New Year Dishes
Chinese New Year Dish is a showcase of the feelings of love and respect harbored by the Chinese people for their culture.
In China, New Year is a pretext of family reunion, where folks of the family gather for feast and acknowledge the spirits of their forefathers. During the celebrations, traditions and customs are very carefully observed in everything from food to clothing. Traditionally dinner is usually a feast of seafood and dumplings, symbolizing prosperity and good wishes. Chinese New Year Dish includes prawns for liveliness and pleasure, dried oysters for all things good in life, raw fish salad to usher in good luck and prosperity, dumplings boiled in water signifying a long-lost good wish for a family and Fai-hai (Angel Hair), edible hair-like seaweed to bring prosperity for the family.
Dishes served on the Chinese New Year also have special significance because of the way the Chinese word for it sounds. For instance, in Canton provinces of China, the word for lettuce sounds like rising luck and fortune, so it is very popular to serve a lettuce wrap filled with other lucky dishes. Other common dish pomelo, the ancestor of the grapefruit signifies abundance, as the Chinese word for pomelo sounds like the word for "to have". Tangerines and oranges are gifted during Chinese New Year as the words for tangerine and orange sound like luck and wealth, respectively.
The custom-making dishes of fish also mark the festive celebrations. The word for fish, "Yu," is a homonym of the words for wish and abundance. Hence it is customary on the New Year Eve to serve a fish at the end of the evening meal, thus wishing for abundance in the coming year. For added significance, the fish is served whole, with head and tail attached. It symbolizes a good beginning and ending for the next year.
And let's not forget the sweet, steamed cakes that are so popular during the Chinese New Year season. The traditional Chinese New Year Cake such as Sticky Rice Cake offered to Kitchen god has symbolic significance on many levels. Their flavor and sweetness signifies a rich and sweet life, while the layers wish for the rising abundance for the coming year. And finally the round shape of the cake signifies family reunion.