5 Must-Have CNY Dishes

5 Must-Have CNY Dishes

What began as a farmers celebration to mark the end of winter has become the most important festival among the Chinese. Spanning at least 3,000 years, it’s no surprise that this auspicious festive season comes with its own long standing traditions. From the giving of red envelopes (ang pow) to the significance of a lion dance, the history and practices of Chinese New Year are undoubtedly rich– and the same can be said for its traditional dishes!

 

Food, then and now, is the cornerstone of Chinese New Year. Though the past 50 years may have inspired a new wave of Chinese New Year dishes like the “deconstructed dumpling” or “reconstructed yee sang”, we prefer to keep it traditional.

 

Longevity Noodles

In Mandarin, Chángshòu Miàn (chung-show myen) symbolises longevity and happiness. Slurping up without severing them signifies the eater’s life – long and uncut. Longevity Noodles have lived a long and celebrated life, being part of not one, but two Chinese traditions! While most of us blow out the candles on birthday cakes, many Chinese folks blow the steam off their Longevity Noodles instead. Learn how to make your own with our simple recipe here.

 

Steamed Whole Fish

The character for prosperity, yu, is identical to the word for fish. Families buy a whole fish, which symbolizes unity, and typically steam it with ginger and a light soy sauce. But wait, the homophones don’t stop there – different types of fish carry different auspicious meanings. Catfish or Niányú (nyen-yoo) is pronounced the same as ‘year surplus’. In Mandarin, the first character of a Crucian Carp  Jìyú (jee-yoo) sounds like ‘good luck’ jí (jee). Get our simple and delicious recipe here.

 

Dumplings

Jiăozi traditionally resemble ingots or money, hence why eating dumplings is believed to usher in wealth. Chinese don’t eat Chinese sauerkraut (suāncài) dumplings during the Spring Festival, because it implies a poor and difficult future. In Northern China, dumplings are as much of a necessity as water, and are made with a soy-ginger cabbage and pork filling. Here is a simple recipe you can follow:

 

  1. Combine the pork, ginger, garlic, green onion, soy sauce, sesame oil, egg and cabbage in a large bowl. Mix well.

  2. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of pork filling onto each wonton skin. Moisten edges with water and fold edges over to form a triangle shape. Roll edges slightly to seal in filling. Set dumplings aside on a lightly floured surface until ready to cook.

  3. Steam dumplings in a covered bamboo or metal steamer for about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

 

Nian Gao

Directly translating to “year cake” in Mandarin, this glutinous rice-based cake can be found all year round, but is traditionally consumed during Chinese New Year for good luck and overall advancement in the new year. It’s a popular gift during this festive season, especially when shaped in a pair of carps to symbolise surplus, or ingots to represent wealth. The cakes we’re familiar with (the one in squares) are prepared Cantonese style, which are traditionally sweetened with brown sugar. However, there are many other ways of preparing the dish. A favourite is to just pan-fry it with egg wash, for a crispy yet chewy treat.

 

Tang Yuan

These adorable squishy balls taste as good as they look. This dessert isn’t exclusive to just the Winter Solstice Festival, but is traditionally enjoyed during the 15th day of Chinese New Year (Yuanxiao Festival) as well! It is made differently depending on the geographic location. The version we are familiar with comes from the southern part of China, where the stuffing is put in last, after the dough is made. The roundness of the rice balls signifies the complete circle of harmony and unity within the family. They are served in a soup and traditional fillings include sesame paste, red bean or peanuts.  

 

Excited for Chinese New Year? Make sure you are fully prepped for your reunion feast – head over to your nearest Cold Storage outlet today!

Why and What You Should Cook at Home This Valentine’s Day

Why and What You Should Cook at Home This Valentine's Day

If a dozen roses, Belgian assorted chocolates and a human-sized teddy bear has your wallet begging you to stop, then maybe it’s time to take a step back and evaluate what you should really be doing on Valentine’s Day.

For those who wish to celebrate their love on February 14th, going out is often a terrible idea. Here is why and what you should cook at home this Valentine’s Day.

 

The Crowd

If you didn’t make your reservation a month or two prior to, then good luck getting a table! As is often said, Mother’s Day is the busiest restaurant day of the year, and Valentine’s is the busiest night. The good news is that there will be a new wave of very different clientele, and that can be exciting. The bad news is some of them might make you want to jam a salad fork into the table.

 

Overly-priced meals

Valentine’s Day is a crucial monetary date for businesses of all sorts, and yes, a restaurant is ultimately a business. Champagne, ravioli, heart-shaped desserts, etc… most of the special menus-for-2 are obnoxiously designed to fit the “romantic” theme of the night. On the other hand,  the price isn’t very lovable. Apart from having an expensive preset menu, a crowded restaurant usually results in staff trying to rush your dining for quick turnover. It would be better to save your money for when the restaurant is at its best.

 

Cooking much better

It’s not even about being able to be in comfortable clothes, or avoiding crowds, cooking at home for your significant other is much more romantic, personal, and it leaves you with extra money for better wine and gifts.  Even if you’ve never cooked, this is the perfect time to try it out – cooking is far more an impressive skill than whipping out a credit card. Get ready to slip on your house clothes and light the candles – here are our picks for a romantic 3-course meal.

 

Appetizer: Smoked Salmon Salad

Quick to make and incredibly refreshing, thanks to the extra zing from the wasabi, this dish makes the perfect prelude to the heartier meal that follows!

Main Course: Chicken Roulade with Spinach

Fresh baby spinach, roasted peppers, feta cheese and a touch of parsley make a fantastic filling for tender chicken roulades. Serve with asparagus for an extra touch of elegance.

Dessert: Chocolate Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

Made with fresh strawberries, softened cream cheese and three kinds of chocolate, this is a mouthful treat that will make the both of you swoon. The perfect dessert to end your surf and turf meal!

 

Did we persuade you to stay in? Let us know if you prefer to dine in or out on Valentine’s Day in the comments section below. 

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