While many of us were cramming our gullets on January 1 with Hoppin' John and collard greens for wealth in the New Year, many folks of Chinese descent like Chris Yeo, the chef/owner from XINO|SINO and The Straits, will be waiting to get lucky until February 10, or the first day of the Chinese New Year celebration.
Editor's note: London-based cook, food writer and consultant Fuchsia Dunlop sits down with CNN to discuss her love affair with Sichuanese cuisine. Her responses have been edited for concision and flow.
CNN: What sparked your interest in Sichuanese cuisine?
I got very interested in China through a job subediting news reports about the east Asian region, particularly China. So I started Mandarin evening classes and went on holiday to China and was fascinated.
I'd been in Sichuan in 1993 when coming back from a holiday to Tibet and had an amazing lunch with some dishes I never forgot. I had looked up a Sichuanese musician whom I'd met in my hometown of Oxford, and he and his wife took me out. It was at a very modest little restaurant, but we had a delicious meal and ended up on the riverbank drinking jasmine tea at a teahouse. At that moment, I thought, I want to come back and live here.
Hieu Huynh is a writer producer at CNN On-Air Promotions. She is based in Atlanta, Georgia.
As the steam carts roll by, I caution my dining companions, "Never pick from the first one that comes along."
Eating dim sum is like a game of strategy and patience. The goal is to fill up on the good stuff, which usually means waiting as the cold and lifeless items pass by.
"Never pick the first?" my best friend asks. "Isn’t that almost like dating? If you're too quick, and just pick the first thing you see, you might miss out on something even better."
Gung hay fat choy! In case you're looking for last minute advice on how to welcome the Year of the Dragon, we've rounded up our Chinese New Year-related coverage for all your celebrating needs.
But first, a quick explainer from Chef Chris Yeo on the ancient food traditions associated with the Lunar New Year.
"Chinese New Year is a special time of year for many. 'Chi fan le mei you?' or 'Have you eaten yet?' is the most common greeting heard during the celebration of the Spring Festival, also known as the Chinese New Year throughout the West. Many of the traditions of Chinese New Year center around food either being cooked or eaten. To people who trace their roots back to China, the most important date in the lunar calendar is Chinese New Year – it’s a traditional time for feasting with family and friends that dates back thousands of years.