A reunion dinner (年夜飯) is held on New Year's Eve of the Chinese New Year, during which family members get together to celebrate.
Typical menu - The New Year's Eve dinner is very large and traditionally includes dumplings, chicken and pork. Fish (魚, yú) is also included, but intentionally not finished, and the remaining fish is stored overnight. The reason for this stems from a pun, as the Chinese phrase 年年有魚/餘; (nián nián yǒu yú, or "every year there is fish/leftover") is a homophone for phrases which mean "be blessed every year" or "have profit every year".
Similarly, a type of black hair-like algae, "fat choy"(髮菜, fǎ cài, literally "hair vegetable" in Chinese), is also featured in many dishes since its name sounds similar to "prosperity"(發財, fā cái). Hakka will serve "kiu nyuk" 扣肉 and "ngiong tiu fu" 釀豆腐. The belief is that having one will lead to the other, as the phrases sound similar to one another.
3 healthier reunion dinner recipes to try this year
Health is wealth, so welcome the Chinese New Year by making three popular dishes healthier with tips from the experts.
STEAMBOATIt is a popular choice for the reunion dinner because it is relatively easy to prepare. Most importantly, it can be turned into a healthy option. The pitfalls of steamboat lie in the choice of ingredients, soup base and dipping sauce. However, if there is less total and saturated fat, sodium and sugar, and more whole grains and calcium, steamboat can be a satisfying and nutritious celebration meal.
PENCAIAlso called poon choy in Cantonese, which literally means basin dish, this is a culinary treasure pot. The opulent reunion dish is made from high-quality ingredients, such as pork, beef, lamb, chicken, duck, abalone, shark's fin, fish maw, prawns, oysters and dried mushrooms, among others. The ingredients are blanched or braised separately before being arranged in a pot for serving.
YUSHENGThis raw fish salad is traditionally enjoyed on the seventh day of the Chinese New Year - every man's birthday - but is now eaten throughout the New Year period. The appealing dish melds together slices of raw fish, shredded vegetables, such as white radish and carrot, chunks of pomelo or candied citrus peel, chopped nuts, spices and plum sauce. These are first presented separately before being mixed together by the diners, who use chopsticks to toss the ingredients as high as they can to symbolise rising prosperity.