HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!
Last night in Shanghai was New Year’s eve. Usually, I would be at my grandparent’s place, like last year, but we stayed this year. My aunt arrived back from vacation in Japan two days ago, so we invited them for a New Year’s feast at our place. Thus, this year’s dishes are predominately Zhejiang/ Shanghai style. But, before getting into the food, there are a few traditions and etiquette rules that must be shared:
- There must be 10 dishes- 10 in China, and many other countries, represents perfection. 10 dishes at the feast represents a perfect start to the New Year
- Flip your “福” posters or stickers upside down when hanging them- The character for upside down is homophonous to the character for come. 福 means wealth.
- …but NEVER flip the fish- Steamed whole fish is a must have at New Years since the character for fish is homophonous with the character for surplus. Flipping the fish is said to ruin it. Instead, ask the host to remove the spine, or just do it yourself.
- Leave the head and tail of the fish- Leaving the head and the tail or 有头有尾, symbolizes that everything you do will be complete from start to finish.
- Clean the house and get rid of old stuff: This is the same idea as spring cleaning
Ok, boring part finished, lets get to the food!!!!!!
Ice plant with soy sauce- Ok, this is far from traditional, but we had really fresh ice plant and needed a light dish to combat all the meatiness to come.
Stir- Fried Bok Choy with Tofu– Tofu and veggies are a tradition on my mom’s side of the family. We also happened to have some amazing homemade firm tofu
Fat Choy with Mushrooms and Bamboo shoots– The characters for Fat Choy are homophonous with “get rich”. Bamboo shoots resemble a ladder, so let’s climb to success
Stir-fried Eggs and Tomatoes– A quick, delicious dish. The acid of the tomatoes helps cut through the richness of the following dishes
Turtle Soup – Turtles are not exactly traditional, but they represent longevity. Plus, we still had 2 left from the three my grandparents sent
Red Braised Pork– Another family tradition.
Steamed Pork Trotters– Pork trotters represent the chinese proverb “脚踏实地 ”- feet on solid ground.
Dry Wok Chicken– My dad needed a Hunanese dish in to be fully satisfied. With all the relative lack of spice in the other dishes, this one is a great kick
Steamed fish- Any whole fish will do. We steamed 2 pomfrets because that was freshest at the fish market, but perch or groupa is far more popular. Any recipe will do, as long as it doesn’t mess with the structure of the fish. We steamed ours with soy sauce.
Again Happy New Year, Happy Feasting and remember to watch CCTV New Year’s show!!!!