|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 11, 2010
For media inquiries, contact:
510.668.0808 ext. 106
Maria Phelan or Michele Voelkening
702.606.3381 (cell) or 702.610.4064 (cell)
CHINESE NEW YEAR BANQUETS BRING GOOD LUCK, HAPPINESS
Dining out at a local Chinese restaurants or take home a Chinese meal is a popular form to celebrate the Chinese New Year in the U.S. If that's what you are thinking, dine at one of this year's Top 100 Chinese restaurants that are ranked by Chinese Restaurant News (http://www.Top100ChineseRestaurants.com). From Connecticut to Florida, Alaska to Hawaii, from Wild Ginger in New York to Happy Harbor in Los Angeles, from Lao Beijing in Chicago to China Palace in Stockton; from Moon Star in San Francisco to Yum Yum Kitchen in Salt Lake City, from Tian Fu in Wellesley, Ma to Szechuan House in Baltimore, MD; you can view and choose from past and current Top 100 winning Chinese restaurants located in 44 states and in major metropolitan cities.
"An important part of celebrating the Lunar New Year is dining with family and having abundant feasts. It is also a Chinese tradition to select special ingredients and prepare good-luck dishes to put on the table. It is believed that eating the special dishes will bring you fortune and good luck," said Jacky Zhou, chef and owner of Happy Harbor in Rowland Heights, Calif. "Every year, we put out special menus for New Year’s banquets and parties. It is a tradition for us Chinese, but for our non-Chinese customers, food can be a fun way to learn about and understand a different culture. I believe that food is the best way to teach culture, and I always try to keep the tradition by serving the best quality food to our customers."
Chinese New Year food is symbolic and represents good luck, prosperity and health. Traditional banquet items include dumplings (representing good luck, fortune, and family togetherness), lettuce (representing prosperity) and fish, (in the Chinese language this is the same word for "success" or "abundance"). Noodles also are a Chinese New Year staple and they are never cut, as they symbolize a long-life.?
Chinese Restaurant News recommends the following dishes for those seeking to hold their own New Year's celebration. Eight traditional dishes were selected because in Chinese, the word "eight" sounds like "good luck."
Jiaozi – These "luck-telling" traditional Chinese dumplings are essential during Lunar New Year in Northern China. During preparation, the cook may hide a coin in one of the dumplings. The person who finds the coin will likely have a good fortune in the New Year. Having the luck-telling jiaozi during the Lunar New Year festival is just like taking fortune cookies in Chinese restaurants in the west. Common dumpling fillings include pork, mutton, beef, fish, and shrimp which are usually mixed with chopped vegetables.
Nian Gao – Chinese believe this auspicious dish can bring good fortune in the year ahead, both for its name and its sticky texture. It is made of glutinous rice flour, and features a sticky, soft and creamy texture. For this reason, it represents the family that sticks together, and is a must at Lunar New Year to wish for a family reunion. Sticky Cake is steamed and made with glutinous rice flour and dried fruit. Traditionally, Sticky Cake is made with a Chinese brown candy that is available at Asian markets.
Yuanxiao – A special food for the Lantern Festival, or Yuanxiao Festival, which takes place at the end of the Chinese New Year celebration, this dish is a kind of sweet dumpling rice ball. Yuanxiao is sticky, sweet and round in shape, symbolizing family unity, completeness and happiness. It is made with sticky rice flour filled with sweet stuffing and served in syrup water.
Lettuce Wraps – The Cantonese word for lettuce sounds like "rising fortune," so it is common to serve lettuce wraps filled with other lucky food. To turn this into an even more symbolic dish, dried oysters are substituted for the chicken meat, as dried oyster sounds like the word for "good."
Steamed Whole Fish – The word for fish, "Yu," sounds like the words both for "wish" and “plentiful” in Chinese. Serving a fish at the end of the meal symbolizes a wish for abundance in the coming year.
Lion's Head Meatballs – This visually appealing dish from Shanghai consists of oversized meatballs with bok choy "manes." In Chinese culture, the lion represents power and strength, while the meatballs symbolize reunion of family.
Eight Precious Pudding – This famous traditional banquet dessert usually contains eight kinds of dried candied fruits that represent eight precious stones. This dish is also popular because the number eight is considered lucky.
Yu Sheng – Also known as Lo Hei, this dish, a salad containing raw fish and crunchy vegetables, is traditionally served on the seventh day of Chinese New Year, which the Chinese celebrate as "everyone's birthday." The vegetables symbolize the renewal of life, while the fish signifies prosperity. According to Chinese legend, the higher you toss the Yu Sheng salad, the greater your luck and prosperity in the New Year.
CHINESE NEW YEAR BANQUETS BRING GOOD LUCK, HAPPINESS AND PROSPERITY FOR THE NEW YEAR