Widely celebrated in China, Vietnam and in the world – as will happen in Nice in particular on Saturday 28 January during a lunch organized by Madame Ling Hsu, president of the Nice Association China Horizon, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary -, New Year’s Eve is par excellence the party that allows the family to gather around a meal of their choice.
Also several gastronomic encounters, since the festivities last for fifteen days, up to the famous Lantern Festival. During which, this time, sticky rice balls are modeled accompanied by savory or sweet fillings.
While culinary traditions vary greatly from region to region, some dishes are common to the entire country. Even in China and Vietnam, as illustrated below by the presence of spring rolls.
Do not hesitate, in terms of decoration and dress code, to bet generously on red, a symbol of wealth and happiness. In addition to toasting often, each time expressing a personalized wish for one of your guests, as tradition dictates.
Overview of five dishes as delicious as they are indispensable, if you plan to prepare an Asian banquet in a workmanlike manner.
1. Spring rolls
A Vietnamese specialty, spring rolls are very popular in crunchy versions in China, where they are called chun juan.
In the south of the country it is customary to eat it on the first day of spring to celebrate the arrival of the new season. They are also believed to bring wealth and good luck.
2. Steamed fish
Fish is a must for Chinese New Year’s dinner. Indeed, in Chinese, the word “abundance” (yú) is a homophone of the word “fish”.
In ancient China, cooking fish for the New Year was said to save you from hunger for the rest of the year.
Typically, the fish is steamed with ginger and spring onions, but the recipe, cooking method, flavors and spices used vary by region.
As well as the choice of fish. However, it is common to opt for goldfish or catfish because their names in Chinese rhyme with “good luck” and “abundance”, or carp because it symbolizes wealth.
If the fish often appears in the decorative motifs used in China, it is above all for its great symbolic value!
3. One (more) occasion to eat ravioli
Dumplings are honored during many holidays (especially Dongzhi, the winter solstice) and are a great holiday classic in China.
Prepared with ginger, garlic and meat, and fried in a pan or steamed, ravioli are a symbol of prosperity, as they represent gold ingots in their shape. Delicious, dipped in rice vinegar, like at Asian Feast.
4. Longevity noodles
Also called chang shou mian, longevity noodles are made with mushrooms, chicken, garlic, chives and various sauces.
This dish is a must in Chinese cuisine. Tradition has it that this preparation is served especially on the seventh day of the Chinese New Year.
Symbol of longevity, this dish is associated with the idea that you should never cut your noodles, at the risk of shortening your life!
5. Nián gao, the New Year’s cake
Made from flour and sticky rice and traditionally flavored with red beans, longan or brown sugar, nián gao was initially used as an offering to gods and ancestors.
It then became a dessert to be eaten during the Spring Festival, so that this new beginning would bring happiness and prosperity.
So with strong symbolism, these tasty dishes are at the heart of Chinese culture and New Year festivities… Gong Xi Fa Cai! (Be happy and prosperous!)
The dumpling recipe (jiaozi)
Here is the traditional Chinese ravioli recipe from the Festin d’Asie restaurant in Nice.
Ingredients for 4 people (36 ravioli)
600 g of flour, 33 cl of warm water, 1 pinch of salt.
350 g pork, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 4 spring onions, 1/4 Chinese cabbage, 25 g garlic, 15 g ginger, pepper and salt. Optional: a washed “lucky charm” piece.
FOR THE SAUCE
3 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of black sesame oil, 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon of agave syrup, 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds.
Put the flour in a bowl and add the salt, stir and add the water. Knead until you get a non-sticky dough. Cover with cling film, leave to rest for 30 minutes. Prepare the sauce by combining all the ingredients.
For the filling, cut and finely chop the ginger, garlic and add them to the meat. Add water and mix. Add the sauce, mix and set aside. Finely chop the spring onions and cabbage, mix and combine with the filling, set aside in the fridge.
Once the dough has rested, cut out a piece. Flour it and roll it into a sausage shape. Cut them into one centimeter slices and flatten them to form very thin discs. Place a ball of filling in the center, fold the sides upwards, pressing downwards to form crescents. Plunge them into boiling water and when they come to the surface leave them for a minute then drain them.