Chinese New Year: Auspicious Delicious
If you love your pastries, you’re in luck: The many layers of flaky dough in traditional dim sum like egg custard tarts and Yunnan ham pastries are meant to symbolize increasing abundance in the year to come. And the cute round shapes? A symbol for family reunion and togetherness.
Get lucky: Newly appointed 3-Michelin-starred T’ang Court at The Langham welcomes the Year of the Monkey with an array of delectable dim sum, featuring delicate baked pastries filled with bird’s nest, crab meat and Yunnam ham, and golden-fried goose liver and shrimp dumplings. Other dishes such as steamed egg white with bird’s nest, or sautéed sliced lobster with crab roe and kale, shower you with good luck and good eating in the new year. CNY menu available Feb 8-14.
You can’t celebrate Chinese New Year without a selection of sweet, dried fruits and berries. Longan fruit and goji berries are two of the most celebrated snacks during this time of year: The Chinese term for longan sounds similar to the word for “valuable” or “noble” while gojis are said to have natural healing and anti-ageing properties, in addition to their auspicious red color. Longans and goji berries are typically served together on a “Tray of Togetherness” with other goodies like candied coconut or kumquat, or can be brewed with red dates for a soothing tea.
Get lucky: The 3-tiered Chinese lacquered basket (starting from $608 for two people) at The InterContinental’s Lobby Lounge is teeming with good fortune foods, starting with chicken pastries and abalone tarts on the first tier, followed by puff pastries on the second tier, and traditional sweets with dried longans and goji berry madeleines rounding out the savory-sweet meal. Available Feb 6-14.
The Chinese Restaurant
Known as a “Prosperity Toss,” lo hei or yu sang is traditionally a Chiu Chow-style raw fish salad consisting of strips of raw fish tossed together with different types of vegetables and condiments. Since the Chinese word for fish, yu (魚), is a homophone for abundance (餘), this dish has come to be associated with prosperity and vitality. Where does the good luck originate? From tossing the shredded ingredients into the air (lo hei means “mix up”) while yelling out various “auspicious wishes” for the new year.
Get lucky: The Chinese Restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Hong Kong is serving up its own version of the “Prosperity Toss” this year, substituting fried lobster for fish mixed with assorted vegetables in a potent sesame sauce ($488). For more rowdy dish-tossing, join Ho Lee Fook’s CNY banquet (Feb 7-10, $468) with colorful yu sang platters to usher in luck for the new year.
With a 4,000-year history, it’s no wonder noodles are a symbol of longevity. During the new year, it’s good luck to consume long, uncut noodles as a way of promoting long life and prosperity. Whether served boiled with soup broth or fried on a plate, the longer the better when it comes to this fortuitous food.
Get lucky: While noodles are found on practically every street corner in Hong Kong, one of the best places to get fresh, hand-pulled noodles is at Crystal Jade. Choose from eight types of “la mian”—from ultra-fine “Dragon Beard” noodles to hand-sliced thick noodles—in everything from beef noodle soup to dan dan mian.
One of the most traditional foods eaten over CNY, puddings have evolved from classic flavors such as water chestnut, taro and osmanthus, to a number of unconventional variations that seem to get further outside the box every year. Whether you’re after a sweet or savory pudding, a slightly fruity bite or something more rich and earthy, you’re sure to find variations around the city that will appeal to your pudding preferences. The go-to pudding for gifting? Sticky-sweet boxes of classic neen gou new year’s cake to send some good luck vibes along to loved ones over the holidays.
Get lucky: With puddings near and far, we’re partial to the Kowloon Shangri-La’s three variations this year. The Kyoto Uji matcha and red bean pudding draws inspiration—and ingredients—from dessert shops in Japan, while the Hawaiian purple sweet potato pudding celebrates the natural sweetness of Hawaiian spuds. The third pudding is a must for Koreaphiles—with light Korean brown sugar and melon seeds making for a slightly burnt, soft-textured sweet. Puddings start from $258 for 1.16kg, 20 percent discount on orders before Jan 24.