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The auspicious tastes of Chinese New Year

FOODIE

Traditions and superstitions continue at Chinese New Year in Hong Kong in the form of auspicious dishes and ingredients that are sought by those looking for prosperity. Here are some of the foods to look out for to make your year of the rooster full of health and wealth!

 

The word in Chinese for fish is yoo which also sounds like the word for 'surplus'. As we’ll discover, homonyms – or words which sound similar – are very important. As everyone likes to have something left over, fish is a sign that the year has been successful.

 

It’s not just any fish though, as crucian carp, catfish and mud carp are all especially auspicious. Even how a fish is eaten means a lot, as it should be placed with the head towards distinguished guests or elders, as a sign of respect. It should also be the last dish eaten – and some must be left over as it’s another sign of surplus.

Dumplings are another dish eaten, traditionally on New Year’s Eve in northern China. Some believe that the more dumplings you can eat during the celebrations, the more money you’ll make in the year ahead! Lucky dumplings should have pleats, not be flat, and be arranged in lines instead of circles – as otherwise it represents a year going round in circles.

 

Fruits are a huge part of Chinese New Year, especially those which are round and golden in colour as they symbolize wealth. As such, you can expect to see plenty of tangerines, oranges and pomeloes, while displaying tangerine trees is a classic decoration across Hong Kong and the rest of China. Oranges and tangerines are another homonym, as cheng, the Chinese for ‘orange’, sounds the same as ‘success’.

 

Next up is a tradition emanating from Germany that has taken over the world. Oktoberfest combines serious German beers, live music from Bavarian bands, plates of hearty food, dancing and singing – all under one tent. The German Bierfest is Asia’s longest-running outdoor German beer festival and big hit with beer fans. Hundreds of thousands of visitors head for the giant marquee overlooking spectacular Victoria Harbour to eat authentic German food, clink steins and sing along to some good old oompah pah.

 

Finally, the most traditional way to enjoy beers remains in one of the thousands of bars across Hong Kong. You’re spoilt for choice.

 

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