Gong Hay Fat Choy! (in Cantonese) or as we say, Happy New Year! Monday marked the start of the year of the dragon in the Chinese lunar calendar.
This past Sunday was our 4th year hosting our annual Chinese New Year dinner party for a few of our friends. Of all the dinner parties I host, I think this is one of everyone’s favorites. It’s always filled with yummy food and drinks – and celebrates a tradition that is unique and different. Over the years we have followed various traditions and created some of our own – the one rule in our house for Chinese New Year is to wear red, which will bring you lots of good luck in the new year, symbolizes happiness and joy, and of course scare away evil spirits and bad fortune. But this year we also encouraged our guests to pair the red with black to welcome the dragon!
A few of my favorite ladies
I try to keep lots of red/gold in the décor (and black this year) – and use some traditional Chinese decorations (my collection has grown over the years!). I really like the look of fresh red flowers for the table – which is something I try to incorporate each year. I also love to include a little favor for each of my guests to take home, which is usually in a little red Chinese take-out container. The favors have varied over the years, but this time I made some homemade fortune cookies, with a little note for each guest.
The Chinese have lots of traditions when it comes to food for the New Year and I like to incorporate a few of them in our meal as well. While I don’t serve up a whole fish (head and all!) I do include a few others. Since my very first year, I have always served dumplings – which represent good luck and prosperity for the new year, as well as strong family bonds. I also like to serve a dish with noodles, usually mixed with vegetables – these noodles represent long life. Also on our menu I like to add some Americanized dishes that tend to be more crowd pleasing.
Here was this years menu:
Baked Chicken Egg Rolls
Tsingtao (Chinese Beer)
Stir Fry Vegetables with Rice Noodles
Spicy Citrus Chicken
Banana Mango Egg Rolls with Coconut Chocolate Ganache
Green Tea Ice Cream
Regular and Chocolate Fortune Cookies
I’ll be sharing these recipes in the future as separate posts. I did as much of the food prep as I could earlier in the week to make this list a little bit less crazy – Since I’ve been making a few of these dishes for multiple years in a row, it really made things easier this go round.
I got a little photo happy at the end of the night and made sure to have Lance take a photo of each couple before they left – aaand we also did some awkward prom photo poses which were really fun – but I’ll be sharing those in another post ;) They are totally hilarious!
Ross and Crystal
Hillary and Craig
Andrew and Lorraine
Tim and Jessica
Lance and I
And this is a fun one for my ladies, Camille and Chelle
The night turned out really great, full of delicious drinks, eats and treats. I loved getting to entertain and share food with friends – and chatting the night away with the ladies while the guys caught the tail end of the game ;)
So what can you expect out of the year of the dragon – more specifically the water (black) dragon? Well to the Chinese, the dragon represents wisdom and power. It should bring about optimism and excitement, making it a great year for ideas, big projects and favorable, in terms of family!
May the year of the dragon bring you lots of luck and good fortune!