THERE’s nothing to worry if you missed eating lucky foods last January 1, Chinese New Year is on Tuesday and the whole world will celebrate the Year of the Earth Pig.
Take time to shop and cook these lucky foods to invite luck and prosperity.
Lucky Chinese foods are only few (dumplings, fish, spring rolls, and tikoy) but a must to eat during the first seven days of the year.
* Fish. For Chinese, fish means to have a surplus at the end of the year. Because they think if they have managed to save something at the end of the year, then they can make more in the next year. Fish can be cooked in various ways such as boiling, steaming, and braising.
In general, eating lapu-lapu is considered to bring good luck for the next year. But lapu-lapu is quite expensive. You may opt to buy other variety of fish, hito for one. If you eat hito, you are wishing for a surplus in the year. Eating two fish, one on New Year’s Eve and one on New Year’s Day, signifies a wish for a surplus year-after-year.
There are some rules for positioning the fish. The head should be placed toward distinguished guests or elders, representing respect. The fish shouldn’t be moved. The two people who face the head and tail of fish should drink together as this is considered to have a lucky meaning.
Diners can enjoy the fish only after the one who faces the fish head eats first. These customs are observed in a lively and light-hearted spirit, full of laughing and banter.
* Dumplings. Dumplings generally consist of minced meat and finely-chopped vegetables wrapped in a thin and elastic dough skin. Popular fillings are minced pork, diced shrimp, fish, ground chicken, beef, and vegetables.
Dumplings look like silver ingots. Legend has it that the more dumplings you eat during New Year celebration, the more money you can make in the New Year.
Do not eat dumplings with sauerkraut because it implies a poor and difficult future. Eat dumplings with cabbage and radish, implying that one’s skin will become fair and one’s mood will become gentle.
Should you wish to make dumplings, be careful in making pleats. If you make it too flat, it is thought to purport poverty. Dumplings should be arranged in lines instead of circles, because circles of dumplings are supposed to mean one’s life will go round in circles, never going anywhere.
* Spring Rolls. Spring rolls are a Cantonese dim sum dish of cylindrical shape and connotes a ton of gold (because the fried spring rolls are gold in color they look like gold bar) - a wish for prosperity.
* Tikoy. In Chinese pronunciation it sounds like “getting higher year by year”, so as you eat tikoy with your children, the “higher year by year” can imply children’s height, business, study, work, etc.
And it’s Year of the Pig, you may also eat roasted pig (lechon) if you have no health issues (high cholesterol or hypertension).