By Vanessa B
The Lunar New Year is celebrated in most Asian countries, its best-known celebration associated with this major event being the Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival. This time brings the family together during so-called ‘reunion dinners’, usually held in Chinese and Vietnamese households on the night before New Years’. That night is fulfilled with an astonishing variety of foods where every meal has a special meaning. Each treat symbolizes different wishes for the next year. For instance, eating sweets represents a “sweet life” or having a blissful start to the upcoming year. If you don’t usually celebrate the Lunar New Year but like to try new flavors and expand your culinary horizons, then you might like to try some of these eight delicious festive treats to spread a little festive joy this February.
As we mentioned earlier, sweets are meant to bring some sweet enjoyment to the upcoming year. Chocolate might be one of the most adored candies worldwide. Adding some sprinkles of truffle creates an incredibly rich, flavourful, and unforgettable taste. So what is a chocolate truffle? It’s a type of chocolate confectionery made with chocolate glaze and a little bit of cream coated in another layer of chocolate. Usually topped with chopped nuts, cocoa powder, and grated truffle. The unique method, high-quality ingredients, and amazing flavor combination creates a one-of the kind treat that is perfect for celebrating the Lunar New Year.
Those easy-to-make cookies symbolize happiness and joy. The main ingredients of those treats include walnuts and flour. If baked correctly, they have an uneven structure with cracks which allow the walnut fragrance to spoil our noses. Each bite of those cookies is joyful especially when accompanied by cold milk, brewed green tea, or a cup of your favorite coffee. As the ingredients are quite healthy, these cookies are also a great alternative for late-night snackers.
Eight-Treasure Rice Pudding
This pudding traditionally includes “eight treasures”, such as lotus seeds, dried longans, candied fruits, red jujubes, and other various condiments. It is usually soaked in sugar or butter, creating a perfect mushy consistency. It can either be a perfect dessert during the ‘reunion dinner’ or a tasty treat during your afternoon cup of tea.
As red is considered a lucky color in China, those dates are a symbol of wealth and prosperity. They are usually eaten during several occasions such as festivals, housewarming parties, wedding ceremonies, and, of course, New Year’s dinners. Red dates are usually served as dried fruit eaten with your fingers. You can also cut them up to make tea for good luck in the upcoming year.
Fried Flour-Coated Peanuts
Peanuts on your Lunar New Year’s Eve table can represent vitality and longevity. They are usually coated with a sweet mixture of brown sugar and flour. Then, they are baked until their skin is nice and bronzed. For spicy treats lovers, there is also a version of nuts with a five-spice powder, which is added to the sugary syrup creating a sweet and savory alternative. What’s more, fried flour-coated peanuts are a perfect addition to your tray of togetherness.
Fortune fruits eaten during Chinese New Year have special characteristics such as roundness and golden color. It symbolizes wealth and fullness. As you might have already guessed those fruits are oranges, tangerines, oranges, and pomelos.
Tray of Togetherness
This platter is traditionally used to welcome guests around the Lunar New Year period. The round tray of togetherness mostly consists of nuts, gold chocolate coins, fruits (also candied), and other tiny treats. They are usually divided into eight or six compartments creating an astonishing composition. What does it symbolize? Because of the balanced layout, the tray of togetherness represents family and harmony. You can also customize your offerings by choosing specific ingredients. For instance, candied coconut stands for togetherness.
Candied haw is a traditional winter snack. Hawthorn ball kebabs are covered in malt syrup, sometimes they can be also substituted with begonia fruit, walnuts, or grapes. In Chinese culture, this snack is believed to have healing powers and positively affect your general health.
The Bottom Line
Lunar New Year treats are undoubtedly diverse and special. As each dish and ingredient symbolizes different values, meals prepared for this occasion are something more than just a feast for your tastebuds. Some of the options might not be as accessible and easy to find as chocolate truffles, so you can always try to prepare them by yourself. For instance, walnut cookies are easy-to-make and don’t demand advanced cooking skills. Try as many options as you want from our list, and your festive joy around the celebration of the lunar year will surely be unforgettable.