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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.