The most resonating word during Chinese New Year (CNY) is AUSPICIOUS. Nearly all Chinese people wish for success and prosperity. And, this desire for an auspicious year is reflected in the CNY repertoire of dishes.
I'll make this quick, because I personally haven't done my shopping yet.
1. Nian Gao- A glutinous rice-cake. The mandarin translation of Tikoy sounds like higher (gao) year (nian). It's usually given to wish someone Good Luck. At home, we pan-fry with egg wash to make it crispy on the outside and gooey soft inside.
- Nice sigure to serve with sesame or shredded coconut. Ma try nga.
- If you have no tikoy, serve Kutchinta
2. Whole Fish- Fish in Mandarin is yu. Yu also sounds like abundance.
Side Note: Wag ubusin. Leave some left to represent "surplus" for the year ahead.
3. Dumplings- For wealth because they represent inggots/money. In China, they have a tradition of eating dumplings at midnight.
Side Notes: Pera talaga iniisip noh? As in kakain tayo ng pera! Hay nakow.
4. Longevity Noodles- Ofcourse you know this! This is for long life.
Side Note: Don't cut the noodles. The longer the noodles, the longer your life.
5. Egg Rolls- This represents fertility and mortality.
Side Note: If walang egg roll, pwede rin sigure hard boiled egg nalang.
6. Mandarin Oranges- They represent prosperity. I started practicing giving pairs of oranges when I was in Singapore.
Side Note: According to Alvina, if you receive a pair of oranges, you are obliged to also give a pair of oranges. No recycling of oranges please.
7. Black Moss with Dried Oysters/Abalone-This is to wish for a successful and prosperous business.
Side Note: Mahal to. I think ung mga may-ari lang din ng successful businesses makakabili.
Cost cutting? Pwedeng din Hot Pot nalang of Talaba.
8. Yu Sheng- The Pièce de résistance. I never heard of this until I celebrated CNY in Malaysia and Singapore way back in 2005. From then onwards, it has always been part of my personal traditions.
However!!! I'm starting to see some restaurants in the Philippines serving this for this year's CNY celebrations. #pa-uso.
This is a raw fish salad which sounds like "increase abundance" in mandarin.
What I like about Yu Sheng is the way it is prepared, served and enjoyed. The ingredients are added in a certain order with "chants" per addition. Then the entire family tosses the salad and as they toss, they recite their wishes loudly.
Side Note: I actually have my set of Yu Sheng but I'm shy to shout out my wishes infront of my inlaws. Hahahah!
Also, I read somewhere that the higher the toss, the better the fortune. So sa 19, I will aim for the cieling. Sabi ni S, he will aim for the heavens.
Sino gusto sumali sa tossing game?