Eight Lucky Foods for Lunar New Year
Happy Lunar New Year! This time of year is all about good wishes. But did you know that many of these good wishes are edible? Here are eight lucky New Year foods in the Chinese tradition and why they are lucky. Now, where to start?
Number One: Long Life Noodles
Wish everyone and yourself a long life by eating very long noodles without cutting them. Slurping is allowed—your longevity is at stake.
Number Two: Dumplings
You never need an excuse to eat dumplings, but now you have a reason to eat more. These are ingots. They used to be a form of currency in China, and they were made of gold and silver, and dumplings look like them. The idea is the more you eat, the more money you'll have. I am a millionaire!
Number Three: Spring Rolls
If you didn't get rich from all those dumplings before, that's okay. Have some spring rolls, which represent solid gold bars. Wow, 14 karats!
Number Four: A Whole Fish
Having the head and the tail of the fish symbolizes a good beginning and a good ending for the coming year. Also, the word "fish" in Chinese sounds like the word for "surplus."
Number Five: Festive Fruits
See how bright and round these oranges are? Just like a big lump of gold, which is why they are a symbol of wealth. And the word "orange" in Chinese sounds like the word for "success." Here are some liquid assets I prepared earlier.
I want you to dump 40 percent and short the rest.
To your success.
Number Six: Year Cake
This is "nian gao," a sweet and sticky cake made of glutinous rice flour. "Nian gao" means "year cake," but it also sounds exactly the same as "nian gao," which is the word "year" followed by the word "tall." So, may each New Year be taller for you. May you reach new heights—a promotion, a raise, more cake! More cake? I don't mind at all!
Number Seven: Sweet Rice Dumplings
New Year is all about family reunions. For dessert, we eat tang yuan, and we say, "tuan tuan yuan yuan." "Tuan yuan" means "reunion," and "yuan" means "round," so the aim is to have the whole family around the table together. And the rice ball is round, like the table. It's pun for the whole family! Where's my family?
Number Eight: The "Togetherness" Box
This is a "quan he"—it's a collection of snacks, mostly sweets, for visitors, or for me. Mostly for me.
These are melon seeds, or "gua zi." It sounds a lot like the saying "nian sheng gui zi," which means to give birth to sons. What about daughters? I'm a daughter. Mom, what about daughters?
These are lotus seeds, or "lian zi." Again, it sounds like that whole "give birth to sons" thing,
These are lotus roots. They're called "lian ou," which sounds like the word for abundance.
And these are white rabbit lollies because...compulsory.
Hold on. Abundance, giving birth to children, rabbits, seeds, fertility. Mom, are you sending me a message through this box? How did we get from "No dating!" to "Where are my grandchildren?" A conversation for another time, perhaps.
Of course, there are many ways to celebrate the New Year with food. Let us know your favorites in the comments below. And a happy New Year to you. Gong xi fa cai!
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