What to Cook this Lunar New Year
Five recipe ideas for Lunar New Year
Rabbits rejoice, for this is your year. Although particularly auspicious for water rabbits, the Lunar New Year of 2023 is forecast to be a year of hope for all of us. Ugh, about time.
It’s certainly something well-worth celebrating, so from this Lunar New Year’s Eve on 21 January, pull out your lucky red apparel and gather friends and family together for a celebration of hope, prosperity and good things to come. More than one million Australians observe Lunar New Year, so you’ll join some solid company in getting into the spirit of this wonderful festive period. Based on the lunisolar calendar, the New Year period runs for 15 days up until the Lantern Festival, giving you ample time to revel in this two-week party.
If you’re eager to clamber onboard with any festivity that bids a double-birdie adieu to 2022, but aren’t quite sure how to go about it, follow the ‘three Fs’ guide: firecrackers; friends and family; and of course, feasting.
Historically, firecrackers and fireworks are set off over the Lunar New Year celebrations to shoo away evil spirits. While not legal to do it yourself in Australia, get on down to Chinatown or join your local Chinese community and witness the explosive displays that are accompanied by a many-footed dancing dragon and resonating drum beats.
It's also a time for visiting relatives and feasting with loved ones and friends. For this, there are loads of delicious dishes to ring in the New Year, but there are some specific foods that carry deeper meaning when it comes to hitting the right notes for the year ahead. Make sure your banquet includes some of the following dishes to leverage the abundance of hope the Year of the Bunny brings:
A traditional New Year dish, fish is said to enhance your prospects of prosperity. The word ‘fish’ in Chinese, is a homophone for the word ‘surplus’, which is synonymous with abundance. Fish is also often the last dish served and it’s important to have some leftovers or ‘surplus’. Not many of us would refuse an abundance of love, money or health, so plate up some piscatorial plenty for 2023 and keep an eye on our upcoming menus for these fish dishes – Paper Bag-Steamed Miso Butter Fish with Sweet Potato Wedges and Steamed Fish with Ginger and Soy.
Not that we ever need an arm-twisting to eat our weight in dumplings, but LNY provides a very useful justification for an uncivilised consumption of these morsels. That’s because it’s said the more dumplings you devour during the celebrations, the more money you will make in the coming year (oh man, if we’d only known it was that easy!). It helps, of course, that the 1800-year-old Chinese dumpling, which has long been a traditional New Year food, particularly in northern China, is incredibly delicious. Make some money, eat the dumplings: Pork and Shallot Dumplings with Nutty Sesame Slaw featuring on a QL menu this Lunar New Year.
Lion’s Head Meatballs
Serve up a bit of togetherness with this wholly satisfying dish that heralds in a year of familial unity. Particularly popular eaten as a New Year food in Shanghai, the lion represents strength, while the meatballs’ porky roundness is symbolic of unity. Have a go at making them yourself with our Lion’s Head Meatballs with Rice and Greens ready to order on our menu soon.
A New Year feast is not considered complete without a few auspicious vegetables, which signify renewal, energy, progress and wealth – all things that make a strong case for eating your greens. Any veggies are good, any time, but specifically, baby bok choy can symbolise good fortune; gai lan brings harmony; and lettuce is eaten for wealth. So apart from being delicious, the QL Vegetable and Beef San Choy Bao and Pork Dumplings with Spicy Peanut Sauce and Green Vegetables featuring on our upcoming menus, just might make it rain for you.