This was our second year hosting a Chinese New Year Dinner. We hosted it on the Eve before because the actual New Year was a school day and it just worked better to host it on a Sunday. Our Isabelle and I (with input from a few of her guests) came up with a menu and did the grocery shopping. It would take a few stores to find what we needed and keep it within budget. It is fun to research and add a couple new traditions each year. We all had a great time trying new foods and learning more about Asia – specifically Hong Kong and Korea this year. As always, I love to set a great room/ table. Each time I host students, they bring gifts from their countries that I can add into the decor. This Year is the Year of the Monkey.
Most everything is symbolic in Chinese culture – even the fact that you must have leftovers to “have more to spare in the year to come”… and the colours, Red and Gold indicate Life and Wealth. We even had a discussion on whether or not to use the black napkins because they represent death and that is unlucky at Lunar New Year.
This is called a “tray of togetherness” with many dried fruits and sweet treats. Families traditionally put these out New Years day for all the guests that visit. It is generally a day of open house visiting to friends and family, followed by a meal and a trip to the Flower Market. I’ve added being in Hong Kong on Lunar New Year, to my bucket list.
Isabelle and her lovely friends cooked up a few special dishes to round out the menu Isabelle and I came up with.
Just a little bit of our spread. Cabbage Salad, Spring Rolls, Dumplings, Dim Sum, Egg Rolls and those heavenly eggs Isabelle’s friend made in the top right photo – I forget the name. We had rice (plenty) and long noodles (long life), steamed eggs and Cokacola Chicken Wings and more…
And of course, desserts. We had mango jelly, fruit trays – all symbolic – citrus pomello and mandarins for wealth, dragonfruit for many children blessed, and the egg tarts and Nian Gao which has many versions, we chose the coconut one we discovered last year…and Oolong tea.
I’m already planning for next year!