Today marks the first day of Chinese New Year, the Year of the Rat. Although the holiday marks the time for people to clean up their homes, reorganize their lives, pay respect to their ancestors, appease the Kitchen God, and conjure up enough luck to last them through the rest of the year, everyone knows that the central element to celebrating the new year is to stuff yourself with lots of food.
Foods chosen for Chinese New year tend to carry auspicious meanings. Wealth may be symbolized by whole fish, dried tofu, oranges, egg rolls, and dumplings. Long life may be represented by "long foods," such as noodles and string beans. All of the above and more relate to luck in addition to dried oysters, tangerines and turnips. As long as you eat...you know, something, you're probably going to be in good shape for the new year, whether that means adding an extra 10 years to your life, getting a raise, or giving birth to a baby boy.
Since Chinese New Year lasts from the first to the 15th day of the lunar month (new moon to full moon), that gives you two weeks to whip up some Chinese New Year-related recipes. After the jump are some recipes I've picked from the food blogosphere.
- 10 New Year's Dishes - Rasa Malaysia has something for everyone: seafood, poultry, pork, vegetables, and desserts. Oh, and food porn.
- 5 New Year's Dishes - Jaden's Steamy Kitchen shares recipes and cooking tips from her mom along with her parents' food superstitions.
- Hoe Si Fatt Choy - Stewed Oyster, Pork, Mushroom and Moss - I just ate this dish from Food Haven at a Chinese New Year's Eve dinner last night. Can't say I'm a fan of dried oyster, but I love a good bowl of mushrooms and moss.