Last night in Shanghai, the firecrackers started exploding outside our window around 11:30pm. The ricocheting and often ear-splitting noises signaled, of course, the start of Chinese New Year. The kabooming didn't stop until 2am, and I could finally drift off to sleep with visions of longevity noodles dancing in my head.
The best part about Chinese New Year is the food, but I'll get to that later. I thought it would be fun to ask some of my favorite bloggers to share how they're celebrating the "niu" year.
Robyn from Eating Asia - Other than downing a few Chinese New Year treats (like duck potatoes) we won't be celebrating much. We'll spend much of the holiday in the Little India in Klang (an hour south of KL) - research for an assignment that we've got to finish up before we leave right after CNY for a couple weeks in Thailand. These days it seems working on holidays is the norm for us. Goes with the territory, I guess. (I'm not complaining)
Michele from Fine Furious Life - This year, I'm being unusually sentimental and unusually Chinese (though I was raised in Hong Kong, I am only half Chinese, and have not celebrated the occasion for many years.) It could be that the older you get, the more you value your roots. Whatever the case, I will be spending Lunar "New Year's Eve" at a potluck party with my new friend and fellow Serious Eats contributor, the Vietnamese-American Tam. I'll be attempting a classic Cantonese dish for the first time: hair fungus with lotus root and dried oysters, traditionally eaten at New Year because its name sounds like the Chinese words for "perpetual prosperity and good business". I've only ever eaten my grandmother's version, but she's too ill this year to teach me. I guess I'll Google it, wing it, and hope for the best.
Fiona from Quirky Beijing - Hong Kong and Taipei with my mom and grandma, eating a good old fashioned Cantonese dinner and playing hours of mahjong.
Lilly from Consuming Lilly - I'm scrubbing down my house this weekend, buying fruit, & doing everything lucky for a *hopefully* luckier year. Xin Nian Kwai Le!
Wandering Chopsticks - I do a gift exchange with my aunts and uncles. I've already received three banh tet (Vietnamese sticky rice cakes) for this year. In return, I usually give them some fruit and baked goods. Fruits are auspicious or unlucky depending on what they look or sound like. For example, papayas are lucky because the word also means plenty, so gifting someone with several papayas means I wish for them to have more than plenty in the coming year. I usually give them the fruit the day before the Lunar New Year begins so they have the fruit for their altar offerings the evening before. Last year I got some homemade headcheese. Yum! And the Chinese association from my village in Vietnam holds a scholarship banquet each lunar new year. Also, this year, one of my second-cousins is competing in the Miss Chinatown Los Angeles pageant. :P
Jim from Beijing Boyce - As is tradition, I will watch the fireworks from my 18F apartment, which gives me a view of the skyline and up to 30 or 40 displays at once. Here is a video I made of it two years ago. Of course, I will also eat plenty of dumplings, and I plan to try some Chinese wines I've been holding for a while, in my quest to separate the drinkable from the not.
Helen from World Foodie Guide - I'll be celebrating Lunar New Year with all my relatives in London (although most of them are in Hong Kong and my parents in Costa Rica). It's traditional that one family will host the event and cook the huge dinner, which will include that dish of whole dried scallops, fat choy and Chinese mushrooms. There will also be fried nian go after dinner. And being one of the oldest cousins, and married as well, I have to hand out lucky red envelopes rather than receive them!
Lizzie from Lizzie Eats London - For CNY I will be making marbled tea eggs - first time for me! Hopefully Mum will make some turnip cake for me too!
Chuck from Sunday Nite Dinner - This year we're having Chinese hot pot for our SND Lunar New Year get together. I may make the Viet version of it and celebrate Tet amongst my Chinese friends. It will be one man's lonely Tet celebration in the middle of a Chinese New Year party. I say all this in jest. But I am actively looking to recruit more Viet people for SND!!!
Bee from Rasa Malaysia - (On celebrating New Year in Malaysia) Growing up Chinese New Year was so much fun, especially in Penang. As I came from a BIG family, all the family members would get together in my late-grandmother's house for reunion dinner. We would set up two long communal tables in the house and eat "steamboat" (Malaysian ways of saying "hotpot") and various festive dishes. Then on the first day of CNY, it's about dressing up in new clothes and shoes and say "Gong Xi Fa Cai" to the elders to get ang pows (red packets). Family and friends would come and visit and we would serve Chinese New Year cookies and local cakes, such as Kuih Kapit, Kuih Bahulu, Kuih Bangkit, candies, peanut cookies, sunflower seeds, etc., and it's the times we get to drink sodas (Sarsi, Fanta orange, and Fanta grape). And of course, we get to play with firecrackers at night.
Kian from Red Cook - I am serving New Year Hot Pot this year. I'll be blogging about all the different dumplings and fish balls, and how to make them.
Matt from Terracotta Typewriter - This is our last Spring Festival in China for foreseeable future, so we decided to go all out on a family dinner at home--my wife, mother-in-law, and an American friend. My mother-in-law cooked most of the food, and I added some matzoh ball soup to the mix. By 8, my wife and mother-in-law had to watch CCTV while my friend and I talked and continued to eat. We began setting off fireworks from the balcony when we got bored. With so much leftover food, we gave some to the guards of the building. Just before midnight we headed out, bought more fireworks on the corner, and headed for an area near Shenzhen Bay where it looked like plenty of people were having fun. We stuck around there until 1 or so, and headed home for dumplings.
Nathan from House of Annie - We celebrated CNY by having a Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 dinner at our house, with Carolyn Jung of FoodGal and Michael Chu of Cooking for Engineers, plus their spouses, as guests.
How did you celebrate this year?