Exclusive Interviews

Wendy Wu Tours: What to eat during Chinese New Year!

We’ve got a real treat for you today. To celebrate Chinese New Year, we’re lucky enough to be able to bring you an exclusive from Wendy Wu Tours, who certainly know their stuff when it comes to all things China.

Let’s see what they have to say about one of the most important aspects of Chinese New Year: the food! If this post inspires you, Wendy Wu offer some easy and authentic Chinese recipes to try at home and you can take a look at them on their website.

Dumplings: a real sign of money

Dumplings are an important part of Chinese cuisine. They are prepared and eaten because their shape represents a yuanbao, an ancient form of money. At Chinese New Year, a coin will be hidden in one of the dumplings and it’s a sign of wealth and good luck for the person who finds it.

Tuck into some prosperous fish

Fish is often eaten at this time of year in China. The character for fish (yu) is pronounced the same as the character for ‘surplus’, so fish represents a sigh of wealth. Eating fish at this time of year symbolises a person’s desire for greater wealth in the New Year.

Celebrate with a Reunion Dinner

Friends and family gather at New Year to eat a large and lavish meal, often called a Reunion Dinner. There is plenty of meat and fish but sweet dishes are also important for wishing good tidings in the New Year. More and more people are choosing to eat a Reunion Dinner in restaurants instead of cooking themselves.

Spring rolls have become a common occurrence at Reunion Dinners. Filled with fresh vegetables and ingredients, they represent a new start to life and welcome a new spring.

Sweet rice balls (Tāngyuán) are eaten during China’s Lantern Festival, but they are also eaten in the south of the country throughout the New Year celebrations. Longevity noodles are also eaten to encourage, unsurprisingly, longevity in life. These are longer than regular noodles and are fried or boiled and served with broth.

Don’t forget your fruits

Tangerines and oranges are believed to bring good luck and fortune when eaten around the New Year. This is because of the way they are pronounced and written. The Chinese for orange is chéng, which sounds the same as the Chinese for ‘success’, while one of the ways for writing tangerine contains the Chinese character for luck.

Did you know?

• Paper ‘fu’ decorations are hung upside down during Chinese New Year. The Chinese character ‘fu’ means good luck, while the character for upside down is pronounced the same as ‘arrive’. Therefore, by turning the character ‘fu’ upside down, it means they are wishing for luck to arrive.
• The colour red represents prosperity and good luck, so is often used at this time of year. Young people sometimes receive money-filled red envelopes (hong bao) from their relatives.
• Burning money is pretty common! Chinese people will visit the graves of their ancestors to pay their respects and money is often burnt to provide them with money in the afterlife.

Categories: Exclusive Interviews

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