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How are you celebrating Chinese New Year? Wait, what? You didn’t know Chinese New Year is this month? Yes! It is the most important annual event for Chinese and other Asian cultures. Are you familiar with the traditions and authentic foods surrounding Chinese New Year? Previously the only thing I knew about Chinese New Year was what I read on the paper placemats in Chinese restaurants. It was not until I was an adult that I learned about Chinese New Year and it’s traditions and foods.
When I worked for an international company a number of years ago, a coworker, who was originally from China, came into my office and gave me a red paper envelope with a Chinese symbol on it, and a coin inside. I asked her about it; and she said, “Let’s go to lunch, and I’ll tell you about Chinese New Year.”
At lunch my friend shared some authentic foods her family ate on Chinese New Year, including egg rolls and spring rolls. Then she explained some of the meanings and traditions behind the holiday. My friend explained that the Chinese New Year is based on changes in the moon and not in the sun. It is celebrated for 15 days, starting with a new moon and ending with a full moon. In addition, each year has an animal zodiac sign. This year is the Year of the Sheep.
One of the traditions for Chinese New Year is to exchange gifts, including a red envelope containing money. The red color represents good fortune and is said to ward off evil spirits.
On New Year’s Eve, families come together to share a reunion dinner. She said that the crispy golden egg rolls and spring rolls were served for good luck and prosperity because they are said to resemble long gold bars.
In addition, my friend said that gifts of oranges and tangerines represent having an abundance of happiness and prosperity.
Based on the information I learned from my friend about Chinese New Year, I’m going to have a family dinner this year and serve authentic Tai Pei® frozen appetizers. Specifically, I’m going to serve the Chicken Egg Rolls and Mini Chicken Spring Rolls because they are loaded with traditional style and flavor, and are ready in minutes; and best of all, the egg rolls and spring rolls represent wealth and prosperity.
However, it is hard to choose a flavor because Tai Pei® has such a variety of Egg Rolls and Spring Rolls, including fresh cut vegetables, pork, shrimp, and hearty chicken, all with crispy wrappers. Each variety also includes a dipping sauce. In addition, I believe they bring good luck because “Tai Pei® Good Fortune in Every Box™” is their motto.
To bring an abundance of prosperity and happiness to the meal, I will make a Restaurant Inspired Orange Sauce, made with hoisin sauce, which is like a chinese barbecue sauce, and orange marmalade, with soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and if desired, chili-garlic sauce. It reminds me of a popular restaurant’s sauce in its orange chicken dish.
Of course, we will celebrate tradition by exchanging red envelopes with gifts of money.
I was happy to find the Tai Pei® frozen appetizers and all the ingredients for my Restaurant Inspired Orange Sauce at Walmart. However, before you head out to the store, be sure to visit the Tai Pei® Facebook page and click on the Red Envelope tab to check out the Chinese New Year app and claim your coupon before the coupons run out. Also check your local papers on February 8th for a Tai Pei® coupon. To get more recipes, and to keep up with future promotions, be sure to follow them on Twitter and Pinterest.
I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment letting me know which traditions you will be celebrating with your family this Chinese New Year.
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- 1 Tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 2 Tablespoons orange marmelade
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger minced
- 1/2 teaspoon chile-garlic sauce optional
- Stir together all ingredients in a small bowl and serve.