Growing up in Houston, Texas, the most culturally diverse city in the United States, I was exposed to many different types of cuisine. Cajun, Vietnamese, Mexican (and Tex-Mex, of course), Chinese, French, Salvadoran, Indian, Pakistani, the list goes on and on. Two of these regions have distinct culinary specialties in the springtime, France and China.
A couple weeks ago, we took a short peek into wonderful springtime French cuisine. This week we will focus on a culture that has deep roots in spring. This is reflected in the amazing foods they enjoy each year during their New Year’s festivities.
The Chinese New Year begins February 12th and the food prepared to celebrate this occasion is both abundant and amazing. While there is the obvious inclination to use seasonal products because that is what is on hand, the Chinese have other motivations besides just nature with their traditional New Year’s (springtime) fare.
I’ve noticed anywhere from 7 to 12 “lucky foods” to eat in celebration of Chinese New Year. Most of these are representations for increased wealth and prosperity.
Dumplings (jiaozi) are shaped like gold ingots.
Fish is eaten strategically to have leftovers representing surpluses at the beginning and ending of each year.
Yuanxiao - glutinous rice flour balls (filled with sesame, peanuts or red bean paste), are associated with reunion and togetherness.
Niangao - Chinese New Year Cake (increasingly prosperous year) is made with sticky rice, sugar dates, lotus leaves and chestnuts.
Citrus - Referred to as ‘good fortune fruits’, represents longevity (with leaves), gold and luck.
Longevity noodles are uncut and therefore longer than normal noodles. These can be served stir-fried with meat and/or veggies or boiled and served in broth.
If you are at all familiar with Chinese New Year foods, you will notice that one delicacy is missing. Spring Rolls!
“Spring Rolls” is a literal Chinese translation based on the time of year they are traditionally enjoyed. They are shaped like gold bars, symbolizing wealth. In Shanghai, spring rolls are traditionally made with thin stripes of marinated pork, shiitake mushrooms, Napa cabbage, and beansprouts or thin vermicelli noodles (I haven’t seen a recipe with both). Western versions tend to have thin strips of carrots as well.
I have made these awesome little treats many times. I have some in my freezer right now! You don’t even have to thaw them out before frying. That’s why I built our newest seasonal event around them. The Roll into Spring Ultimate Combo!, which includes an amazing spring roll workshop. I will walk you through how to prepare a traditional version. I will also give you some ideas about how to make unique versions, including dessert spring rolls! Of course, we’ll do this with an amazing seasonal cocktail close by, then enjoy them both while playing a signature Evenchilada event!
So it’s time to round up your co-workers, family, friends, acquaintances, old high school friends that found you on Facebook, that strange neighbor that’s always watching your house with binoculars, everyone! Then head to evenchilada.com, fill out the booking form, and have the virtual, mask-free time of your life!
Check out our social media. Your next online event content should be with us. Some of our events and hybrid events use breakout sessions. Evenchilada’s content is perfect for attendees of virtual events. But these days successful virtual events with virtual attendees are a great way to achieve attendee engagement. Our sessions have content that is a great way to reach people at home, where many virtual conferences are taking place. Virtual events are great for people at home and virtual conferences. Physical events, in person events, and hybrid events are the best way for real time events.