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.
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.
Yes, we're later than usual on the poll today. For one, I actually (gasp!) left my desk for lunch today in order to record a podcast for our new series (more on that soon). Actually, though, I'm attributing it more to having signed up for the 10:30 seating of chefs Eddie Huang and Tyler Kord's Chinese New Year dinner at No. 7 restaurant in Brooklyn last night.
Diners lucky enough to score a reservation (rumor had it that Jimmy Fallon's party couldn't nab an 8 p.m. table and had to abandon mission) clustered around a communal table, daintily spooning and spearing family-style cold sesame noodles, sausage dumplings and pickles onto their square white plates.
Chopsticks picked up pace, clattering as bowls of bitter butter greens, a soy-drizzled whole Dorade and obscenely silken tofu topped with century-old egg hit the table. By the time the fat-swaddled pork shoulder and eight-treasure (1. lotus seeds, 2. edamame, 3. smoked ham, 4. mushrooms and...did I mention there was also wine?...) glutinous rice-stuffed duck arrived, decorum had flapped out the window.
No doubt you once thought that as soon as your skills were honed, you’d become the chopstick-wielding version of Edward Scissorhands, embarking on a masterful two-pronged exploration of China’s culinary culture.
Well, not quite.
Chinese dining etiquette is built on tradition, not dexterity.
We asked Lawrence Lo, founder of LHY Etiquette Consultancy Limited, to explain the enigmatic cultural origins of some common table manners, just in time for your Chinese New Year banquet.
Read the rest of "5 Chinese eating habits explained" on CNNGo.