Thursday, February 03, 2011

Chinese New Year Menu (2011)

Happy Chinese New Year!

To celebrate, our family will be dining at Fisherman's Terrace tonight. However, we also had a party at home last night (New Year's Eve), inviting friends and family/relatives.

Our Chinese New Year Menu
(This will be one of those "ugly pictures, good food" kind of moments.)


Dumplings are supposed to resemble gold ingots, and hence, are good to serve during New Year dinners. We did two types: a plain one with a soy sauce-based dipping sauce, and another with Sichuan chile oil sauce.


Sichuan "Crossed Hands" Wonton Dumplings, Two Ways

Red-Braised Pork


I don't know what this dish is supposed to represent. It just happens to be delicious and popular. =)

Mao's Hunan Red-Braised Pork (毛氏紅燒肉)

Noodles: Pancit Canton

Of course, the Chinese New Year table has to have noodles to symbolize long life.

This is one of CSC's absolute favoritest dishes. Just the mention of "pancit canton" lights up her face and sets her eyes a-twinkling.

We have previously mentioned that we always make a humongo batch of pancit canton. Well, for this party, it was even more humongo than usual!

Yup, we used this whopping 18QT pot. And, there were barely any leftovers!

Recipe: Pancit Canton (Philippine Braised Egg Noodles)

Whole Chicken

Hmm, it seems impossible to make this dish look good in photographs.

This is simply whole chickens poached with leeks and shiitake mushrooms, served in its own broth. Oh, for interest, I made the standard Chinese ginger and green onion sauce to serve alongside.

When serving chicken for New Year's dinner, one has to serve the chicken whole to symbolize togetherness. There's the proof above: the chicken feet are still attached to the chicken bodies!

Mussels: Baked Tahong

Clams and mussels are supposed to resemble coins (money, in other words). Of course we would want them on the table!

We decided to make the Filipino/Philippine classic, Baked Tahong. Mussels are topped with garlic butter and cheese, then baked. The aroma when they came out of the oven was swoonworthy!


Baked Tahong (Mussels)

Vegetable: Braised Napa Cabbage with Abalone

This is one of those dishes with a "subtle, yet profound" taste profile.

A Chinese meal won't be complete without vegetables. We were also going to cook a broccoli dish, but did not have time. We had to pump this out quick!

We braised some napa cabbage in stock until soft, then simply used canned sliced abalone. The stock was then thickened slightly with cornstarch slurry.

That's it!

Shrimp: Shrimp and Walnut with Honey Mayonnaise

In Cantonese, at least, the word for "shrimp" sounds like "ha". Hence, it is quite nice to have a lot of "ha ha ha" when celebrating the coming new year. =D

This is our ghetto take on the restaurant dish of honey walnuts and shrimp with mayonnaise sauce.

In my much simpler version, I toasted the walnuts first. Then, I cooked the shrimp (seasoning them as I did) and set them aside. I made sure the pan I used was dry before proceeding. I heated some oil, added the walnuts and honey, stirring them round. Next, the mayonnaise went in. When they were well-mixed, I turned off the heat and added the shrimp back. I stirred until everything was well-coated.

This dish is so popular that even my poor-man's version went fast!

Whole Fish

Last, but certainly not the least, whole fish!

For me, there is nothing like Cantonese-style steamed whole fish. And so that's what we made. In this case, we used tilapia because that was the only fish available live at the Chinese supermarket.

Needless to say, one has to serve the fish whole!

Why serve fish, you may ask? Let me show you this sign at the Chinese supermarket which offers the explanation:

"The pronunciation of FISH in Chinese is as surplus which implies surplus of wealth."

To make this, we lay the fish on a little julienned ginger and sprinkled them with a little bit of coarse salt. I topped them with more julienned ginger, then some yellow chives. A little splash of Shaoxing wine, and the dish was covered with plastic wrap and microwaved for about 8 to 10 minutes.

Yes, you read right! This was simply microwaved. Easy.

In the meantime, I heated a small pot with a little bit of peanut oil and in a small bowl, added sugar, Shaoxing wine and sesame oil to soy sauce.

Instead of the usual green onions and cilantro, we opted to use yellow chives. So, when the fish finished steaming, I topped them with the tender portion of the yellow chives, then poured the hot oil over them. Sizzle! The soy sauce mixture was poured in next.

And that's our Chinese New Year menu!

Once again, Happy New Year to all!

We are off to Fisherman's Terrace to have professionals cook for us! What to have? Peking duck? Whole steamed fish? Crab or lobster?


  1. Love your blog! Have you checked out the Food Networks new reality show Recipe to Riches! You could win $250,000! I found the details and entry form at I should enter my butter tart recipe!!!

  2. Wow, you guys made a feast!

  3. Awesome (and delicious) post!
    Happy New Year!

  4. What an amazing feast! I would have spend the evening inhaling these dumplings! Thanks for the titbit about fish in chinese. I am wishing you a great New year!

  5. Micol:
    Thanks for visiting!

    Hehe... it seems that's all we know. LOL.

    Thanks!! =)

    Thanks for the greeting!

  6. This post was fascinating. I hope the Year of the
    Rabbit brings you health, prosperity and happiness. I'm new to your blog and based on your New Year extravaganza did some poking through your earlier entries. I really love the food and recipes you feature here. I'll definitely be back to learn from you. I hope you have a grand weekend. Blessings...Mary

  7. Oh wow, I am CRAZY impressed with this menu! YOu guys really celebrated to the max!

  8. ugly ... no way! but good food, definitely! I especially like the braised pork. Happy lunar new year to both of you and your loved ones!

  9. happy new year! i want the shrimp walnut mayo! and pancit canton...and pork...i want all! hehehe

  10. Wonderful post. Although neither Chinese nor Vietnamese, I also prepare a lunar new year dinner for my extended family. It's always a challenge getting all the dishes out; your meal looks delicious! Wishing you both great health, prosperity, and good fortune for the year!

  11. Mary:
    Thank you so much for the well wishes. =)

    This was actually a not-too-labor-intensive menu, unlike the New Year Eve ones that make us sick from exhaustion afterwards. ;D

    Thanks, hehe.

    If you're ever in Vancouver... ;)

    Thanks for the greeting, and happy lunar new year to you and your family!

  12. like pavlov's dog, a giant banquet spread of Chinese goodies always has me salivating. Fabulous work, you guys. You completely outdid yourselves! Also, doesn't the red-braised pork represent good luck? And, not just 'cause it's pork and looks delicious - isn't red considered a lucky color? I could definitely use some of that kind of good luck!

  13. Holy moses, that looks like such a delicious feast. I would love to be invited to one of your infamous parties!!! Happy New Year, and I hope that the food when you dined out was as good as the delicacies you prepare at home!

  14. Jonny:
    Haha... even if the red-braised pork didn't represent anything, we would make something up so we could serve it. ;D


    Choosy Beggar Tina:
    Thanks, Tina! And I would like to have you cook a meal for me too! As lcuk would have it, the dinner at the restaurant was pretty good. =)

  15. I love your party posts. I look forward to it. Makes me homesick.

  16. oh my goodness....i LOVE cantonese family feasts! Always the best! Steamed fish is my absolute favorite, and that nappa cabbage looks DELISH!! So glad I found this blog!!!

  17. Lulu:

    And yes, the Cantonese-style steamed fish is still the ultimate fish preparation for me. =)

  18. Check out this website for detailed info on chinese soups


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