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Xīn Nián Kuài Lè!  Happy Chinese New Year!

Today begins the 15-day celebration of The Chinese Lunar New Year and start of the Year of the Monkey. This Spring Festival is a time for enjoying good food and cultural traditions. It’s also a welcome reminder to honor ancestors and family. “It’s a time of warmth, a time to go home, eat good food and an opportunity for everyone to express all their best wishes for the new year,” as described by Li Hong, the head of cultural affairs at Washington D.C.’s Chinese Embassy, told The Washington Post.

Food of Fortune

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Symbolism

Food is an important part of Chinese New Year celebrations and traditional dishes are rich with symbolic references. Fish, for example, stands for abundance. Long noodles symbolize long life. Prosperity and family are represented by dumplings shaped like the full moon and filled with pork, vegetables and shrimp.

It’s said that you can bring wealth and luck by displaying and eating oranges & tangerines. Keeping the leaves on is believed to bring longevity. But don’t group the fruit in fours as this number is associated with death and would tend to eliminate any fortunate benefits it seems.

As for meat, pork (with it’s fattiness) indicates a well-fed year to come. This bodes well for a favorite Chinese finger food, the Egg Roll!

Flavor

Chef Shahan Mouradyan has mastered many cuisines and earned a distinct reputation for crafting extraordinary flavors. As Executive Chef for Above All Catering & Events, Chef Shahan prepares menus and meals for thousands of events each year. Here he describes how to elevate taste and enjoyment of an otherwise ordinary egg roll:

One of my favorite Chinese foods is the egg roll. I’ve eaten a lot of them! But, even when ordering from various restaurants that specialize in Chinese food, I’m often left disappointed. I think it’s because of a lack of flavor. When they fill the rolls with cabbage and carrots alone, it just isn’t very appetizing.

So, to enjoy a more balanced, delicious taste, I like to prepare my egg rolls with ground pork and all the flavorful ingredients you see in my recipe. Just portion out the mixture in order to fill approximately 2 dozen wrappers.

My favorite oil to use for frying the rolls is soybean oil.  This oil doesn’t have a strong scent and it won’t add unwanted flavor to your dish.

Exciting Cultural Festivities

Celebrations of Chinese New Year are now enjoyed around the world with festivals, fireworks, feasts and family reunions. People clean their homes for a fresh new start and share wishes of abundance & prosperity. Check local travel and news publications for activities in your area.  In the Los Angeles and Orange County region there are all kinds of incredible events shown on this list from About.com.

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Sending you our best wishes for much prosperity, happiness and good fortune in the coming year.

Blog Post Written by:  Jodie Fry