Tomorrow marks one of the most significant days in the lunar calendar, the Lunar New Year. For many families across Australia (like mine) and around the world, many will be gathering for a home-made feast to celebrate this occasion.
I, for one, have been indulging throughout the years but have never sat back to think about why each dish made its mark on the table every lunar new year. What unravelled with a quick search was that each dish represented a symbolic, traditional and ‘edible pun’, that carried a significant wish to bring in more fortune, health or prosperity for the new year.
So, in the spirit of the festivities we’ve rounded up some lunar new year feast must-haves, the meanings behind them and how you can include Dineamic to eat your way to good luck this Lunar New Year!
FISH FOR PROSPERITY
Fish in Chinese is ‘Yú /yoo’ which also sounds like the word for ‘abundance or surplus’. A whole steamed fish with ginger and light soy sauce is generally served at the end of the New Year’s Eve meal to symbolize a wish to bring in prosperity and wealth for the coming year. Try whole white fish like barramundi or Freshwater Basa Fillets for year-round fortune.
GLUTINOUS RICE CAKES (NIAN GAO) FOR CONTINUED PROSPERITY
This one may be more foreign to some but ‘Nian Gao’ is a round cake made from eggs, glutinous rice flour, coconut milk and sugar. It plays on the phrase “nian nian gao sheng” which means “more prosperity year after year”. Gluten-free, delicious and brings in prosperity? Yes please.
SWEET RICE BALLS (TANG YUAN) FOR FAMILY TOGETHERNESS
These sweet rice balls are deliciously gummy in texture and formed by glutinous rice flour and water. Although the balls themselves can be quite plain, they are usually served with syrupy broth or filled with a bean or black sesame paste. The sweetness from it represents a sweet life and the round shape signifies family reunion. To add to this, the glutinous rice flour forms a sticky texture which resembles ‘cohesiveness’ or togetherness within the family.
FRUIT FOR WEALTH
Orange, Yellow or ‘Golden’ round fruits are also gifted or displayed on Lunar New Year. You’ll often find oranges, tangerines and grapefruits given as presents as the round shape represents fullness and the colour represents good luck.
LONGEVITY NOODLES FOR LONGEVITY
Long egg noodles are said to symbolize longevity marked by the length of the noodle. These noodles are often eaten on birthdays but are also a hit in the New Year’s feast. Remember the longer, the better so try and keep the noodles uncut when serving this dish up.
DUMPLINGS FOR WEALTH
Dumplings have been around for thousands of years, and are a traditional dish eaten on New Year’s Eve. It’s a great way to get the family together to spend time together preparing for the feast. Try hiding a coin inside one of the dumplings within the batch as a little game because whoever finds it is said to have good luck for the new year. Others also say that the more eaten, the more money you’ll make in the new year. Bring on the dumplings!
We’ve got Asian inspired dishes including:
- Soy and Ginger Glazed Salmon with Vegetable Fried Rice,
- Soy and Ginger Beef with Noodles
- Chicken Curry Laksa
- Thai Green Chicken Curry
- Pork San Choy Bow
Let us know in the comments what Asian-inspired dishes you’d like to see added to the menu!