Also known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is an important festival celebrated in Chinese culture that celebrates the turn of the traditional Chinese calendar. The first day of the new year falls on the new moon that occurs between January 21 and February 20. This holiday has ancient roots, and is celebrated in countries around the world, such as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, and more! Customs and traditions include a cleanse of the house to “sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for good incoming luck,” firework displays, paper decorations, giving money in red paper envelopes, and the annual reunion dinner that takes place the evening preceding New Year’s Day (source).
“Most of the dishes served during the new year celebration are symbolic of something positive and hopeful:
- Chicken and fish, for example, symbolize happiness and prosperity – especially when served whole.
- Dishes made with oranges represent wealth and good fortune because they are China’s most plentiful fruit.
- Noodles represent longevity; therefore, they should never be cut!
- Duck symbolizes fidelity, while eggs signify fertility.
- Bean curd or tofu, however, is avoided because its white color suggests death and misfortune.”
This year, as the Chinese welcome in the year of the Monkey, try some of these recipes at home that are bound to bring you (or at least your taste buds!) good luck.
This Kung Pao Chicken
via Serious Eats
combines red and green bell peppers, celery, garlic, ginger, scallions, peanuts, and chicken thighs to create one of the most widely-known Chinese dishes. It involves a little work, but it’s well worth it!
Try this Crispy Orange Beef
recipe from Fifteen Spatulas
that rivals any Chinese restaurant. The chicken is fried on the stove and then coated in a delicious sauce made from ingredients like ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes.
As a vegetarian option, we love these Hakka Noodles in Peanut Sauce
from About Food
. The tasty sauce is made with healthy ingredients like two different types of soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, and roasted peanuts. Remember – don’t cut the noodles!
shows you how to make Peking Duck
at home, from scratch. Making Peking Duck is a complex process, but it will definitely pay off, as some restaurants don’t even offer this amazing dish!
And of course, this list would not be complete without dumplings! This Pork Dumpling
recipe via All Recipes
is an almost-foolproof way to make dumplings at home.
Even if you don’t normally celebrate Chinese New Year, it’s always fun to explore new cultures, traditions, and FOOD! Happy cooking!