3 Traditional Foods During Lunar New Year (Pt I)
Lunar New Year begins on Tuesday 1 February. It is a festival celebrated in many East Asian countries including China, South Korea, Vietnam and Malaysia. The first new moon of the lunar calendar marks the start of the festival, and the first full moon concludes it. During this time, it is customary to gather with family and eat different types of food. Certain dishes carry symbolic meanings, which can define the fortunes of the upcoming year. Zetciti in Marina Square is an Asian supermarket where you can purchase food for your celebrations.
Dumplings symbolise wealth
These are small, tasty bundles of minced meat and chopped vegetables wrapped in a thin skin (made from flour dough). In Chinese culture, dumplings can be made to resemble Chinese silver ingots, which are metal casts in which precious metals are moulded. These are boat-shaped, oval, and pointed upwards at both ends. According to legend, the more dumplings you eat during New Year, the more money you can make in the upcoming year!
Glutinous Rice Cake represents achievement
Rice cakes consist of ingredients like sticky rice, sugar, chestnuts and lotus leaves. In Chinese, the pronunciation of rice cake is “年糕 Niángāo”, which means becoming “higher year-on-year”. This is typically associated with a higher status in wealth, due to success in business pursuits. The lucky time to eat rice cakes is during the eve of Lunar New Year, so on 31 January.
Uncut Noodles bring longevity
Commonly served in Northern China, the official name translates to “Longevity Noodles”. If you want to improve your language skills, the Chinese name is pronounced “Chángshòu Miàn /chung-show myen”. These are noodles which are purposely uncut, thus are longer than normal noodles. Their length symbolises the duration of one’s life, with a practice being to slurp up as much of the noodle as possible before biting (and severing) it.