Celebrating Chinese New Year – Part Two

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Chinese New Year holiday starts on the 19th of this month, ushering in the year of the goat. I wrote last week about what to expect if you in a country the celebrates it, and this week we’ll talk about what’s truly important about the celebration: The Food.

Read on to learn what you should know when celebrating the Chinese New Year and different meanings for the foods associated:

A lot of the food people eat over CNY have double meanings. Tangerines are really popular, and everyone buys big tangerine trees leading up to the holiday. In Cantonese, tangerine is ‘gum gat’ and ‘gum’ also means gold. So putting these plants in your house or giving them as gifts is a sign of wealth.

Another one is turnip cake (much more delicious than it sounds). It’s called leen goh. I’m not totally clear on the translation, but basically it means ‘every year get taller’. If someone can give us a better explanation, let us know!

Egg rolls and nuts are also snacks you’ll see everywhere in shops, and like I said last week, nuts and fruits should be what you bring to a family dinner.

Speaking of family dinner, it is absolutely not vegetarian-friendly. There will be plenty of pork dishes, including roast pig (head included). There’s also a bunch of steamed fish and seafood. There are plenty of noodles, veg and rice, but really, there’s not a lot of vegetarian options.

The dinner can last for hours, with tons of dishes — if you’re not vegetarian, pace yourself! All in all, it’s usually a good time, and don’t forget to finish your rice.

San ling fai luk!

What will you be eating over CNY?

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About Author

Maureen always knew she wanted to travel. In college, she studied and traveled through the Caribbean and Central America, and the first time she fell in love was with Mexico City. After graduating, she spent several years teaching EFL in Europe, the Americas and Southeast Asia and traveling in every spare moment. She's currently living in Hong Kong, and getting lost while traveling is her main hobby.

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