#9 2023 is the year of the water rabbit
Lunar New Year celebration is never complete without food. And food superstitions.
Dumplings, whole fish, noodles, nian gao (sticky rice cakes), golden fruits… Chinese Lunar New Year celebration is never without them. But did you know that these food are chosen for reasons other than because they are delicious?
Symbolic food on Lunar New Year - Wherever in the world the Lunar New Year is celebrated, there’s always symbolic food chosen for their appearance, characteristic or because their names are homonyms for luck, wealth, harmony, unity, longevity, prosperity… All the desirable things one can wish for one’s family.
Four ways to enjoy nian gao - We call it tikoy in the Philippines, home to the oldest Chinatown in the world. Our default method of enjoying it is to slice it, dip the slices in beaten egg and pan fry them. But we’ve since discovered that there are other ways to enjoy nian gao. Especially these days when it comes in so many flavors.
It isn’t just in China that the Lunar New Year is celebrated. It’s a special day in many parts of Asia. In Vietnam, banh tet is a lunar new year tradition. Mung beans and pork wrapped in glutinous rice, rolled into a log with layers of banana leaves, then boiled for long hours, banh tet is a traditional Lunar New Year food in Vietnam although it is eaten all year ’round.