Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Doubly Happy Chinese New Year: The Food

For all the fuss I made over the decor for our Chinese New Year party, I knew probably like two of our guests would notice.  Let's face it, when people come over to our house, what they want . . . need . . . expect is food.  Lots and lots of food.

And I wasn't about to disappoint.  Though there was a small part of me that didn't want to sully my "tablescape" with actual food, we put together a menu of symbolic foods that would bring on good luck for the new year.

We ended up purchasing most of the food, but I couldn't not bake something.  So I made Hong-Kong-style Portuguese egg tarts (recipe to come later this week).  Eggs are a symbol of fertility.

From a Chinatown bakery, I bought custard buns and lotus-filled moon cakes.  The latter are usually eaten for the Mid-Autumn Festival, but some also serve them for New Year, in honor of the lunar year.  I also got nian gow, sweet sticky rice cakes, which I fried up with some eggs a la minute.

We also served noodles (for long life), mixed vegetable moo shu (for family harmony), scallion pancakes (a sub for green onions, which signify an everlasting life), and egg rolls (which, because they look like gold bars, symbolize wealth).

We also served veggie dumplings and mandarin oranges, which both also symbolize wealth.  Chinese people are real serious about wealth!!!  We served everything with some ice cold Tsingtao beer and lots of Chinese candy.

Part of me wishes I had the time to make more of the food, but I have to admit that it was pretty awesome to have a party where I didn't have to spend days in the kitchen beforehand to ensure that people were fed.  And clean-up was also super easy, with nothing more than a few cupcake tins and a pan or two to worry about washing.

I wasn't sure whether a Chinese New Year party would be fun or stressful, but I have to admit that I had such a fun time planning and executing this with my husband.  He was so excited (sometimes overly so!) about this, and I'm so touched that he was so passionate about celebrating both aspects of our Chewism. I can't wait to plan the next one!

Happy 4079 everyone!!


kristie February 16, 2011 at 2:14 AM  

looks like fun. Too bad you didn't do the LOW HAY where you mix everything up. The mooncake for new years is kind of gross to me though.

Try Anything Once Terri February 16, 2011 at 8:13 AM  

Wow! Look at this spread! Can I come next year? :)

melinda February 16, 2011 at 9:18 AM  

What a great spread! I'm seriously hungry now. I heard an NPR piece about moon cakes and now I'm desperate to try them!

lobster February 17, 2011 at 11:15 AM  

Wow everything looks so awesome! Love chinese new year treats!

Mrs. Hot Cocoa February 17, 2011 at 10:27 PM  

@ kristie and melinda: I have to admit that the moon cakes were super gross. Melinda, fresh moon cakes from a real bakery -- like one in Hong Kong -- can be good. But the bakeries here in Chinatown are not good.

@ Terri: Hells yeah!

PapayaDog February 18, 2011 at 1:26 PM  

Everything looks AMAZING!

Wanderlust February 18, 2011 at 10:27 PM  

wow, what a feast! i admit i love mooncakes.. :)

BigAppleNosh February 23, 2011 at 11:35 AM  

Everything looks great - I loved reading this post :)

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