Must-eat Lunar New Year dishes for a prosperous 2022
The dishes you need on your Lunar New Year table
You may have noticed red and gold décor in your neighbourhood or local Chinatown in anticipation of Chinese New Year. Also known as Lunar New Year, the biggest holiday in Chinese culture happens this year on February 1. It signals the beginning of spring and the start of a new year according to the Chinese lunar calendar.
New Year’s Eve dinner, known as “family reunion dinner” is the most important event of Lunar New Year. Typically, several generations of a family gather at round tables (signifying unity and harmony) to enjoy food and time together—and to wish for good fortune in the year ahead. While you may not be able to have your entire extended family at the table this year, you can still have all the traditional lucky foods that are a must at every New Year’s Eve family reunion dinner. T&T Supermarket is the destination to shop for an easy, gourmet and delicious Lunar New Year’s feast.
Each Lunar New Year dish represents good wishes for the year ahead. Here are four traditional dishes to enjoy while ringing in the year of the tiger. They are available ready to be served and can be ordered online or at your local T&T Supermarket. If you prefer to start from scratch, you can find all the ingredients you’ll need at T&T, too.
This luxurious dish takes centre stage at Lunar New Year dinner. Filled with layers of premium seafood, meat and vegetables and served in a brimming pot, pancai symbolizes good wishes, prosperity and abundance. It’s the perfect communal dish as it contains something for everyone and isn’t typically spicy so can be enjoyed by both the young and old.
Fish is one of the most important symbolic dishes for Lunar New Year as fish sounds the same as “surplus” in Mandarin and symbolizes abundance. Contrary to its name, there is no squirrel in squirrel fish. Instead, the reference is to its shape as the fish is deep-fried, causing it to curl up, and the head and tail are then arranged so that it looks like a squirrel. The whole fish must be used, including its head and tail, to denote a good beginning and end for the year ahead.
Deep-Fried Crab Claws
Crab is a common seafood choice in Asian cuisine and this dish features claws deep-fried to a golden colour to bring prosperity and fortune for the New Year. The lightly battered, crispy outside of each claw goes perfectly with the tender meaty inside, creating a mouth-watering treat. As a fusion-style dish, it incorporates Western Chinese flavours and cooking techniques, making it a favourite with those familiar with Asian cuisine and those new to it.
Nian Gao or Sweet Rice Cakes
One of the most popular desserts eaten during this festive season, nian gao is made with sticky, glutinous rice flour and sweetened with brown sugar. It’s very sticky and dense, and eating these rice cakes for Lunar New Year is symbolic of reaching a higher achievement. The pronunciation of nian gao translates to a promise of a “higher or better year,” and signifies prosperity.
These dishes are but a sampling of what you can serve for Lunar New Year. Add them to other Lunar New Year delicacies like spring rolls, dumplings and fresh oranges. Include tasty snacks like pineapple cakes and roasted chestnuts. And don’t forget about red lanterns for decor and red envelopes or “hong bao” for handing out lucky money. You can even get Lunar New Year-themed T&T gift cards. Shop online with express delivery service in the GTA or head over to your nearest T&T Supermarket.
Kung hei fat choi!