The smell of Mandarin oranges, songs blasting through shopping malls, red, red and more red everywhere – it can only mean one thing: Chinese New Year is around the corner! And just like every other festival in Malaysia, Chinese New Year too is celebrated by all, visiting one another at open houses and yes, eating delicious food.
It’s more than just enjoying special Chinese New Year delicacies; according to Chinese culture, you have to eat specific food during the festival to bring prosperity and good luck for you and your loved ones.
So what do you need to chow down on? Let’s get down to it!
We’re talking about a whole fish here. Also known as dayu darou or ‘big fish’, this signifies abundance and family unity. The fish is usually steamed and served with sweet and sour or soy sauce on the side. Plus, the Chinese word for fish (yu) sounds like the word for surplus. And this is one dish you don’t finish as leaving a little bit of fish on the plate means you’ll always have more!
Tangerine, kumquat, pomelo – the vitamin Cs of Chinese New Year. It is also vitamin C for cash! The words for tangerines and oranges sound similar to the words for wealth and luck. Also, the bright orange almost golden colour symbolises prosperity! So if someone gives you these fruits during Chinese New Year, accept them graciously as they are also giving you luck and fortune!
Prosperity cakes (Fa Gao)
The word fa means prosperity and gao meaning cake. Typically made out of sugar, yeast and flour, the traditional cake is steamed until the top splits open. The more ‘petals’ that are formed from the splitting of the cake, the luckier you’ll be! For a recipe, check this out [can you link a recipe?]
They’re Po’s favourite for a reason! The dish usually has a meat filling and is made to resemble Chinese ingots (the gold boat-shaped decoration you see). According to ancient legend, the money that you’ll be making this year depends on how many dumplings you eat. Do you really need another invitation for a dumpling?
Longevity Noodles (Changshou mian)
These noodles can stretch up to two feet long and the longer they are, the luckier you will be! Usually fried or boiled (served with broth), these noodles are uncut and symbolise happiness and longevity. Slurping is encouraged!
Spring rolls (Chunjuen)
This delicacy consists of vegetables, meat or sweets. Known as spring rolls because they’re usually eaten during the spring festival in China. They’re said to bring wealth and are also made to look like gold bars.
Glutinous Rice Cake (Nian gao)
Also known as year cake, this delicacy is usually eaten on Chinese New Year’s Eve. Previously an exclusive offering during ritual ceremonies, nian gao is now commonly eaten during the festival as it is said to bring better health, a more prosperous business, a promotion at work and happiness. Also, the word nian gao sounds just like the Chinese word for ‘higher year’.
Did we miss out anything? What’s your favourite delicacy during Chinese New Year? Tweet us at @graduan and let us know!