The Year of the Tiger is upon us with the Chinese New Year on Tuesday, February 1, 2022. Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, is the most important festival in China and probably a major event in some other East Asian countries such as South Korea, Mongolia, Taiwan, and even in other Southeast Asian countries. In the Philippines, Chinese New Year is celebrated as a special non-working holiday as this is a manifestation of the solidarity of the Chinese-Filipino people.
Typically, to usher in the celebration of the Chinese New Year, Chinese families, as well as Filipinos, prepare lucky food and items for dinner to bring in good fortune, prosperity, and wealth for the year ahead. These traditional Chinese New Year meals have auspicious symbolism and significance based on their pronunciations or appearance. Not only do the dishes themselves matter, but as well their preparation, presentation, and how they are served and consumed.
If you want a prosperous New Year ahead, aside from the lucky charms and decorations around your condo, consider preparing these lucky Chinese foods and dishes, whether you are in a condo living set up or not. Also, it would be nice for your condo design to add these foods to your Chinese New year celebration!
Tikoy or Glutinous Rice Cake for Higher Income or Position
One of the most famous Chinese foods that are usually served on the Eve of Chinese New Year that Filipinos definitely enjoy is Niangao/ Tikoy or Glutinous Rice Cake. Nian Gao is a lucky dish because, in the Chinese language, glutinous rice cake sounds like “getting higher year after year by year". This implies that there is a sudden increase in your life. Examples of this would be children’s height, better grades in school, rise in business success, promotions at work, etc.
Eating niangao also suggests that the higher you go in life, the more prosperous you and your business will be, which is why Chinese people believe that eating this is considered lucky.
Niangao or Tikoy is made from sticky or glutinous rice which is ground into flour and then mixed with sugar, lard, and water. There are also a lot of popular flavors to incorporate like pandan and ube or purple yam. Even non-Chinese Filipinos buy tikoy in boxes during this time of the year to support local business, and often prepare this by dipping the thin-sliced pieces of tikoy into a bowl of beaten eggs, then frying in oil. If you’re in a condo in Manila or a condo in Mandaluyong, you can easily go to Binondo to buy boxes of tikoy for your Chinese New Year celebration.
Fish for an Increase in Prosperity
A Chinese New Year menu is not complete without a Fish. Cooked fish, whether steamed, briled, or braised, is a traditional Chinese New Year dish that symbolizes an increase in prosperity and bountiful harvest. This is served as a whole, with its head and tail.
In the Chinese language, fish sounds like ‘surplus’. Chinese people always like to have a surplus at the end of the year because they believe that if they preserve something at the end of the year, they will be able to make more the following year, which is why fish should be the last food left with some leftovers as this has lucky energy for the Chinese people. They like to have surpluses every year, thus, eating fish on the eve of the Chinese New Year and leaving leftovers is a representation of the surplus they attract for the upcoming year.
Chinese dumplings for Wealth
These tiny and delicious packages of meat, vegetables, and spices are essential in every Chinese New Year because these symbolize wealth, fortune, and prosperity. Chinese dumplings are said to be shaped like Chinese silver and gold ingots, which are very symbolic in Chinese heritage.
To make dumplings, minced meat and finely chopped vegetables are wrapped in a thin and elastic dough skin. Minced pork, diced shrimp, fish, ground chicken, beef, and veggies are all popular fillings of dumplings and they can be prepared in a variety of ways, including boiling, steaming, frying, and baking. Legend has it that the more dumplings you eat during the New Year celebration, the more money you can make in the year. So make sure you eat a lot of those Chinese dumplings for wealth!
Spring Rolls for Wealth
These are named Spring rolls because these are traditionally eaten during the Spring Festival, but here in the Philippines, these are called lumpia and these are served practically in every Filipino celebration there is. This dish symbolizes wealth for Chinese people because the spring rolls look like gold bars.
Traditionally, spring rolls are filled with meat, vegetables, and spices, that are wrapped in thin dough wrappers creating a cylinder-shaped figure. These are usually fried in oil until they become golden yellow in color.
Noodles for Happiness and Longevity
Longevity noodles are a staple food at every celebration not just for Chinese, but also for Filipino people. Obviously, these noodles symbolize a wish for longevity, long life, and are considered lucky food to eat on Chinese New Year. They say that the longer the noodle, the longer the life is; thus, chewing and cutting your noodles is absolutely forbidden. Slurping is how you can definitely enjoy the longevity noodles.
Chinese people serve these longevity noodles either fried and served on a plate or boiled and served in a bowl with their broth. Here in the Philippines, Pancit Canton or Pancit Bihon is the most popular noodle dish during this time of celebration.
Round Fruits for Fortune and Health
Tangerines and mandarin oranges, as well as pomelos, are consumed during the Chinese New Year period. These are considered good fortune fruits because they are particularly round and golden in color, indicating wealth and fullness. Eating tangerines and oranges is believed to bring good luck and fortune. This is because the Chinese word for orange sounds the same as the Chinese word for success. Displaying these fruits also attracts good energy into your house or condo, plus it adds a different festive vibe to your condo design.
Whole Chicken for Unity and Family
Another traditional food that is served during Chinese New Year is a whole chicken. Serving a whole chicken, whether steamed or roasted, during Chinese New Year is a symbol for the family. It represents the reunion and rebirth of the family. Traditionally, the chicken is cooked as a whole, with its head and claws. It is said that the heads of the family or the ones who are working should eat the feet of the chicken to help them “grasp onto wealth”. Eating the wings of the chicken will, on the other hand, help you fly or achieve your dreams.
As we usher in another prosperous year, Chinese New Year is all about warding off evil spirits and welcoming good fortune into our lives. Despite the fact that we Filipinos adhere to many Chinese values, many of us still seek advice on how to celebrate this holiday. May these lucky foods help you be prepared for the upcoming year of the Tiger ahead! The extra and leftover food can be transformed or eaten the next day so don't throw blessings away!
This Chinese new year, why not start your luck by celebrating the holiday in a condo in Manila or a condo in Mandaluyong. Vista Residences offers ready-for-occupancy condo units that are perfect for you and your family.
Vista Residences is the condominium arm of the country’s largest homebuilder, Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc. that offers ready for occupancy and pre-selling condominium projects in Manila, Makati, Mandaluyong, Quezon City, Ortigas, Baguio, Cebu, and CDO that are strategically located within major cities, in close proximity to premium universities, transit-oriented locations, and developed business districts.
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