The Year of the Dog is coming, and with it one of the most important meals of the year: New Year’s Eve dinner. It’s just like when the family all gathers around the table for Thanksgiving dinner, except there’s the added fun of getting to spin the food around. The only problem for most expats is that they don’t have much if any family with them here. Maybe you can’t do it up the way you like, but if you want to follow local traditions, here are the best ways to do it Shanghainese-style:
A Round Table
“Round” in Chinese is “yuan”, which is a homonym for “full”, “success”, and “comes true”. During the meal, people always make toasts and share their blessings.
The Order of Dishes
Dishes come one by one, in the following order: cold dishes, hot dishes, Chinese Dim Sum, and then soup.
Sliced Cold Chicken
The first cold dish of Shanghaiese New Year’s dinner. Chicken is called “ji” in Mandarin, and it is a homonym for luck and happiness.
It has bran, mushroom, fungus and peanuts. It’s sweet, salty and fresh.
Made with potato, red sausage, and peas, with egg yolk and salad dressing on top.
Sweet and Sour Spareribs
Steamed Dried Eel
Red Jujube with Glutinous Rice
Mandarin Fish Pine
Three Wire Buckle
Water Shoots Roast Pork
Savoy Bamboo Shoots
Stir-fried Eel with Hot Oil
Sautéed Lily Bulbs and Celery
Stewed Assorted Delicacies
Eight-Treasure Rice Pudding
It is a kind of traditional Chinese food, usually eaten at breakfast. Like mantou, baozi and youtiao. Spring rolls are another good choice at the beginning of the day, together with a cup of soybean milk. It is fried like youtiao, but has fillings like vegetables, meat or vermicelli inside a thin piece of flour skin. It is usually rectangular.
We hope this helps you pack on that extra layer to get you through this extra frigid season. Remember, in China you’re not fat, you’re just fortunate!