新年快乐! Wishing you a Happy Chinese New Year!
Chinese New Year is coming up and with that I'm going to share with you my favourite CNY recipes to welcome in the year of the pig, which also happens to be my Chinese zodiac too.
I'm not Chinese... nor are my ancestors (to my knowledge) but my mum lived in Hong Kong for 8 years during the '80's while she worked as a nanny. From a young age she told me of the things she would eat while she was there and throughout my life, taught me some authentic Chinese recipes that she was taught by the chef of her household at the time.
When I was 12, over a decade ago now, we visited Hong Kong as a family. Despite only having a 'stop-over' in Honk Kong on our way to the Philippines for 3 days, we tried to make the very most of our trip, jam packing as many activities and experiencing as much as possible. We boarded the boats at Kowloon Bay. We stood beyond the clouds (which, to be honest, was mostly smog) at Victoria Peak and walked up endless stairs to pay our respects to the Tian Tan Buddha. I mastered (well tried to master) using chopsticks at the food courts darted here, there and everywhere and eat things as a child I probably would've refused. Pig's ear, Duck Feet or Shark Fin Soup Anyone?
Having been brought up in a completely western environment, it was an incredibly touching experience dipping my toe into Chinese culture, which I have since heavily appreciated and used as influence on my cooking. I definitely plan on going back to China!
A simple explanation into Foods and their Meanings:
Similar to that of Filipino tradition during public holidays (Such as New Year's Eve / Day) it's a custom to participate in other traditional activities and delve into as many of the symbolic foods offered to receive their blessings throughout the year. Each food has a different meaning.
I have summarised some of the key foods you'll find at a Chinese New Year spread:
Spring Rolls - Wealth and Good fortune
Dumplings - "Out with the old and in with the New"
Noodles - providing they're unbroken before cooking, they promote Longevity. (with Noodles you can add the following, with their meanings: Eggs: Fertility and a healthy family Lobster: Wealth Shrimp: Good Fortune Roasted Pork: Peace Duck: Loyalty Tofu: Happiness and fortune)
Steamed Fish: Prosperity and Wealth
Steamed Chicken: Family and Togetherness
Seaweed: Wealth and Good fortunev
Lotus seeds: Fertility and a healthy family
Bamboo shoots: Longevity, as well as "Onwards and Upwards"
Leek/chives: Long and Everlasting Spirit
Mushrooms: Blessings and fortune
Sweets and Fruits:
Melon: (Honey Dew or Cantaloupe) Family and Hope.
Grapefruit / Apricots & Oranges: Wealth and Prosperity
Flower Petals: Noble and Precious
Rice Cakes "Nain Gao": Success
Sweet Rice Balls: Family & Togetherness
This year, 2019, is the year of the pig. Which also happens to be the same as the year I was born, which totally makes sense because I eat like one! Here's hoping that 2019 brings me lots of blessings! To celebrate, I created a spread of Chinese Culinary delights to bring in the New Lunar Year.
My Spread included the following: Vegetable Spring Rolls
Prawn and Chive Dumplings
Peking Roast Duck Leg (1/4 Duck)
Long Xu "Long Life" Noodles (Click for Recipe)
Garlic and Chilli Wok Fried Vegetables
Oven-Steamed Seabass with Soy Sauce, Ginger and Spring Onions (Click for Recipe) I hope that this blog inspires you to celebrate Chinese New Year!