Year of the Golden Rabbit
Family and close friends give red lucky money envelopes ("hong bao" in Chinese) to the unmarried younger generation. Money should always be given in even numbers, except for number that is between 3 and 5 (yes, that even number is unlucky).
Food is an integral part of Chinese culture, with culinary knowledge considered essential for refined, educated people. To celebrate Chinese New Year, families traditionally eat foods believed to bring good fortune, prosperity and the best of everything for the year ahead, reports the Philadelphia Daily News.
"You do all your cleaning, change your carpets, paint your door red to attract spirits, you shower, cut hair, everything before New Year's Day," says chef Ming Tsai, a creator of the East-meets-West movement and author most recently of "Simply Ming: One-Pot Meals (Kyle, 2010). "You want everything prepped for the New Year."
Balance, texture and presentation are integral to Chinese cooking. Sweet typically is paired with sour - a sort of yin and yang on the tongue - and most dishes contrast soft with crunchy elements. And though the Japanese are credited with adding the word "umami" - which translates as savory, the flavor, umami-rich ingredients, such as hoisin and soy sauce, also are indispensable in Chinese cooking. Aroma is also key "Fragrance is very important to the Chinese," says cooking instructor Eileen Yin-Fei Lo, author of a dozen Chinese cookbooks. "When you cook a dish, if you don't have nice fragrance, people will never return."
Chinese Tea Eggs are a great dish for Chinese New Year, according to New Asian Cuisine. The eggs symbolize golden nuggets (wealth). To get the marbled effect, tap the egg hard enough to create cracks so the soy/tea gets through.
Happy Chinese New Year!