Posted by: liv | January 11, 2009

Chinese New Years

Where is my sense of culture and pride in my culture? The Superbowl may be coming up, but before that, GONG HAY FAT CHOY (or GONG XI FA CAI)…Chinese New Years is approaching this year on Monday, Jan 26.

Do you even celebrate? It’s ok, not everyone does. I am one of 2 Chinese people in my circle of friends in CA. The past few years, I like to host a Shabu party (also known as a hot pot). From the link, you can see that it’s historically Japanese, but come on now, the Asian new year is really celebrated by all asians (or most of them). Since a lot of my friends don’t have any way of ringing in the new year, I started hosting the dinner near the day and giving them a nice dinner.

Maybe you’re asian and your (asian or non-asian) friends don’t celebrate. Try it out. I doubt they’re anti-culture or against a cheap new dinner:
1-If there is an asian store near you, see if they sell a portable range (and the appropriate bottle of gas, mine requires butane). Find a nice wide pot that goes with it (you’re basically boiling a nice pot of water for them to cook their food in). Also find the netted-looking spoons.
2-Some foods that you can provide (raw): chicken, beef, fish, scallops, mushrooms, chinese cabbage, spinach, shrimp, noodles. Make sure you buy enough to serve everyone, but not too much. It’s too random to have those as leftovers.
3-Precook the noodles. I learned this from my mother. Precooking is smart because it takes about 10 minutes average to cook noodles. Everything must be prepared to be cooked in minutes. Precook, then set aside in a bowl to reheat when everything is ready to be served.
4-Cut or slice your meat into reasonably small slices or chunks. Same reason as you need to precook the noodles. Separate things neatly onto a large platter and a variety of bowls or serving dishes (usually all raw meat/seafood on the plates, then veggies in various small to large bowls and noodles in various large bowls)
5-Preboil the pot of water. You can help add flavor to the water by using a flavored broth (chicken or beef). Eventually when the meat/fish/veggies are cooked in it, their flavoring will also enhance the broth. This will help so you don’t waste your little portable range bottle of gas. That is mostly for maintaining the heat.
6-Once everything is prepped, set up on platters, and set up on the table, enjoy a nice dinner with your guests. Go ahead an explain it. The easiest way to explain it is to call it an asian fondue (that is what I tell everyone). If you want to go even further, you can bust out the lycees (hong baos) aka red envelopes and explain what that means. If you do that, I’d make it a game or something and give a prize to whoever wins your game.

Learning and teaching culture can be fun. Really it can!



  1. […] of Thursday or this upcoming weekend (scheduling issues).  Does anyone remember the last time I celebrated?  It was basically a repeat this year but with extra friends.  I had a great […]

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