The Year of the Pig is fast approaching…are you guys ready? I have super fond memories of Lunar New Year and every time it comes around, I know that I’m going to get a little bit fluffier because of all the delicious food that is around. Food is a huge part of celebrating and I’m here to tell you some solid options for what to cook for the Lunar New Year!
But, I guess before we get to the list, maybe I should explain what Lunar New Year is? It’s huge festival all over Asia celebrating the beginning of the new year, which follows a different calendar – one that counts the first new moon sometime between January and February as the start of year. Essentially it’s a time where everyone gathers around with family, eats a TON, and participates in a bunch of good luck traditions.
For extra good luck in the Year of the Pig:
- Clean, but only before February 5th and not on February 5th. Commit to some extra early spring cleaning and you’ll be sweeping out any negativity that happened the past year and your house will be spic and span. Definitely don’t clean or sweep/vacuum on New Year’s Day though or you’ll sweep away all of your freshly gotten luck. If you want to be neurotic about it, don’t clean for the first 5 days of the new year.
- Meet up with your family. Reunion dinner is a big thing and it’s reason for that crazy mass exodus from the cities to the countryside that happens in China. Apparently people have to buy train tickets months out. Anyway, reunion dinner is on LNY eve and if you can, meet up with your family at home for dinner. Nowadays, at least around here, some people go out for reunion dinner too, so do whatever feels best to you as long as it’s with family.
- The color red. Decorate your house with red decorations and deck yourself out in red on February 5th. Even better if you have some brand new red clothes to wear. Red is a lucky color and wearing new clothes on the very first day of the year means that you’ll have lots of new clothes to wear for the year.
- Food. Must eats: dumplings, mandarins, spring rolls, fish, new years cake, and noodles. Dumplings kind of sort of look like gold ingots, so if you eat dumplings you’ll be rich. Mandarins are great for decorating and eating because they represent gold. Lots of oranges means lots of gold. Deep fried spring rolls look like gold bars, so if you eat them, you’ll also be rich. Fish is also a thing because there’s a lucky saying in Chinese, nian nian you yu, which roughly translates to: lots to spare, year after year. The last word, yu, is also a homonym for fish, so it kind of sounds like saying year after year, fish! Which is super cute and makes sense as well because if you teach someone to fish, well, they’re set. And, as for noodles, they represent long life.
Anyway, here are some things to make for extra luck in the Year of the Pig!
Sweet and Sour Pork – it’s red and it’s Year of the Pig!
Mapo Tofu – a classic and it’s a lucky color.
General Tso’s Chicken – ditto on the lucky red color.
Spicy Wonton – eat more of them, it means you’ll be rich.
Spicy Chili Oil Noodles – gotta live that long noodle life
Super Easy Chicken Chow Mein – more noodles, more life, just like that Drake album.
Pork and Cabbage Pan-Fried Potstickers – crispy, juicy, lil pouches of deliciousness.
Chinese Hot Pot Feast – have a hot pot feast! The best way to gather around the table.
Shrimp Potsickers – super easy to make and eat pan-fried shrimp dumplings.
Green Onion and Soy Sauce Steamed Fish and Noodles – double whammy: fish and noodles for double luck!
PS – If you’re looking for some vegan recipes, for Lunar New Year, check these ones out!