Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year!

Provided by: Martin Newman – casinotop10.net (How appropriate since it’s Chinese New Year when everything is about $$$)

Gong Hay Fat Choy! Sun Lien Fai Lok! Gong Xi Fa Cai! Xin Nian Kuai Le!

The day has finally come, but the Chinese dinners should have started last night! If you missed out, there are still 15 days to go! It’s not as long as the celebrations for an Indian wedding, but the Chinese can still party half as hard! Hey there’s tea involved, not alcohol. Don’t judge… or did I just do that for you?

Anyways I’ve been gearing Chinese New Year up since Friday with a post on Chinese New Year Menus (which are still available at some places), followed by a post on Continental and Kirin. After all that talk about Chinese food I’m going to talk more about Chinese food, except this time it’s specific to the New Year.

If you don’t eat these things you’ll be poor and unsuccessful and have bad se… whoa! Ha! Just kidding, this is a Chinese post, you don’t make mention of that ever. The poor and unsuccessful thing is actually more true, but it’s all based on superstition so you can believe as much or as little as you want to. All jokes aside, Chinese New Year food is very symbolic and it’s part of the celebration to eat these things amongst family and friends.

Note: The following are only some of the foods, but there are a lot more! I listed them in order of “foodie beginners” to “foodie experts” … beginners first.

Follow Me Foodie to Chinese New Year Food!

Mini Honey Mandarins

Credit: flickr.com/photos/garysoup | CC BY 2.0

Yes! Come to mama! I love these things! No! They’re not the “Cuties” or regular mandarins, but they’re the little mini honey mandarins that are the size of golf balls. I’ve literally had a mini box for breakfast for the last 2 days and that’s about 30 mini mandarins. They’re so tiny though and 30 of them is about 3 oranges… whoa… okay never mind, that’s actually quite a bit for breakfast. Building up my immune system!

The mandarins translate to “gold” in Chinese so you’re supposed to eat them during the New Year. You’ll be rich. It doesn’t have to be these mini honey mandarins, and it can be any mandarins or even oranges, but they all translate to “baller”.

Sesame Ball Cookies

These are Laughing Sesame Ball Cookies which are deep fried sesame crusted cookies. It’s supposed to symbolize a laughing head… eat them and you’ll start to giggle! The sesame seeds (or any seed) also represent having lots of children, so don’t blame me if you happen to get pregnant or start popping out babies after eating one.

Chinese Cakes and Puddings

I’m warming up to the more “exotic” stuff. This is a Taro Cake and I mentioned the Turnip/Radish Cakes in my post on Chinese New Year Menus. To repeat myself, both are savoury cakes and the Radish/Turnip Cakes (different names, same thing) are definitely available all year. There’s also a traditional sweet brown sugar rice cake called “Nian Gao” and these cakes symbolize a sweet year and growth… growth in prosperity, success, and height… although the last is wishful thinking. Just kidding, but cake or pudding in Chinese is “Gao” which means height or raising higher. You can try these all or even buy them at almost any dim sum restaurant or purchase them at Saint Germain Bakery.

Whole Chicken

Not exactly exotic, but serving it whole may be different. The whole chicken should be presented with the head and tail and it symbolizes the coming together of families and completeness. In Vancouver they don’t always serve the head and tail anymore because people don’t really eat it as much as they would in Asia. Yes, people do eat the tail, but not everyone can make it well. This is The Jade Smoked Grandpa Chicken, one of the Jade Seafood Restaurant’s award winning dishes and most famous items.

Abalone

Abalone (sea snail) symbolizes good fortune, wealth and prosperity… and if you’re eating it, you likely have all of the above. The one you see above is a Braised Whole Fresh Australian Abalone (Medium) and it goes for $34.99 each at The Jade Seafood. There are lots of different qualities for abalone and some can taste like mushrooms while the more expensive kinds can taste like clams. 

Braised Dried Oyster, Pork Tongue & Black Moss

See I told you I was warming you up. I know. It doesn’t look good and it sounds pretty exotic and adventurous. But if you’re a “real foodie” you should at least give it a try. If ordering it at a restaurant is intimidating then just order it to go and dissect it at home.

For those familiar with this dish, you’re likely drooling at your screen. This is an expensive dish and it’s full of Chinese delicacies. It comes with a price tag, but if you want quality, you got to pay for it and the portion is enough for 10.

This is the mother of all dishes when it comes to symbolism because it has some of everything. The braised dried oyster is a Chinese delicacy and they represent wealth. The Chinese Shiitake mushroom and Abalone sauce also represent wealth and the black moss also represents wealth. It all has to do with money, which I think is no surprise anymore. The reason for the pork tongue (which can also be pork hock or pigs hand/feet) is the idea of giving money to the hands of people. Super creepy thought, but it’s true!

This photo is the Braised Dried Oyster, Pork Tongue & Black Moss from Kirin and another one is the Dried Oyster with Fat Choy from Fisherman’s Terrace at Aberdeen Centre in Richmond.

11 Comments

  • Mimi says:

    Gong Hey Fat Choy!!!! Happy New Year for the Dragon year.

  • Jean s says:

    Great post! So educational 🙂

  • Bow says:

    Yes, I see the dried oyster, pork tongue and black moss…very symbolic but not necessary wonderfully tasty ; required New’s Year Feast item. Personally, I’d rather eat the symbolic steamed fish. Love taro and turnip cake. The whole chicken with the head used to be on all tables and the head was pointed at the guest of honour or the head of the family. Trust me, it wasn’t that great eating…How many feasts are you gonna partake, Mijune ? 3 or 4 ?

  • Mimi says:

    wh!……….wh!……gooooooood!

  • Mijune says:

    @Mimi – hahah thanks MOM!

    @Bow – 3? 4? What am I a beginner? 5 planned and that I know of… at the moment 😉 Thanks for your comments bow! Love the extra info!

  • Mijune says:

    @Jean s – really?!? YAY!!!!

  • Philip says:

    are you sure thats a whole chicken, b/c it seems to be missing half its body lol 😉 just playing

  • LotusRapper says:

    Laughing sesame balls, one of my Achilles Heels …. I could down a whole box without blinking, then retreat into caloric remorse for the whole day !

    What happened to the *rest* of that whole chicken ??

  • Linda says:

    mmmm hope you had a happy chinese new year filled with yummy food 🙂

  • Vincent N says:

    I totally love black moss. While I know for some people the texture may not be their thing, I find it’s almost comforting to have it on New Year’s. I think I actually swore under my breath at my CNYE dinner because when the dish came around all of it was gone. I looked at my cousin with the WTF expression of , “Where’s my portion.”

    A very fun post to read. Probably because I’m Chinese. Happy New Year!

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