Today is the eve of the Lunar New Year aka Chinese New Year (even if not only the Chinese celebrate it, but perhaps because the Chinese celebrate it in the biggest possible way!) and it’s a big deal because today is the day when family gathers for the Reunion Dinner.
The Year of the Horse gallops in from tomorrow and it promises to be quite a wild ride if the pundits are to be believed so we’ll have to saddle up and cling on for what it’s worth! 😀
As is traditional at this time of year, I and MWS take a short break to allow me to go home and spend the festivities with my family. We’ll be back in about a week (CNY runs for 15 days! 😀 But no, work doesn’t stop for 15 days LOL) so if you celebrate the Lunar New Year, I wish you all the health, love and prosperity a new year and a new Spring has to offer. If you don’t and are local, I hope you enjoy the holidays and the feasting 😀
I thought I’d also share with you some of the stuff I got up to in preparation for the Chinese New Year 🙂
Chinese calligraphy of good fortune couplets written on red paper to bring good fortune and luck and prosperity. There is this man in Petaling St. Chinatown we seek out yearly. I can’t read a lot of the characters, but I enjoy watching him do the calligraphy. It’s an art form!
I spotted these at the market and I think they are large oranges but I suspect they are merely decorative, like those orange pumpkins you see on the top right. People will use these in prayers and probably symbolises gold and fortune. I don’t know, I’m just guessing but the Chinese are good at finding symbolic things for gold and prosperity LOL! 🙂
Here are some must-haves during the Chinese New Year period – Chinese leeks and Arrowhead bulbs. The former is usually sliced and stir-fried as a dish and the latter usually sliced and deep fried into chips. I’ve shown you some of the snacks that abound during the CNY period last year and it’s the same this year!
As for the Arrowhead bulbs or locally known as “Ngaku” I like them cooked with meat in a Hakka style dish a friend taught me a few years ago. We can only find these bulbs during the lead up to the Chinese New Year and never at any time thereafter so I only get to eat this once a year!
I love it cooked this way! I suppose since I don’t get to eat it often, I make the most of it LOL!
And here’s another must have – Nien Ko or New Year Cake which is a sticky steamed cake made from glutinous rice and sugar and steamed. It’s sweet and sticky and very nice eaten steamed, rolled in dessicated coconut, or battered and deep fried as a snack. I always go for those that are traditionally steamed in a banana leaf case instead of plastic. This way, I feel more comfortable eating them and the banana leaf infuses a flavour and fragrance that is very nice.
Traditionally, the story behind these sweet sticky cakes is to bribe/glue the Kitchen God’s mouth from reporting bad stuff about the household to the Jade Emperor. Because it’s so sticky, he won’t be able to say nasty things! LOL But I think it’s mostly just a sweet traditional treat for the festive season 😀
And finally, the one thing I can never be without at this time of year – giant crackers!
Not the kind that go boom! But the edible kind 😀 I prefer the fish crackers but I’m not fussy. Any giant crackers and a giant bag of it will do! 😀
I didn’t do a lot of prep this year but these are some of the must-haves that I make sure I pick up, alongside other snacks and goodies.
Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous Year of the Horse ahead and a lovely festive break as well! Be safe on the roads and have a great time!
Gong Xi Fa Cai! 😀