Tasting the Year of the HorsePosted By | Posted On Feb 02, 2014
For the Chinese, the Lunar New Year is about getting rid of last year’s negative baggage and making the coming year as auspicious as possible. The house is cleaned from top to bottom; debts are repaid, and rifts in relationships are patched up. Prancing Lions visit the Chinatown shops to scare away evil spirits, and replace them with good fortune.
And, as is the case with any Chinese celebration, good fortune can be summoned by good food! There are certain foods associated with the Lunar New Year that are particularly lucky. Here are some of the most common:
Oranges, Mandarins or Tangerines are often placed around the home, and given away as gifts. These citrus fruits are sweet, and gold, and their names in Chinese sound like the words for “gold” and “luck”. Peaches represent longevity and Pomelos, a large citrus fruit that looks like a giant grapefruit is particularly lucky in that the Chinese name for it sounds like the word “have”.
Noodles are associated with long life- the longer the noodle the better. Breaking or cutting the noodles is something to be avoided.
A whole roast chicken, represents unity of the family. Clams symbolize gold bouillon, and the word for oyster sounds like the words, “good business”.
Fish is always part of the Reunion Dinner held at the home of the oldest patriarch of the family on New Year’s Eve. The word for fish sounds like the word for “surplus”. Fish should be served whole, and is never eaten in its entirety. Some is saved until after the New Year to ensure surpluses in the year ahead.
Since Chinese food is extremely regional in character, each region has it own customs relating to Lunar New Year foods. In Northern China Jiaozi or “Peking Ravioli” are said to resemble gold ingots. They are boiled and eaten on New Year’s Eve. Into some of the dumplings, a coin will be inserted by the cook, and whoever gets that dumpling will have a prosperous year.
To learn much much more about the culinary traditions surrounding this greatest of all Chinese celebrations, join us on Sunday, February 9th as we take to the restaurants, shops and streets of Chinatown on our 3rd Annual Lunar New Year Tour.
For tickets and information call our Boston Food Tours Office at: 617-523-6032.
Conformation and meeting information will be sent upon booking.
Gong Hay Fat Choy!
written by Jim Becker/Chinatown Guide