Families gather on Lunar New Year for one of the most important meals of the year. Each festive dish signifies good health and fortune. We present 8 iconic Lunar New Year dishes across the region that will pique your taste buds and offer you an unparalleled gastronomic experience.
Celebrate the eve of Lunar New Year with this celebrated classic dish. Shaped like an ancient Chinese silver ingot (Yuan Bao), the dumpling is made from thin dough skin and is usually stuffed with vegetables and minced meat. There’s a saying that the more dumplings you eat during festivities, abundance of riches and wealth will follow in the coming year. Rejoice this joyful New Year with your families over a hearty meal of authentic Yunnan specialties at Le Chenois in Sofitel Kunming.
While the Buddha Jumps Over The Wall is a vegetarian dish of assorted greens, it is in fact a dish with much taste and meaning behind it. Although the dish was previously the fare of Buddhist monks, it is now a staple dish enjoyed in many Chinese restaurants. It's usually consumed on the first day of the Lunar New Year, to emulate an old Buddhist practice of upholding a vegetarian diet as a form of self-purification. The dish also symbolises good luck. Its ingredients, like 'fat choy', a black, moss-like vegetable, is a consonant for the word 'prosper' in Cantonese. Unique dining can be found at Jia Wei Chinese Restaurant at Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy, which offers a selection of exquisite Cantonese cuisine that is a festive experience unlike any other.
Fish maw is a Chinese delicacy and a nourishing tonic that helps with blood circulation. The exotic element of this ingredient is that it is the air bladder of a large fish like croaker or sturgeon. Its spongy texture is akin to the sea cucumber, allowing for the absorption of flavours from scallops, crabs, and other savoury ingredients. If you are looking to celebrate this New Year with sumptuous and authentic Chinese cuisines, look no further than Lok Wah Hin Chinese Restaurant in Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square for their celebratory 8-course set menu. Make some room for their world-famous Peking Duck and Dim Sum – the restaurant is voted as the Best Chinese Restaurant in Bangkok for a consecutive 14 years!
During the Korean New Year, Seollal, Koreans enjoy the Tteokguk, which is also a celebratory soup for birthdays – since Koreans traditionally turn one year older during the New Year. Eating Tteokguk symbolises prosperity and purity. Consisting of chewy and thinly sliced rice cakes, quality Korean beef and fresh oyster-based broth, Tteokguk is a comforting dish to satisfy any appetite. For a gustatory delight and hearty gathering during this Lunar New Year, head down to The Square at Novotel Ambassador Suwon helmed by Chef Peter Bang for a festive Korean dining experience.
Locals tend to alter the taste of original recipes to cater to what they’re used to. This culinary modification is definitely present in asian cuisine and of course, the Lunar New Year dishes too. An example would be Pu Yung Hai, an omelette dish that is similar to Egg Foo Yung, a highly favourite egg dish that is easy to prepare. Instead of the usual brown gravy, its replacement is a sweet & sour tomato sauce. Oysters and shrimp are common ingredients too. In Cantonese dialect, the word oyster is the homophone for 'good business', and shrimp is pronounced as 'ha', which means laughter in Mandarin. For a unique mix of flavours head to Honk Asian Restaurant at Pullman New Delhi Aerocity. Offering a taste of pan-asian cuisine for the ultimate indulgence, this a great spot where the right mix of spices create the perfect balance for a delightful Lunar New Year experience.
On the dining tables of families during Lunar New Year, steamed whole fishes are a common sight. The Chinese pronunciation of fish is a homophone for abundance. Hence, it is believed that eating fishes during the festive season brings both luck and wealth. A whole fish symbolises unity and it is best enjoyed when steamed with ginger and drenched with light soy sauce. It's also important to have leftovers as this signifies an overflow in prosperity. For the finest flavours of southern Chinese cuisine, swing by Tai Zi Heen at Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre Hotels and Residences and indulge in their classic and creative dim sum specialties, à la carte or from the buffet, that is sure to be a palatable experience for the family.
Long noodles signify the concept of longevity due to its length. Vermicelli fits this description perfectly. These thin and salted wheat noodles are perfect for a traditional birthday dish, served in clear chicken broth. Most noodle lovers can unanimously agree that handmade Vermicelli is peerless by virtue of its chewy and smooth texture. Every family member gets a bowl of piping hot Vermicelli on the first day of Lunar New Year. Served at at Jing Paradise Restaurant at Mercure Bandung Setiabudi, enjoy these unique noodle dish and revel in a tradition that goes a long way! On the other side of the pond, there are other ways to enjoy festive traditions! To kick off the festive season, Sofitel Sydney Wentworth is handing out red envelopes with golden chocolate coins to all chinese hotel guests. The Garden Court Restaurant will also be offering daily steamed dumplings, BBQ pork buns, congee, stir-fried rice and vegetables in their breakfast buffet spread. Truly a divine combination of festive dishes and traditions that satisfies all.
Be sure to savour one of the popular delicacies traditionally served at Chinese banquets, together with ginseng dishes and abalone. Ordering a sea cucumber dish at a celebratory banquet is a sign of respect for one’s elders. The sea cucumber bears its resemblance to the plant it is named after, but has a crunchy and soft texture that varies with the cooking duration. You can find a wide selection of elaborated Chinese cuisine at Jing Paradise Restaurant at Mercure Bandung Setiabudi, Indonesia where the exquisite fusion of authentic Chinese cuisine and a concoction of condiments will leave you longing for more.
Make way for a truly festive experience and skip the queues! Visit Restaurants by Accor to make a reservation for your Lunar New Year meal!
To explore more asian cuisine, watch Trevor James A.K.A The Food Ranger experience Sichuan Cuisine:
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