year of the snake

Over the weekend, the Chinese marked the start of a new Lunar Year - the Year of the Snake. If you want to be specific it is actually the Year of the Water Snake as each year is accompanied by a rotating ancient element.  Apparently this year is all about waiting for the right moment to strike - a question of timing and being patient. Capture0039-3

I decided to celebrate the Chinese New Year with a group of friends. Our first consideration was the menu. We wanted to cook authentic Chinese food that was appropriate for a New Year feast. After weeks of going back and forth we finally settled on this menu:

Pork Dumplings
Dan Dan Noodles
Sichuan Steamed Whole Fish
Dry Fried Green Beans
Tea Eggs
Wrapped Sticky Rice
Fresh Fruit
Fortune Cookies

 

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The Chinese New Year is a time for family and friends to get together so the meal is normally shared family-style. Noodles are an important component of the meal - the longer the better as they symbolize longevity. A whole fish is often served as it is a symbol of prosperity and it is believed that eating it will make your wishes come true for the new year.

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Around the home in the days preceding the Chinese New Year it is customary to give your home a thorough cleaning.The idea is to sweep away the bad luck of the previous year and make room for the good luck.

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Brooms and dust pans are hidden away on New Year's Day so that the newly entered good luck cannot be swept away. Purchasing new clothing, shoes and getting a fresh haircut is also customary during this period and symbolizes a new start. Also any dead plants or chipped plates or dishes need to be replaced.

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Did any of you celebrate Chinese New Year? What did you have to eat?

A big thank you to Megan Richards who made and styled all the food and to Sian Richards (yes, they're sisters!) who took all the photographs.