Kids & Company Blog

Eat As You Wish

Chinese New Year is a holiday known for its brilliant red decorations that adorn houses, images of the year of the monkey (which is this year), fireworks, the honouring of ancestors, and watching tremendous lion and dragon dances as a way to ring in the New Year. In the Western tradition we make New Year’s resolutions as a way to showcase our wishes for the New Year, but in Chinese tradition of the most important facet in marrying the coming year with the wishes each person has is the food! The food that you eat on the eve before the New Year is a way to express what you hope the New Year brings! With all the delicious dishes to welcome prosperity, health, longevity, and good fortune, you’ll run out of thing to wish for just to taste a bit of all these delicacies!


One of the main dishes enjoyed during Chinese New Year is a whole fish that is said to bring those who eat it prosperity in the coming year. This is because the words “fish” and “surplus” in Chinese sound very similar! However, it is not as simple as cooking a whole fish and eating it, there are many nuances to the consumption of the fish that are essential in ensuring that it brings wealth. Firstly, the head of the fish should face elders and distinguished guests at the table as a sign of respect. The most important part in eating the fish is ironically that you don’t eat the whole thing. In some regions of China there is a particular part of the fish you are supposed to save such as the tail, but overall not eating the entire fish means there will be a lot of surplus in the coming year. Eating all of the fish means that you won’t end up with any abundance at the end of the year.

Another very common dish to eat for Chinese New Year is Chinese dumplings! Dumplings are 1,800 years old and over the years have acquired a few different meanings and symbols.  Firstly, they symbolize family gatherings, which is an important part of the Chinese New Year as it is a means to bring unity before the coming year begins. Their crescent shape also makes them a symbol of wealth and in fact, it is said that the more dumplings you eat on New Year’s the more money you will make! These dumplings can be filled with many different things such as ground chicken, fish, beef, or simply veggies! The only commonly used ingredient inside these diverse dumplings is cabbage and radish, since it is said to make your skin more beautiful and your mood gentler. There are in fact ways to make your dumplings luckier! Sometimes a coin will be hidden in one of them and the person who finds it in their dumpling will have very good luck throughout the year! Similarly, arranging the dumplings in straight lines is said to give direction, rather than plating the dumplings in circles which lead nowhere.


There are many other wishes that one can request on this marvelous festival with amazing foods! This ancient lunar-calendar tradition most definitely knows that there can be no celebration without food!


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Chef Lisa Ruscica

Chief Food Ambassador

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