Party for the upcoming Lunar New Year

Chinese New Year is just around the corner!

While it’s the year of the rabbit, let’s avoid that creepy fatal attraction moment (80s kids will remember that movie where a major scene involved a rabbit’s fatal fate as the victim of a woman’s fatal attraction to a married man ). And let’s not have rabbit stew on the menu (apologies to rabbit lovers), so we can see the new year in love, happiness and prosperity!

Here are eight traditional Lunar New Year dishes you might want to consider for your January 22 menu:

1. Nian gao

This is also known as a Chinese New Year cake and is made with glutinous rice flour. Although also traditionally eaten during the Duanwu Festival, this is one of the most popular delicacies for Chinese New Year, as it sounds like “top year” or “grows every year”, which translates to “a prosperous year”. The character for nian literally translates to “year” and the character for gāo literally translates to “cake” and has an identical sound to the character meaning “high” or “high”.

Nian gao also has the exact namesake “sticky cake” and there is a legend that a sticky sweet snack was offered to the kitchen god so that his lips would be sealed and he could not speak ill of any human before the Jade Emperor. .

2. Round delicacies, especially sweet rice balls.

Round rice balls are a staple of Chinese celebrations because their round shape is associated with family gatherings and being together.

3. Noodles

Noodles are associated with longevity and are therefore also a staple in Chinese celebrations.

Eat as many meatballs as you can;  (left) Gold-leafed dumplings for wealth at Crystal Dragon

LUCK IS DELICIOUS Eat as many meatballs as you can; (left) Gold Leaf Dumplings for Wealth at Crystal Dragon —Margaux Salcedo

4. Meatballs

Although they are present in practically all Chinese meals, they are a must for Chinese New Year as a symbol of wealth. There is also a legend that the more dumplings you eat during the Chinese New Year celebrations, the more money you will earn next year! So go to that siomai eating contest and grab those xiao long baos!

However, you need to make sure that you do not use sauerkraut, which symbolizes a poor and difficult future. Also, don’t arrange the meatballs in circles; instead, place the dumplings in lines to symbolize direction in life.

Also, memorize this line, which you will recite before eating the dumplings, “Zhao cai jin bao,” which means “bring wealth and treasure!”

5. Spring rolls

They also represent wealth as they look like a block of gold, and while eating it, you will say the phrase “a ton of gold” to manifest prosperity.

6. Steamed chicken

This should be cooked whole because a whole chicken is a symbol of the family. Once cooked, the chicken is traditionally offered to the ancestors while those who come to dine ask for a blessing.

Steamed Duo Flavored Live Grouper with Tofu at Crystal Dragon

GOOD OMEN Live Grouper Flavored Steamed Duo with Tofu at Crystal Dragon —Photo Contributed

7. Fish

It is a very traditional Chinese New Year dish because it is considered a good omen and will bring more money or ‘surplus’ or abundance in the new year. This is usually steamed and the type that is recommended is catfish.

Here are some things to remember when serving fish. First, the head should be placed towards the distinguished or elderly guests. Secondly, the guests can enjoy the fish only after the one in front of the fish head has eaten first. Thirdly, the fish should not be moved, even when the meat is cut from the bones. Fourth, the fish should be the last dish left on the table and there should be some leftovers. And finally, when you eat the fish, you say: “May you always have more than you need!”

7. Fa gao

This is a fortune cake or prosperity cake that is steamed and looks like a muffin or cupcake. This is especially enjoyed during Chinese New Year because the name sounds like “expanding cake”, so it is interpreted as “prosperity cake”. “Fa” means both “prosperity” and “expansion,” while gao means “cake.” It is made with soaked rice ground into a paste and then steamed. It represents prosperity.

Fill your table with round fruits and vegetables to welcome the new lunar year

INVITES PROSPERITY Fill your table with round fruits and vegetables to welcome the Lunar New Year —NIÑO JESÚS ORBETA

8. Fruits and vegetables

You must fill your table with round fruits. Some vegetables that are also appreciated during Chinese New Year are bamboo shoots, as they represent longevity; mushrooms, which represent blessings and fortune; melon and grapefruit, which represent the family; and algae, which represent wealth and fortune.

Of course, these are cultural traditions. I have learned that ‘luck’ is actually grace and it comes as a blessing from the Divine Master. What others call attracting luck by manifesting is actually grace through prayer.

So ultimately, for prosperity, the key is to pray! The Lord has been known to respond by delivering an abundance that is far beyond anything you have ever imagined. And you will jump, jump, jump with happiness and prosperity not only in the Year of the Rabbit, but always!

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