By Allison Fritz
This week is the start of Chinese New Year, which is a very big and important holiday*. There are so many different things to do and so many different customs during Chinese New Year so I decided to focus mainly on food. I decided to introduce some different foods and snacks that me and my family eat around Chinese New Year. Everyone might eat different things, but these are the snacks that I eat. Some are traditional foods of Chinese New Year with a lot of symbolism, and some are just snacks that I enjoy that happen to eaten at this time! These are just a few of the many foods to eat on Chinese New Year!
*This was written at the start of Chinese New Year, so date may vary based on day it is read.
Apples probably seem like a very common and typical food that many people like to eat, including to me. I added in this fruit because of its symbolism. People eat apples during Chinese New Year because in Chinese, apple is ping guo, which sounds like ping (peace). So you give and eat apples for a peaceful life.
Since it is the Year of the Pig, I assumed that people would not eat pork this year, but I was wrong. I found out that during Chinese New Year people eat pork, and it is especially symbolic this year because it is the Pig Year.
I love any type of noodles, so it is great that noodles are eaten on Chinese New Year! Very long noodles are eaten because they represent longevity. You are not supposed to break the noodle, because the noodle symbolizes life.
This next one is called Chun Zhao, which is basically a snack for the coming of spring and it is only sold during/around Chinese New Year. I’m not sure if it is sold everywhere; I definitely know that they have them in Taiwan. It is hard to describe but it is like a glazed piece of dough that was fried. The ingredients include wheat powder, sugar, palm oil, maltose and yeast. They are very sweet, however, just the right amount of sweet, and they don’t overwhelm you.
Turnip cake is a popular dish during Chinese New Year. It may sound like an odd appetizer to eat but it is actually very delicious. They are called turnip cake but actually made out of white radishes. They are pretty easy to make one of my favorite foods!
Nian Gao (Year Cake)
This is a very traditional thing to eat at Chinese New Year. It is not exactly like a typical cake that you would expect, but it is still very delicious. Everyone probably prepares it a little differently, but the way that I ate it was surrounding the cake in batter.
Nian means year and Gao means cake, but it also sounds like high or tall. The symbolism behind this food item is that eating this, you will have a high or tall year filled with prosperity.
(*Photo- The nian gao is the one in the middle)
There are still so many things to eat during Chinese New Year but these are the foods I have chosen. I hope that you will have a chance to try these foods if you haven’t already!