19 February, 2015

Happy Lunar New Year! It's The Year of The Goat, I Mean Sheep, I Mean Ram, I Mean Mongolian Gazelle?

Image courtesy of chinahighlights.com.
Image courtesy of chinahighlights.com.
The confusion over which lucky animal will represent 2015 stems from a subtle distinction between these animals in Mandarin, and therefore in the Chinese zodiac. The  animal is written as yang in Chinese, which can be translated as any of the above animals. Watch the video below or read this article for more info. Regardless, if you were born in one of the following years, it's your party: 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015. And to get an idea of what kind of financial forecast we ALL have ahead of us this year, check out this article in FORTUNE online.

So what do we eat for the Lunar New Year?  (P.S. I choose to say "Lunar" because the holiday is celebrated in many parts of Asia and not just in China). CHOW and the Food & Drink section of LA Weekly have put together handy lists of 10 edibles that will bring you a better 2015. Each item of food has a special significance like giving you a long life, good fortune, happiness, or many sons. Wait...many sons? Hmmm, I think I'll overlook that one. Anyway,  the links above differ a little, as did many of the websites that I found with similar articles, but overall here is what you should consume today:
  1. Long noodles
  2. Citrus fruits like oranges, tangerines or pomelos
  3. Sweets, like tang yuan ("sweet rice balls" filled with things like sesame paste, red bean or peanuts)
  4. Long leafy greens and long beans
  5. Rice
  6. Whole fish
  7. Sweet or savory cakes, like Nian Gao ("Year Cake"- steamed glutinous rice and sugar) or luo buo gao ("turnip cakes" - steamed or fried)
  8. Dumplings
  9. Spring rolls
  10. Chicken

Image courtesy of huyfong.com.
So what did I make today for lunch in honor of Lunar New Year you might ask? I used what was already in my apartment, so it's not a completely authentic meal, but it was tasty! Ground beef sauteed with rice vinegar, soy sauce, fresh garlic, sesame oil, and one of my favorite condiments, Hoy Fong Vietnamese Chili Garlic Sauce - yup, the same people that make "Rooster" Sriracha Sauce. I know it's technically Vietnamese-American, but I've seen those little pots of chili garlic sauce with the green lid in every Chinese restaurant that I've ever eaten in, on the West Coast anyway. Next I added green cauliflower (I talked about this in a previous article), snap peas, crimini mushrooms, and green onions, and I created a "sauce" by adding a little water. This went over long-grain, brown rice. For my sides, I had an orange and some preservative-free gummy bears. So I ate rice, "long" "beans", citrus, and sweets.

This morning for breakfast, I had sweet fig preserves mixed into goat-milk yogurt. For dinner I'll have chicken and veggie dumplings, cabbage kimchi and veggies over soba (buckwheat) noodles, some grapefruit, and a piece of carrot cake with cream cheese icing.


Image courtesy of fortune.com.

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