Happy Gluten-Free, Vegan Chinese New Year! It’s Chinese New Year tomorrow (16 February) and the year of the dog is about to start. I adore Chinese food (and Vietnamese, Japanese and almost any food from south east Asia). I love the simplicity, the taste, the texture and the colour. What better way to celebrate a Happy Gluten-Free, Vegan Chinese New Year than with a banquet. Share with your family and friends a Chinese inspired feast.
What And When Is Chinese New Year?
The Chinese New Year festival has been celebrated for centuries and is significant due to several myths and customs. Chinese New Year is a time to reunite with family and honour deities and ancestors. The evening preceding Chinese New Year’s Day is an occasion for Chinese families to gather for a reunion dinner. It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly clean the house, something which in Chinese culture is only done once per year. Many Chinese restaurants will also use the New Year to clean as well in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for incoming good luck – or just because a good cleaning is necessary. Windows and doors are decorated with red paper-cutouts and poems and verses with popular themes of ‘good fortune’ or ‘happiness’, ‘wealth’, and ‘longevity’. Other activities include lighting firecrackers and giving money in red paper envelopes.
The Chinese New Year is based upon the Lunar calendar (and here in the UK, US and most of the west we use the Gregorian calendar). As Chinese New Year is based upon the Lunar calendar first day of the New Year falls on the new moon between 21 January and 20 February each year.
Happy Gluten-Free, Vegan Chinese New Year! What To Eat?
Food and colour (red) are central to Chinese New Year celebrations. Family meals are super important. Food in China is symbolic for the way the ingredients sound and look, for example Buddha’s Delight (a vegetarian dish) is traditionally served on the eve and the first day of the New Year. The dish often contains a type of black algae, called ‘fat choy’ in Cantonese because it sounds like ‘prosperity’. Uncut noodles are also often served. The uncut noodles represent longevity and long life (serving uncut noodles is not limited to the new year).
Happy Gluten-Free, Vegan Chinese New Year! – Banquet
Chinese New Year is perfect for a banquet. What more could you want, gather friends and family and share a huge table of delicious food. Food rich with symbolism and colour. I’m suggesting just a few ideas…
I love the rich red of the chillies in Ma Po Tofu and as red symbolises good luck in Chinese culture Ma Po Tofu is the perfect dish to celebrate Chinese New Year with.
The uncut noodles in Sesame Noodles with Shitake Mushrooms and Pak Choi are great to serve as part of your Happy Gluten-Free, Vegan Chinese New Year banquet.
No shared meal is complete without a huge bowl of steaming Perfect Plain Rice. The perfect foil to almost any main.
With all this rich food you need a light, fresh slighly astringent salad. Look no further than Cucumber, Seaweed and Carrot Salad.
I know Gluten-Free, Vegan Kimchi is not Chinese but it has been adopted into the Chinese, Japanese (and wider) cultures in the region. Plus it’s red and really, really amazing. I highly recommend it as a side to so many things.
There is no dessert here. I don’t think there is room but if you do want something red to top off your Happy Gluten-Free, Vegan Chinese New Year! Banquet I can heartily recommend Pears Poached in Spiced Red Wine. The bright red colour is perfect to end a celebratory meal.
What are Your Favourite, Happy Gluten-Free, Vegan Chinese New Year! Banquet Dishes?
There are lots and lots and lots of options for a Happy Gluten-Free, Vegan Chinese New Year Banquet out there – this is just a tiny selection of ideas. There are lots more…
What are your favourite Happy Gluten-Free, Vegan Chinese New Year Banquet ideas? Drop a comment below or ping me on social media! 🙂
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