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Welcoming the Chinese New Year

11 January 2012

Happy Chinese New Year 2012 – the year of the Rabbit

As one New Year ends I’m getting set for Chinese New Year (CNY) celebrations, it’s like Christmas for us chinese people and means $_$!! Cities and towns all over the UK welcome the Year of the Dragon on or near Monday 23rd January, and oh boy, it’s all about wholesome, rich food!

Events happening in Sheffield

Where: Weston Park
When: Saturday 21st AND Sunday 22 January 2012 11:00am – 3:00pm
Price: Free
What’s happening? Pop over and launch China: Journey to the East in style and celebrate the Chinese New Year with Museums Sheffield. Activities include Chinese food and drink tasting, kite-making, Chinese dance, have a go at Mandarin, have a go at Tai Chi, puppet workshops, food and drink tasting, Dragon puppet workshop, have a go at Tai Chi and Chinese Calligraphy, and much more. Suitable for all the family and there’s no need to book. Events are FREE to attend!

Where: Sheffield City Hall
When: Monday 23 January 2012, Start Time: 19:00 Doors Open: 18:30
Price: tickets £4.00
What’s happening? An unforgettable evening of traditional provincial dances, singing and costumes at Sheffield City Hall. My dad goes every year with his friends – he enjoys the colourful entertainment and good old fashioned Chinese songs. Tickets for Chinese New Year (subject to booking fees) at City Hall are available online at through the ticket hotline on 0114 2 789 789 and in person at the Sheffield City Hall Box Office.

A big thank you to the organisers for arranging the celebrations in Sheffield – the Chinese community appreciates this lots!

Chinese New Year: Food for Thought

Food is an important part of Chinese New Year. I interviewed my mum about Chinese New Year Food Superstitions and here’s 8 Good Luck Foods my mum will no doubt be dishing up for all the family on the 23rd – take a filling journey to the Chinese gastronomic flair of wealth and fortune!

1. Tangerines and Oranges. Tangerines and oranges are passed out freely during Chinese New Year as the words for tangerine and orange sound like luck and wealth and displaying and eating them is said to bring wealth and luck too. “It’s good if they have leaves,” adds Mum, “because leaves symbolise longevity.”

2. Very long Noodles. Mum always serves the strands of the noodles as long as possible, she won’t cut the noodles before serving otherwise you’re snipping your life short. The longer the noodles, the longer your life will be.

3. Nian Gao means Year Cake, but gao sounds the same as the word for tall or high (in Chinese). Hence the cakes symbolise achieving new heights in the coming year. In Chinese people’s mind, the higher you are, the more prosperous your business is. Main ingredients of Nian Gao include sticky rice flour, brown sugar, chestnuts, Chinese dates and lotus leaves – my aunt will be making lots of this stuff for us. You can also buy Nian Gao in Chinese supermarkets but it’s quite expensive though.

4. Long Leafy Greens and Long Beans. Leafy greens, such as Chinese broccoli, are served whole to wish a long life for your parents (I’ll be chomping on lots of these leaves!).

5. Whole Fish. It’s important that the fish is served with the head, eyeballs and tail intact, mum says it’s “to ensure a good start and finish and to avoid bad luck throughout the year.”

6. Sweets. Serving desserts brings a sweet life in the new year. My all time favourite is the flaky cookie pockets called gok jai. They tend to be filled with peanuts, coconut, and sesame. Delicious!

7. Peking Duck. Peking duck is a traditional, authentic Chinese dish which represents fidelity. The red colour feature of this stands for happiness. Definitely the roasted delight is a must have on a Chinese New Year’s banquet.

8. Black Moss: In Chinese, black moss (fat choy) sounds like “fa cai,” which means “fortune” in English. Black moss soup is usually served with sliced pork for extra flavour as a starter.

There is an enormous choice of oriental and Chinese restaurants in Sheffield. They range from contemporary Chinese restaurants (for example, Simply Chinese Hui Wei) offering authentic cuisine, traditional Chinese restaurants offering Chinese food from specific regions of China (for example, one of my family’s favourites is Wong Ting on Matilda Street or Zing Vaa and of course the ever popular “all you can eat” Chinese buffets menus at selected restaurants (Sheffield Jumbo Buffet). Choose from Chinese, Thai (Baan Thai), Japanese (WasabiSabi), Vietnamese cuisines and dim sum restaurants and noodle bars – Noodle Inn or Hong Kong Wok, both situated on Sheffield’s London Road, or East One – take your pick.

I wish all my Chinese friends and followers a nommingly good time! :) – Oh, and remember to also say Kung Hei Fat Choi (in Cantonese) or Gong Xi Fa Cai! (in Mandarin) to your oriental friends and family, they’ll love it! (you might even get a nice little red packet with some lucky money in :)

{Illustration by Cindy Cheung}

Missie Cindz

posted under: Food and Drink, Sheffield