Most Chinese holiday celebrations are marked by large family gatherings with culturally traditional foods provided in abundance. If you're planning to visit a local Chinese restaurant, such as Lotus Inn Restaurant, to celebrate Chinese New Year this year, it's important that you understand what those traditional foods are. Here's a look at some of the classic dishes that you are likely to find on the menu at a Chinese buffet for the New Year celebration.
The Tray of Togetherness
A Tray of Togetherness is an appetizer tray that is divided into eight separate compartments. The number eight is lucky in Chinese culture. The appetizer tray will be filled with foods such as red melon, coconut and kumquats, because these foods are used as wishes for happiness, prosperity and togetherness in the year to come.
Oranges and tangerines are popular fruits served at Chinese New Year celebrations. The Chinese word for orange resembles the Chinese word for gold, so oranges are often used to represent a wish for wealth in the year ahead. The Chinese word for tangerine resembles the word used for luck, so tangerines are often served as a way to represent a desire for good luck.
Jai is a vegetarian dish that's often included for New Year celebrations because of a belief in its cleansing properties. Each of the ingredients added to the dish is included as a representation of specific desires, such as those for health, prosperity and well-being. Jai consists of lotus seeds, sea moss, lily buds, Chinese black mushrooms and noodles.
Nian gao has become a staple of Chinese New Year celebrations. The name means year cake, so it's used as a representation of the wishes to reach new heights in the year ahead. The cake is made from steamed nuts, seeds and red dates. When combined, the ingredients produce a soft cake with lots of texture from the seeds and the nuts. Steaming makes the cake very moist, which keeps the dates soft as well. This is often added to the buffet as a sweet finish to the savory additions on the menu.
If you're getting ready to celebrate the Chinese New Year and you're visiting a local Chinese restaurant for a holiday buffet, understanding the traditional dishes and the cultural representations of the menu can make a big difference. With the information here, you'll be able to approach that buffet table understanding not only what is being served, but also the significance of each dish.
Before marrying my amazing husband nine years ago, I had never baked a cake in my life. At our wedding shower, one of my beloved aunts gifted me with several types of cake pans including three single layer ones. Never one to waste a gadget, I anxiously stirred up my first desert, a towering rich red velvet cake, with my new cake pans. Since baking this first cake, I’ve become known around my community as an expert red velvet cake baker. Around Christmas time, I always get requests to make this tantalizingly delicious dessert. One of the secrets to my success is adding an abundant amount of liquid to my batter in the form of oil and buttermilk. On this blog, you will discover the other ingredients needed to have your own red velvet Christmas this year.