Lunar New Year is just around the corner – and that means it’s time to get the home looking spick and span, go shopping for a new wardrobe, and stock up on New Year goodies and drinks to entertain the relatives when they visit. Here’s some traditional New Year fare (and our recommended wine pairings) that you ought to get your hands on!
Whether you like it classic or with a twist, yu sheng is the quintessential Lunar New Year dish which every family needs to serve at their festive fetes. Complement your plate of prosperity with a glass of dry champagne (such as the Canard-Duchene Brut NV) for the ultimate indulgence!
This traditional one-pot dish of Cantonese origin, signifying abundance and wealth for the coming year, is often the star at the feasting table. Featuring a lavish spread of seafood like abalone, scallops, prawns, go for a medium-bodied wine – like Chateau De Ricaud Bordeaux Superieur – so as not to overpower the mixed flavours of the dish.
Roasted Suckling Pig
With an auspicious golden red colour, the roasted suckling pig is one of the essential (and highly-anticipated) meats served during Lunar New Year. We recommend balancing out the savoury crispiness of the suckling pig with a sweet, zesty Ashbrook Estate Riesling.
Singaporeans love their bak kwa (meaning robust fortune in Cantonese) and could endure hours in a snaking queue just to grab a few boxes. Think thinly sliced pork, marinated in salt and sugar, and barbequed to smoky perfection. These addictive bites pair well with a rich full-bodied burgundy; try Alkoomi Frankland River’s Cabernet Sauvignon.
The name means ‘higher year’ in mandarin, so folks looking for a pay rise or promotion this year know what to chow on. Essentially sweet glutinous rice cakes, they are packaged in round blocks printed with an auspicious character. Thinly slice the rice cakes, coat them in egg, and pan-fry them to get yummy snacks with a crisp exterior and sweet chewy centre.
It’s tough keeping our hands off these sweet treats, available in two versions - pineapple jam atop a crumbly butter base or stuffed in a pillow-shaped pastry (the less sweet version). The golden pineapple filling signifies prosperity, so pop a few more this New Year and you might boost your chances of hitting the jackpot.
These paper-thin egg-roll wafers, usually printed with oriental patterns or wordings, have a rich history. Legend has it that star-crossed lovers would use these wafers to communicate in secret and after reading the message, they would gobble down the snacks to remove all traces of evidence. Ingenious, right?
The New Year tradition is to exchange a pair of plump, well-shaped oranges (representing abundance and good fortune) with words of well wishes. Our vote goes to oranges from Taiwan and Pakistan; they may be slightly pricier but packed with sweet juiciness.
Gong Xi FaCai!
This article was contributed by Honeycombers.