Gung hay fat choy! Happy Year of the Snake! The last “official” day of the Lunar/Chinese New Year celebrations (the Lantern Festival) occurs on the 15th day on the Lunar calendar, which is February 24 (tomorrow!).
There are certain auspicious foods that you should eat during the Chinese New Year. Every year there are two that I always try to do- and so far it certainly hasn’t hurt!
1. Eat Dumplings.
Dumplings are symbols of wealth, because traditional Chinese money were gold and silver ingots. This is pretty easy to do- there are so many places that offer dumplings, even food carts and restaurants that aren’t Chinese food specific. In fact this year I got them from a Thai cart, and the first dumplings you see below are from a Korean restaurant. Another more creative take on this is to visit The Dump Truck food cart, which focuses just on creative dumplings such as bacon cheeseburger dumplings and Potato Curry dumpling or Mr Ma dumpling on the right below.
One great version of dumplings I had was when I was visiting in LA and we went to ROC Kitchen as covered by my brother at his blog and the photos are his. The pot stickers I made our table wait 15 minutes for (even though we had already eaten everything else we ordered- I tried to order it with our original waitress but she didn’t understand but when the owner came to check on us I asked for them based on online reviews that recommended it) were totally worth it.
Long noodles represent a nice long life, so when eating noodles for this time of year means ordering the longest noodles you can (rather than say, pan fried flat rice noodles extra crispy which is a favorite of mine because you don’t want the noodles to be cut). Other than that though, they can be any kind of noodles you want- flour, rice, egg, wheat, etc. This year I fulfilled this by slurping up long ramen noodles at Hakatamon with work colleagues.
But feel free to go all out by going to Boke Bowl which specializes in ramen with fancy upgrades like the fried chicken and pork belly as you see below, visit a chinese pulled noodle specialist such as Noodle House Food Cart, or by simply rocking noodles with garlic like what you see below from Star Noodle (which I still remember so fondly and look forward to visiting again this year in Maui).
There are more foods to eat- check out this cool infographic from one of the blogs I read, Steamy Kitchen, for more foods to eat- and she also provides recipes to try!
The Chinese New Year Lantern viewings at the local Lan Su Chinese Gardens are sold out already this year, but consider visiting anyway any other time of year. I love the tranquility once you walk through the entrance even though it is located downtown essentially, and they have a tea house where you can enjoy a selection of various Chinese teas and snacks.