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What’s cooking for Chinese New Year 2020?

1. Spring Rolls for Wealth

Spring Rolls are usually made with seasoned Pork, Chicken & Vegetable, such as Chinese Cabbage, Shiitake Mushrooms & Carrots wrapped in a thin filo-type skin, and either deep-fried, steamed or baked.

They are known as ‘Spring Rolls’, as they are traditionally eaten during the Spring Festival celebrations in Southern China, to welcome the arrival of Spring.  The rolls are supposed to symbolise little bars of gold, representing wealth and prosperity.

2. Dumplings for Prosperity

Dumplings are an extremely popular Chinese dish, particularly in Northern China, and are eaten on most special occasions, but especially during Chinese New Year.

There are many different types of fillings to choose from, but the most popular are minced pork, diced shrimp, fish, ground chicken, beef and vegetables.  They can be cooked by either boiling, steaming, frying or baking.

Chinese dumplings represent the exchange between saying goodbye to the old, and welcoming in the New Year.

They also symbolise family, as most families spend New Year's Eve together preparing them, before eating them at midnight.  Dumplings are considered to be a classic lucky food, and after eating them, they believe you will live a wealthy and prosperous life.  Some people will hide a coin in one dumpling, and whoever finds it, will receive great luck that year.

3. Noodles for Longevity of Life

Noodles are a staple in Chinese cuisine and come in all different types including long, short, dry, vegetarian, meat and many more.  For Chinese New Year, people like to eat long noodles or “longevity noodles”, which symbolise happiness and perpetuity.  Their length and un-severed preparation, are also symbolic of a person’s life.  They should not be cut, and it is customary to slurp down the noodle without chewing, so that the strands remain in one piece.  The belief is, that the longer the noodle, the longer your life will be.

4. Steamed Whole Fish for Surplus Food & Wealth

Steamed Fish is one of the most famous recipes eaten on Chinese New Year, with many people steaming a whole fish, for their celebration dinner. With the head and tail attached, this represents a positive beginning, and ending, for the months to come.  The fish can be cooked in a variety of ways, such as boiling, steaming or braising.  Eating fish symbolises a wish for a surplus of food and wealth every year.  Usually, half of the fish is eaten for New Year’s dinner, and then the second half is not consumed until the following day.  This expresses the hope, that the year will start and finish with excess, and make the future prosperous.

5. Whole Chicken for Unity & Togetherness

Serving a whole chicken is very typical during Chinese New Year.  Not only because a chicken is enough to feed an entire family, but it represents togetherness, and symbolises wholeness and prosperity.  The chicken is boiled or steamed, with the head and feet still attached, as this signifies unity, and a good alliance between families.

6. Nian Gao for a better future

Nian Gao (sometimes translated as year cake or New Year's cake), is a sweet rice cake, and although available all year round, they are a popular dessert eaten during Chinese New Year. The cakes are either made of sticky glutinous rice flour, or yellow rice.

Nian Gao in Chinese, sounds like 'year high', which represents a higher income, a higher position, the growth of children, and the promise that each year will further improve.

7. Oranges & Tangerines

During Chinese New Year, it is common for fruits such as Tangerines and Oranges, to be eaten, and also displayed, as decorations.  Chinese people often give them as gifts, to bring good luck and happiness throughout the year, with the golden colour being a symbol of fullness and wealth.

The association also comes from the similarity between the Chinese words for Tangerine and Orange, which sound the same as the word success in Chinese.

Eating meals together as a family, is still a tradition that is very much alive in Chinese culture. Chopsticks are used, and symbolise a simple, but powerful, representation of family togetherness. Chinese New Year is so important, that everyone must return to the family home, to celebrate and feast together. If any member is unable to attend, then their family will leave an empty place at the table, and lay out spare eating utensils.

We supply a series of multi-purpose chopsticks, suitable for serving a wide variety of Asian cuisines. Our TOONA Chopsticks are designed to be beautifully balanced & light – view the full range here.

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