Richmond catering group share Chinese New Year food traditions

One of the greatest joys of celebrating the Chinese New Year is the feast on the eve of the holiday, according to a Richmond-based catering association.

Members of the Canada Catering Association (CCA), a local organization dedicated to promoting cross-cultural cuisine, said the Chinese New Year dinner is often considered the most important get-together meal of the entire year for the local Chinese community.

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“Most people are either busy with work or running around with kids, they can’t have a sit-down meal with family members or relatives, but the Chinese New Year dinner is a special reunion time that brings everyone together to share food and stories,” said Charlie Huang, chairman of CCA.

Huang explained that the tradition has been around for thousands of years in China.

Now it has extended into Richmond due to waves of immigrants from China and Hong Kong.

Master chef Tony Kam, a member of CCA, has been cooking traditional Chinese New Year meals for more than 30 years in Metro Vancouver.

In the spirit of festivities, Kam has created a list of popular New Year’s dishes that many Chinese immigrants will have to celebrate 2020.

However, he encourages Richmondites of all backgrounds to give some of them a try.

1: Asian-steamed sea bass

In Chinese, the word for “surplus” or “abundance” is a homonym of fish. Chinese people hope to have a surplus at the end of the year.

The goal is to save something this year, and build on that so as to make even more money in the following year.

2: Fried Chicken Cubes with Dried Chilies

The word “chicken” sounds like “home” in Cantonese. Chicken represents family togetherness in Chinese culture and can also signify unity and prosperity as a group.

Traditionally, parents will offer chicken wings to children in hopes of seeing them become more successful.

3: Longevity noodles

Long noodles symbolize a wish for longevity. Longevity noodles are longer than normal noodles and usually uncut; their length is symbolic of the diner’s life.

4: Assorted stewed delicacies

This comfort dish includes lots of ingredients, including shrimp, pork belly and hand-shredded cabbage.

The whole meal is meant to bring families together like a hearty stew. It also contains flavours that are satisfying to everyone.

“If you are looking for a positive start to the Chinese New Year, we hope these classic dishes will bring you good luck and prosperity,” said Kam.

He added that lots of local Chinese families will fly back to their hometowns to enjoy the lavish meal with their friends and relatives. 

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