Year of the Goat
Award-winning restaurant China Sichuan share some of their traditional recipes synonymous with Chinese New Year, while Mak at D6 offer a modern take on some party dishes
Chinese New Year is the biggest and longest celebration on the Chinese calendar. Traditionally, festivities begin on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, with many Chinese people taking time off from work to celebrate during this period. On the eve of Chinese New Year families usually gather for a special reunion dinner at the home of the most senior member of the family. The meal is large and indulgent. Instead of serving starters and mains, it is more traditional in Chinese cooking for food to be placed in the centre of the table and for everyone to dig in and share. The dinner may also feature a communal hot pot representing the coming together of family members. While meat and fish are both enjoyed, it’s usual for some of the food to be kept aside and stored overnight, which is where the phrase ‘may there be surpluses every year’ comes from. Certain ingredients which symbolise prosperity, wealth and good luck tend to be eaten at this meal to get the year off to the right start. Red envelopes (see facing page) containing money are distributed to some members of the family during this reunion dinner. It’s also traditional to bring oranges as a gift everywhere you go.