Chinese New Year is the biggest event in China and some Asian countries. This year it will fall on 1st February and usually it ends on the Lantern Festival, two weeks after CNY. This year the calendar aligns with the tiger zodiac of the water element which signifies strength. Like any holiday, Chinese New Year has many traditions such as dragon dances and fireworks displays as well as the food.
Here are the 5 foods that are associated with Chinese New Year and its meaning. If you were curious about our selections of numbers. That is because in Chinese culture, the number 5 is closely related to Wu Xing. Wu Xing is a five element natural phenomenon; metal, wood, water, fire and earth. The number 5 is also a popular number because it is the middle number (1-5-9).
1. Longevity Noodle
Long Life Noodles (yī miàn, 伊面) or yi mein, symbolize longevity and can always be found on the banquet table at Chinese celebrations. In Chinese tradition, it is forbidden to cook and serve cut noodles because it's the symbol of having a long life. Beliefs say if the noodle is cut then it will shorten one's life.
Also, you can keep reading because we will share some tips and recipes to make a great fried noodle to celebrate your CNY.
Chinese new year oftenly brings us home, sharing foods and for the main course fish is commonly served. That is because the pronunciation for fish and abundance is the same in Mandarin. Steamed fish with simple sauce on the side, usually sweet and sour or soy sauce is a regular dish on the Lunar New Year in Indonesia.
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3. Year Cake
This year cake, in Chinese nian gao, has the same pronunciation as higher year, which is what makes this dessert believes to bring luck. In Indonesia it's known as basket cake. This cake, which has a texture similar to dodol. The sticky rice flour cake was originally used as an offering during ritual ceremonies but now, it’s eaten on the first day of the year to bring better health, wealth and happiness.
Courtesy of Jensen Hoi / Hong Kong Tatler
4. Tray of Togetherness
Usually the sweets are packaged in a container called the tray of togetherness. It is filled with sweets and nuts, which symbolize certain wishes. Such as, melon symbolizes development and health, longan symbolizes many children, Lotus seeds for fertility and peanuts for longevity. This tray can be find in guest and living room where it’s able to be shared with everyone.
5. Citrus Fruits
If you want to bring a gift during Chinese New Year, you can never get wrong with oranges, kumquats, tangerines and pomelos. Citrus fruits are believed to bring good luck and happiness. The Chinese words for “orange” and “tangerine” closely resemble the words for “luck” and “wealth as the colour of these fruits, gold coloured symbolizes prosperity.
As a promise here is a little tips and tricks to levelled up your yi mein :
- Cook the noodle in batches to avoid cutting the noodles
- Soften the noodle before cooking by putting it on a warm bath
- Add carrot for colour
- Add cabbage and white radish for crunch and freshness
- Sprinkle Balinese Long Pepper salt to add a sweet yet spicy aroma
- If you are a chili fan use small green chili to take the spicy meter up