Chinese New Year Dishes
Foods for Chinese New Year's Day
By Laura Young
New Year's Day
According to Chinese legend, it is bad luck to use knives or scissors on New Year's Day as it may "cut off" your good fortune for the year. As a result, many families restrain from cooking on Chinese New Year's Day. Leftovers from the night before are brought out and eaten in lieu of cooking.
According to Young, some families follow Buddhist tradition and choose to only prepare dishes free of meat, fish, or chicken, in order to avoid the killing of any animals on the New Year Day. This symbolizes purity for the new year.
Listed below are some foods Young says you might find being served on New Year's Day:
- Savory Chinese cakes (Taro root cake or turnip cake, served in the morning for breakfast. Cakes are molded in a round pan to symbolize wholeness.)
- Buddha's Delight (A vegetarian dish featuring bean curd, cellophane noodles, cabbage, and Chinese mushrooms)
- Sesame balls (Says Young, the balls start out very small, but when deep fried they expand. It is believed if you eat these sesame balls your fortunes will also expand. Also, the stickiness of the food represents the cohesiveness of the family.)
For the recipes of many of the foods described in this story, please pick up a copy of Grace Young's The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen. For more Chinese food recipes, check out our listing on Kaboose.