Chinese New Year is just around the corner and with the importance of food and its symbolisms in Chinese culture, it is not surprising that certain dishes play a major role in Chinese New Year meals.
Food that is considered lucky or offer good fortune are always part of a Chinese New Year feast. Here are some things to eat for Chinese New Year and why they are considered special and are worth trying to highlight this special annual occasion.
Nian Gao (Tikoy)
Nian Gao in Mandarin, Tikoy in Hokkien cuisine, has a special place in Chinese New Year celebrations. Sweet, sticky and round, Nian Gao symbolises a rich, sweet life and family togetherness.
It is said that this sticky rice cake is traditionally offered to the Chinese Kitchen God so that he may report only sweet things on a family’s behaviour when he returns to heaven before the start of the new year.
A staple in any Chinese feast, noodles symbolise long life. The longer the noodles, the better they are.
A classic food for Chinese New Year, dumplings are widely popular in China. Shaped like traditional Chinese silver or gold ingots, it is said that the more dumplings one eats during the New Year celebrations, the more money you can make in the new year.
Whole Steamed Fish
Lucky dishes are often associated with how they sound like. The word for fish “yu,” sounds like the Chinese words for both “wish” and “abundance,” which is why it is customary to serve fish at the end of the new Year’s meal symbolising a wish for abundance in the coming year.
For added symbolism, a fish that is served whole with the head and tail attached represents a good beginning and ending for the coming months.
Tangerines and oranges
These citrus fruits are often passed out freely during Chinese New Year as the words for tangerine and orange sound like the words for “luck” and “success.” The golden colour of these fruits also make them desirable.
Another citrus fruit that we have in Durianburg and is considered a staple in for a Chinese New Year meal is the pomelo. Golden in colour, this fruit is thought to bring continuous prosperity. The Chinese word for pomelo sounds like “to have.”
Another popular lucky fruit that is easy to find in Davao is the pineapple. This tropical fruit’s name in Hokkien and Cantronese sounds like “good luck comes” and symbolises prosperity and good fortune.
Happy eating and happy Chinese New Year!