Secret of Chinese New Year's Eve Dinner
Before the Spring Festival every year, a "great migration" of hundreds of millions of people is staged in China. People away from hometown will put down their work, and order their tickets for returning to their hometown, even though they might spend a day or two on the way, just to catch up with the dinner on Chinese New Year's Eve. The importance of Lunar New Year's Eve dinner is like Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner in western countries. It is not only the start of the most important traditional festival in China - the Spring Festival, but also it carries the mission of conveying the connotation of "family" of Chinese people from generation to generation.
The dishes for the New Year's Eve are quite varied, and if you happen to be a foreigner who has just arrived in China, you may feel confused. To this end, "Home in Chengdu" provides you with a full guide to Chengdu New Year's Eve dinner.
The essence of Chinese New Year's Eve is "variety" and "full coverage", where not only the connotation of great ceremony is demonstrated, but also it conveys the meaning of abundance in the past year and a good hope for the upcoming year. Due to the vast territory of China, the eating habits vary from place to place, and there are also various choices for the dishes. On the Lunar New Year's Eve dinner table in Chengdu, not only must there be chicken, duck and fish based "big dishes", but also a lot of exquisite small dishes supplemented by a nourishing soup dish.
Regular dishes: Braised Fish, Fish in Pickled Soup, Braised Pork, Pork Steamed with Rice Powder, Chicken Braised with Taro, Duck Braised with Konjac, Ground Pork Fried with Rice Noodles, etc.
Soup: Duck in Pickle Soup / Cuttlefish and Chicken Soup / Kidney Bean and Pig Feet Soup / Lotus Root and Pork Rib Soup / Fish Head and Rice Noodle Soup (one of them will do);
Side dishes: Steamed Sweet Marbled Pork, Steamed Salty Marbled Pork, Sausage and Smoked Pork Combination, fried vegetables and so on.
Materials for Common Dishes
• Braised Fish
Materials needed: a living fish, green onions, ginger, garlic, prickling pepper, hot pepper, sugar, soy sauce, cooking wine
• Sweet Steamed Marbled Pork
Materials needed: marbled pork, glutinous rice, red beans, white sugar, brown sugar, cooking wine
• Pork Steamed with Rice Powder
Materials needed: rice powder, marbled pork, ginger, chopped green onion, soy sauce, cooking wine
• Chicken Braised with Taro
Small taro, chopped chicken, Pixian broad bean sauce, Sichuan pickle, pickled pepper, green onion, shallot, garlic, ginger, cooking wine, prickling pepper, dried hot pepper
You can get the materials needed for the preparation of New Year's Eve dinner in farmer's markets in Chengdu as well as in supermarkets. The farmer's market has the whole variety with reasonable price, and some markets also have a special recommendation for the festive dish preparation. But the buyer needs to ask for the price, so it is suitable for foreign friends with certain Chinese language ability. The shopping environment in supermarkets is more comfortable, but the variety is limited mainly on raw materials. One can choose either way as he/she likes.
Farmer's markets: Shaoling Road Farmers' Market (No. 2 Shaoling Road, Chengdu), Yulin Vegetable Market (No. 11 Yulin Street West, Chengdu), Supo Farmer's Market (No. 28, Zhongpeng Road West, Chengdu)
Supermarkets: Carrefour, Wal-Mart, Yonghui Supermarket, etc.
Next, it's time for you to cook for your friends and family!
Of course, there are two tips of "full consideration" (for lazy bones, actually):
There are also restaurants in Chengdu that offer full-table dinner for deliver-to-home service. If you are not sure about homemade Chinese food, you can choose such a service to help you become an honored host;
The easiest and most convenient way, of course, is to go to a Chinese friend's home to "enjoy" a new year's dinner! Hospitable Chengdu people will not turn you down.