The Rockpool Files

Eight auspicious dishes by Neil Perry for Chinese New Year

It is Chinese tradition to celebrate the Lunar New Year, which falls this year on Tuesday, 5 February and is celebrated until Tuesday, 19 February, with a feast abundant in foods that are believed to bestow good luck and good fortune on those who eat them.

Spice Temple's Kung Pao Chicken
Spice Temple’s Kung Pao Chicken

For those looking for a positive start to the Chinese New Year, indulging in the following foods may help edge things in that direction:

•   Tea eggs are some of the most popular foods for Chinese New Year and symbolise golden nuggets, or wealth and prosperity. Eggs, more  generally, symbolise fertility.

•   Pipis represent coin purses, therefore wealth, as well as the opening of new horizons.

•   Shiitake mushrooms are a symbol of longevity; they also symbolise sizing opportunities.

•   Dumplings are another traditional must-eat food on New Year’s Eve, symbolising longevity and wealth as their shape resembles gold ingots, an early form of Chinese.

•   Noodles are another symbol of longevity and it is considered unlucky to cut them.

•   Fish is turbocharged with symbolism as the word in Chinese sounds like the word for both wish and abundance. A whole fish, with head and tail attached, marks the end of a good year and the beginning of a new one. A whole fish is also a symbol of prosperity.

•   Chicken symbolises a good marriage and the coming together of families.

•   Red is considered a lucky colour in Chinese culture, so feasts are often strewn with red food, including roast duck and tomatoes.

Try making these eight auspicious dishes by Neil Perry:

Tea Eggs 

Stir-fried pipis in bean sauce with chillies

Shiitake wontons in oxtail broth

Pork chive dumplings with red vinegar sauce

Barbecued snapper with black beans and salted chillies 

Crispy fried snapper with sweet and sour sauce

Kung pao chicken

Stir-fried chicken with cashews