Kung hei fat choi [moved from Boston board]
In my last post, i found out that chicken stuffed with glutinous (sweet) rice was Chinese New year fare. what other chinese dish can be considered a must-have for Chinese New Year. I know of Nian Gao has to be in the dining table, (is it available in the chinatown groceries yet?) I heard Steamed Fish is a must also.
Please tell us your ideal or real chinese new year food selections.
You need lots of things.
As you've mentioned, fish is a must. It's supposed to be good luck. Most people generally have a dish of each type of meat, beef, pork, chicken, duck.
Nian gao is also a traditional dish, and so are "tang yuan" for dessert sometimes.
At our house, dumplings are a must. When I was little, all of the kids would try and find the one dumpling that was made with sugar. Finding and eating it was supposed to bring good luck in the new year.
And no Chinese New Year passes without a long night of mah jiang.
Sweet trays.... candied lotus seeds, winter melon, lotus root. melon seeds.
We have jai ( veg dish that includes fat choy, dried oysters and lettuce...all of these ingredients sound like something good in chinese) for the new years day dinner. But the family dinner on new years eve we always have a whole fish and a whole chicken...don't know why.
It never occurred to me that rice-stuffed chicken had New Year's connotations, other than it's a good banquet dish. (We are wont to order it year-round in San Fancisco).
I think the traditional musts are jiaozi in the north, sweet nian gao in the south, and tang yuan everywhere. At our house, celebrating Spring Festival demands the Shanghainese specialty soup "yan du xian" and sometimes Wuxi New Year's Soup, which contains a whole poached egg in each serving. My wife makes yuanzi anytime between New Year's day and the Lantern Festival.
I think all has been mentioned - uncut noodles in some fashion for good luck. And a chicken dish for sure. I know that's a must in Taiwan - believe Chicken in Taiwanese rhymes (or is a homophone with another character) for something like good luck. No mah jhong though! Still hoping I am not to old for a hong bao!
We also have those fried dough cookies. Its shaped into little round balls and cylinder shapes.
"Lai see tong" Red envelope candy can be purchased in chinatown.
A big yellow pomelo! It looks like a big grapefruit. In chinese it sounds like "to have".
Chinese new year turnip cake.
'Yu' Fish in chinese also sounds like "surplus" in chinese.
Everything must have a head and a tail. Its for a good beginning and a good ending for the year.
My toisan grandmother used to make 'Hom shui Gok' and 'Jeen Doi'. I miss those the most.
We would never visit a home without a bag of oranges and sweets.
What a nice post--brings back wonderful memories of my parents, both of whom are no longer here. We always had oranges, pomelos and various sweets on the table, the latter to symbolize a sweet life. And, for the longest time, we had those "White Rabbit" candies. And, as others mentioned, fish, long-life noodles, and fat choy, which I loved, loved, loved. Long-grain rice for a long life. Lily buds, aka golden needles, to symbolize gold.
And no crying, sweeping, taking out the trash or washing one's hair on New Year's so you won't sweep/trash/wash away all your luck!
A wonderful New Year to all.
Half moon shaped sweet dumplings filled with ground peanuts, sweetened flaked coconut, brown sugar, and sesame seeds. You have the get the right wrappers to get the nice crispy texture when fried, plus the brown sugar melts onto the wrapper on the inside. Gok doi in cantonese.