New Year’s Eve, Shanghainese-Style

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.



[Cold Dishes]

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.





Six-Baked Bran

It has bran, mushroom, fungus and peanuts. It’s sweet, salty and fresh.






Shanghai Salad

Made with potato, red sausage, and peas, with egg yolk and salad dressing on top.




Scallion Jellyfish



Oil-Exploded Fish



Sweet and Sour Spareribs




Steamed Dried Eel




Red Jujube with Glutinous Rice




[Hot Dishes]

Sauteed Shrimp



Mandarin Fish Pine



Three Wire Buckle




Stir-Fried Shrimp



Water Shoots Roast Pork




Roast Pork




Savoy Bamboo Shoots




Stir-fried Eel with Hot Oil




Sautéed Lily Bulbs and Celery




“Eight-Treasure” Duck




Stewed Assorted Delicacies




[Dim Sum]

Eight-Treasure Rice Pudding




Spring Roll

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.



Cooked Fruit


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!


Source: eastday