Traditional Chinese new year dish in Taiwan
Hey everyone! Have you tried the recipes I shared so far? If not yet, I am sure you have at least know some eating culture of Taiwan! This week I am going to share what people eat for Chinese New Year Holiday in Taiwan. Chinese New Year (CNY) is the biggest festival people celebrate in Taiwan. Personally I called it “annual food fest”! Aside from the history and traditions of CNY, the focal point of CNY is the delicious dishes.
It is the time of the year that families get together to celebrate the starting of a new year and to enjoy quality time with all family relatives.
If you have been reading my blogs, you know that food is always the highlight of gatherings in Taiwan. There are some dishes that are specially prepared for CNY. Following are some of the must eat food in CNY according to the traditions.
Tangerines / oranges
Tangerines is mandarin is called “Ju”, it has the same pronunciation as “luck”. Therefore, eating tangerines in CNY should bring you luck in the upcoming year. Besides, as you can see in the pictures, the leaves are still there, because leaves symbolize longevity. Families will place tangerines with leaves still on in a big plate in their house during CNY period.
Fish in mandarin has the same pronunciation as the word “remain or surplus”. Therefore, eating fish has the meaning of having extra savings for the coming year. Moreover, for very traditional people, it is important to serve the fish with head and tail, because they believe this will ensure a good start and finish of a year.
Buddha jumps over the wall
You must be wondering what is “Buddha jumps over the wall”! The origin of this name has many saying, one of the saying I have been told when I was a kid was that this dish is so delicious that a monk, who isn’t supposed to eat meat was so tempted that he jumped over the wall to eat this delicious cuisine. This is a folk passed down to generations, however, what is known for sure is that this dish is a must-eat in CNY.
It is a soup/stew that consists many expensive ingredients such as quail eggs, fresh bamboos, scallops, sea cucumber, abalone, chicken, ham, taro, dry mushrooms and some herbs. It requires long hours of stewing; some might stew it for a day! With all the ingredients and hours required, it is not an easy dish to make, therefore, it is considered as an “valuable” dish which should be served in important days like CNY.
Dumplings is a must-eat food for all families on CNY. The shape of dumplings looks like ingots (money in the old times).It is said that eating dumplings will bring good fortune finically. Besides, making dumplings together is one activity people do over CNY. It is considered cozy and that you are “warpping” your fortune! Therefore, that is why dumplings are essential for CNY.
Dumplings is one of my favourite CNY dish. Besides Taiwan, China also eat dumplings for CNY. However, there are various kinds of dumplings, for example, different stuffing, and different ways of cooking (water boil, steam, pan-fried).
In Taiwan, there is a kind of dumplings called “pot stickers”. It is basically the same idea of dumplings, only that is has a different shape which is thinner and longer, and with different stuffing than dumplings. I am going to share a recipe of Taiwanese pan fried pot stickers (dumplings) today.
Making about 40 pieces
- 1kg of ground pork
- 3 whole scallions, chopped
- ¼ of whole cabbage, shred
- 1 tablespoon of ginger powder
- 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
- ¼ tablespoon of white pepper
- ¼ tablespoon of salt
- ¼ tablespoon of sesame oil
- 1 pack of pot stickers/dumplings wrappers (available in Chinese supermarket )
- Mix pork, scallions, cabbage, ginger, soy sauce, white pepper, salt, sesame oil in one bit pot/bowl. Mix is well when it gets a bit sticky.
- Use a tablespoon to scoop a tablespoon full of step 1’s mixed filling, place the filling in the center of the wrapper. Then fold the wrapper together. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
See video below for clearer idea of how to wrap them together.
- Heat a frying-pan with some oil, arrange the pot stickers in orders (not touching each other). Cook until the bottom part of the pot stickers are brown (about 2-3 minutes). Add some water and cover the pan with a lid. Steam until the wrappers have all turned translucent (about 8-10 minutes).
- Ready to eat! Serve the pot stickers with sauce you like. Soy sauce strongly recommended.
- You may change the meat of the filling of pot stickers/ dumplings to ground chicken.
- When there are pot stickers left, you can store them in the freezer, and simply take it out of the freezer and cook them when you want to!
Let’s hope after eating some pot stickers/dumplings, we will have a lucky and fortunate year!
To read more about food culture of Taiwan and recipes, please read: