What's a celebration without food? Food brings people together and forges our cultural identities. Chinese New Year marks the beginning of the lunar year. Families gather and share a reunion dinner with foods that hold symbolic meaning.
Chinese New Year...it's a time for renewal, it's about rejuvenation. We have a reunion dinner and usually my father cooks. My father is actually...he's not a chef by trade, but he's an amazing cook. He'll prepare several dishes and some of them are very symbolic.
It's important to have a whole fish at the dinner table. The Cantonese word for fish is "yu." Yu in Chinese—it sounds similar to the word for "surplus" or "extra."
My father will make "longevity noodles" because they're uncut and they are supposed to symbolize long life. Like, they're a given that we are gonna have them during Chinese New Year dinner.
The tangerines are called "gum" in Chinese, which sounds like "gold" and that was to symbolize prosperity. And we would eat them, but they would also be part of the decoration in the house.
I lived in Confucius Plaza, which is right in the heart of Chinatown. So walking out and smelling the gunpowder from the firecrackers, it's the one time that I would get to see all of my relatives and I would get together with my cousins. And we could probably not get together for Christmas, but we had to be home for Chinese New Year.
Food is a huge part of our identity and it's probably one of the things that continues to tie me to my culture.
- 「(職業)經過訓練、有經驗的」- By Trade
My father is actually...he's not a chef by trade, but he's an amazing cook.