own way, and depending on the cultural traditions of where their generations past are from. Some dishes we'll discuss below are more popular in some regions while not particularly associated with Chinese New Year in other regions. While it's not the topic of this blog, we encourage you to take the time to understand where the dishes originate. Planning a Chinese New Year Dinner? Be sure to make sure some of these dishes are at your table!
No Chinese New Year feast is complete without the presence of dumplings. Symbolizing wealth and prosperity due to their resemblance to ancient Chinese gold and silver ingots, these delectable pockets of joy are often filled with a mixture of minced meat, vegetables, and savoury spices. Families gather to prepare and share dumplings, fostering a sense of togetherness and unity. In our next blog we’ll talk about the regional variations in dumplings - stay tuned!
A crispy delight that signifies wealth and prosperity, spring rolls are a popular Lunar New Year treat. The golden, cylindrical rolls are often filled with a mixture of shredded vegetables, vermicelli, and sometimes minced meat before being deep-fried to those perfectly golden crispy rolls. Their shape and colour symbolize gold bars, making them a favourite during the festive season.
New Year Cake (Sticky Rice Cake)
Sticky rice cake is a must-have during Lunar New Year celebrations. The pronunciation in Chinese languages is "Nian Gao," which phonetically is similar to "higher year," signifying the promise of growth, progress, and the attainment of new heights in the coming year. This sweet and chewy delicacy is often enjoyed pan-fried, symbolizing a prosperous and well-rounded year.
In Chinese culture, fish (Yu) is associated with surplus and abundance. The phrase "Nian Nian You Yu" translates to "May you have abundance year after year," and it's customary to serve a whole fish during the New Year's feast. The word for fish, "Yu," sounds like the word for surplus, making it a symbol of prosperity and wealth.
Tangerines and Oranges
Tangerines and oranges are exchanged during Chinese New Year because their names sound like "luck" and "wealth." The vibrant color also symbolizes good fortune and happiness.
Longevity noodles represent a wish for a long and healthy life. The length of the noodles is important, and they are not cut to symbolize longevity.
Eight-Treasure Rice is a traditional dish with a mix of eight different ingredients, symbolizing wealth and abundance. The number eight is considered lucky in Chinese culture.
The large and round shape of the pomelo symbolizes family unity and completeness. It is often eaten to bring good luck and prosperity.
Red is a colour associated with good luck and happiness in Chinese culture. Many Chinese New Year dishes, such as red-cooked pork and red rice, are prepared to bring good fortune.
Sweet Rice Balls
Sweet rice balls, often served during the Lantern Festival (which marks the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations), symbolize family unity and completeness.
As the Year of the Wood Dragon approaches, we hope this journey through the symbolic foods of Chinese New Year adds an extra layer of joy to your celebrations. These auspicious foods play a significant role in Chinese New Year celebrations, not just for their flavors but also for the positive symbolism they bring to the festivities. Families often gather to share these special dishes and wish each other a prosperous and joyous new year. May your tables be filled with delicious dishes, your homes be filled with laughter, and your hearts be filled with prosperity.
Happy Lunar New Year from all of us at Mi BOWL Meal!