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5 Chinese New Year "Must Eat" & their meaning

As the Chinese New Year is approaching, I start to notice there are many food and snacks that only appear during the Chinese New Year time.

Have you ever wondered why we do eat them during the Chinese New Year? It turns out that , those food and their names carry good meanings in Chinese (好意頭) & are considered auspicious to start the year. Here are the Must Haves for you this CNY 😊:

  1. Fat Choy ( Sea moss)

During the Chinese New Year we always eat a dish of Fat Choy cooked with dried oyster.

The name of the dish is called Fat Choy Ho Si, which has a similar pronunciation as the phrase

  • the term 發財 means get rich, that is why we said Kung Hei Fat Choy ( 恭喜發財) when we visit friends and family in Chinese New Year.

In pic: Braised Whole Abalone with Goose Web and Sea Moss

2. Oyster

The oyster we eat in Chinese New Year is dried oyster, and it is called Ho Si in Cantonese, which is similar to the phrase which means the market is good and the business is good.

This is good meaning for people who invest in the stock market or has his/her own business.

In pic: Dried Oyster dish

3. Pork Knuckles

In Chinese New Year we also like to eat a dish of Pork Knuckles, and the dish name is called Wang Choy Jia Sau in Cantonese which carries a special meaning.

During Chinese New Year, a lot of people will play Mahjong, and many people like to win, so if you wish someone Wang Choy Jia Sau, that means you wish them to get unexpected fortune very easily😊😊. The term Wang Choy means good fortune / money you get unexpectedly, and Jia Sau( ) means you get it in an easy way.

Interesting to note that this is different from Fat Choy, as Fat Choy just means get rich, and you can get rich in a lot of different ways.

In pic: Pork Knuckles dish

4. Tangerine

If you visit the Lunar New Year Fair in the Victoria Park, you will probably see many shops selling tangerine trees .

Traditionally, Chinese people like to have tangerine inside their home. It is pronounced as ‘gut’( 吉), which means lucky in Chinese. It is also related to the phrase Tai Gut Tai Lei (大吉大利), which means lots of luck and lots of profits.

5. Sweet Rice Cake/Lin Go (年糕)

Traditionally, people also like to make sweet rice cake at home, although nowadays more people just buy it from Chinese restaurants. After it is made, the sweet rice cake is stored in the refrigerator, when you want to eat it, you cut several slices of it, and fry it with scramble egg, its texture is sticky, and it tastes sweet, it is very similar to mochi from Japan, and the texture is similar to Korean rice cake, but Korean rice cake is not sweet, while Chinese Lin Go is sweet.

The word 年,pronounced as Lin, means year, and 糕, pronounced as Go, means cake, but the word 高 , which means tall, is also pronounced at the same way.

So the meaning of this dish is that you becomes taller every year, or that you progress every year.

This is usually the wish you have for children or teenagers.

And for adults you can wish them Po Po Go Shing ( 步步高升), which means at work they can get promoted quickly and easily.

Now that you know about these traditional food we have in Chinese New Year and their meaning, I suggest you to buy a tangerine tree from Victoria Park and put it at your home, invite your friends over at Chinese New Year ‘s Eve, enjoy the dish of pork knuckles and Fat Choy Ho Si with them, and then cook the sweet rice cake you have for breakfast on the first day of Chinese New Year.

Kung Hei Fat Choy 🎉😊✨🎁.

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