Chinese New Year Foods

Speaking | Script is provided below and you can understand the content easier.

(1) Hosting a Reunion Dinner

Hi Susan, Chinese New Year is approaching and I’ll arrange a reunion dinner in the coming Sunday. Please help to prepare the dishes together.

Sure mom. What’s a reunion dinner?

It’s an important and yearly tradition of bringing all family members and enjoying the meal together before the first day of the Chinese New Year.

Why is it so important?

It plays a significant role in Chinese culture and it’s a get-together meal of the entire year.

It’s cool. Any special meaning of the celebration?

Elders can catch up on how their children and grandchildren are doing. Families gather to conclude the year together before a new beginning.

Wow, there are many dishes to prepare for over 10 peoples.

Right, it would be a grand meal. Meanwhile, the meaning of each dish should represent luck, prosperity or wealth.

Why don’t we dine at restaurant? It can save our time of the food preparation and cleaning up.

I prefer hosting it at home as we all can enjoy the meal freely and without time constraint.

OK and I’ll make my best efforts to learn how to cook based on the recipe.

In fact, we’ve other choice to save our time of food preparation. We can order some of the dishes from outside.

Do you mean takeaways from restaurants?

Yes, many hotels and restaurants now prepare fantastic menus to celebrate Chinese New Year.

So, we can pick up or ask for the delivery service?

Yes, it makes our life easier for delivery option and there is wide selection of different packages that can suit the size and budget of different families.

It’s marvelous because we can still usher in the festive period with a prosperity feast and delicious goodies.

I suggested to order “Pen Cai”.

Mom, is it served in a pot and filled with layers of different ingredients?

You’re right. The ingredients are premium seafood and meat e.g., oysters, abalone, sea cucumber, prawn, scallop and roast chicken. It’s a popular festive dish for Chinese New Year and family members can enjoy and share the food.

It’s commonly featuring at least 10 varieties of ingredients with all their flavours well infused. It’s so simple that we can reheat the dish before serving it.

It’s brilliant. While everyone is sitting together for enjoying the food, strong reunion atmosphere is generated blissfully.

Do you know the meaning of having “Pen Cai”?

It communicates lucky message, correct?

Let me tell you more about the meaning of each ingredient. For vegetables, it means good luck. For meat, it represents windfall. For fish, it shows having surplus in a year. For black moss, it indicates prosperity. We use chopsticks to mix and turn over the food i.e., encouraging fortune and luck coming to us.

Most importantly, the procedure of food preparation is complicated and a team of chefs are required to prepare and cook the dish. It may take over six to ten hours to bring out the best flavours of each ingredient.

It’s basically not feasible for a wife to accomplish it alone in a small kitchen at home.

I understood your point.

If we order a large size of “Pen Cai”, it should be big enough to serve ten persons.

It’s wonderful and you can still keep the blessing of the family for the coming year without any bothering of the huge work required for food preparation.

Let’s research different restaurants online and check if any early bird offer is provided for cost-saving. B: It’s ok and I’ll screen out some packages for your selection.

(2) Buying Lucky Foods

Hi Susan, please come with me to buy some lucky foods at the supermarket. It’s for Chinese New Year.

What do you mean by lucky foods?

Foods can bring you good luck for the year to come. Traditionally, they’ve some symbolic meanings.

It’s so interesting. Why can those foods bring us good luck?

It’s usually based on their appearance, pronunciation or way of preparation.

That’s great. Such lucky eats can kick out my bad fortune in the past one year. I can’t wait to try the recipes.

First of all, I would like to buy a pack of “Nian Gao” which is prepared from glutinous rice cake.

Mom, I’ve found it in the wet market before. There are different ingredients such as coconut, red beans and black sugar.

Yes, the underlying meaning is “grow every year”. It’s sweet and indicates growth in luck, wealth and life in the coming year.

I’ve heard of it before. For example, it means promotion for employees and growth in height for the children.

Everyone would like to be more successful and better than last year.

Absolutely. I would love to.

I think I usually slice the cake and fry the slices with some beaten eggs till golden cover.

I’ve tried the red beans before and it tastes delicious.

Next, I would like to buy some fried dumplings with peanut.

So, what’s the meaning of eating dumplings?

As its shape is similar to Chinese silver ingot, it represents making more money in the coming year.

Oh really? It’s so fantastic for getting wealth. It’s amusing.

I would also like to make some dumplings with filling such as pork and shrimp together with my daughter.

Why? Any meaning?

Traditionally, it’s also a cheerful family activity for teaching children how to make a dumpling.

Should I steam or pan-fry them that can bring out the best flavour?

It would be much crispy for the latter and my husband can eat over thirty dumplings at one time.

Are you kidding?

Next, I would also like to buy some noodles which symbolize a wish of longevity.

It’s such an auspicious meaning!

Health is key concern of everyone nowadays. The longer the noodle, the luckier we’ll be.

I’m aware of some happy events such as new baby or wedding celebration serving longevity noodles.

Right and the meaning is applicable to such joyful scenarios. Last, I would like to buy two packs of “Tang Yuan” with black sesame seeds and 2 packs for peanut.

Mom, I sometimes eat sweet and sticky rice balls with my friends but not during Chinese New Year. They come in a variety of flavours.

It denotes family reunion especially during this Spring Festival. “Round” is associated with “togetherness”.

We’ve got all items here and let’s pay at the cashier.


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