The Chinese New Year is fast approaching and families from all over the world are preparing to celebrate one of the most renowned events in Chinese culture. Many cities across the UK are playing host to plenty of fantastic events to celebrate the Chinese New Year starting on the 28th January.
Chinese New Year is also known as Spring Festival in China. It is considered to be their most important traditional festival. Unlike the Western New Year, Chinese New Year always falls on a different date as it follows the lunar calendar. Each year is denoted by a different symbol from the Chinese 12 year animal zodiac, with this year being matched to the tenth sign – the Rooster.
As part of the Chinese New Year there are some traditional celebrations that take place such as spectacular dragon dances and firecrackers. One of the most important is having a reunion dinner with family. The Chinese see it as an essential time to surround themselves with loved ones and eat delicious food. Eating lucky foods is also a key celebration for the Chinese New Year.
Dynasty in Bristol is a restaurant offering a huge range of incredible authentic Chinese dishes. They have been voted as one of the top five Chinese restaurants in the country and their chefs have culinary skills from Hong Kong and China; they even have a specialised dim sum chef. Their menu includes many of the traditional lucky foods such as their dim sum steamed basket, which includes three Chinese dumplings, delicious and crispy spring rolls or fillet of fish in a sweet and sour sauce.
If you want to wow your friends give these fortune cookies a go, super fun and easy yet impressive. You can fill them with funny messages or even with sweets for the little ones.
2 egg whites
½ teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons oil (I used soybean)
½ cup cake flour (may substitute with all purpose flour)
1½ teaspoons corn or potato starch
½ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
3 teaspoons water
1. Write out fortunes or type them up and cut them into strips. Fold them in half if they are really long.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking trays with parchment paper.
3. Whisk flour, sugar, starch, salt together in bowl, set aside.
4. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add in vanilla, oil and water and whisk together. Add egg white mixture to flour mix and whisk together until smooth.
5. Scoop the tablespoons of batter on to prepared cookie sheets. Space them about 3 inches apart. You should be able to fit about 6 on each cookie sheet. Using the back of a spoon spread out the batter to form a 4 inch circle.
6. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until the outside edge is golden brown.
7. Remove from oven and flip it over with a metal spatula. Place fortune in the middle. Use the spatula to fold the cookie in half. Pick it up (it will be hot so be careful). Holding the folded cookie in both hands (between your thumb and index fingers) pull the ends down over the rim of a coffee mug, until the ends almost meet. Remember the opened side of the fortune cookie should be facing upwards.
8. Place each cookie into a cupcake tin lying down so it will hold its shape while it cools. It should cool in about 10-15 minutes.
There are a whole host of events going on to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Here are the places not to be missed:
Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
On the 5th and 6th February the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery are welcoming in the year of the Rooster with a fun packed weekend that the whole family can get involved in.
Over the weekend there will be a whole load of activities including lion dances, martial arts demonstrations and live music. You can try your hand at mask making or sit and listen to traditional stories. As you make your way through the museum you can get a feel for Chinese culture with tea tasting, traditional massage and traditional Chinese food.
What’s even better is that the event is completely free. Entry is from 11am to 4pm. For more information visit their website.
Chinese New Year Extravaganza
The Bristol and West of England China Bureau are hosting a Chinese New Year Extravaganza at Dynasty on the 8th February. They are going to be having a reunion banquet along with an impressive evening of entertainment, celebration and business prospects. The event starts at 6pm, click here for tickets.
Wai Yee Hong
The owners of Chinese supermarket, Wai Yee Hong are holding their own celebration for the Chinese New Year on the 28th January at 11.30am. Celebrations will include a Chinese food market filled with an abundance of delicious Chinese food, bubble tea and gifts. They will also have firecrackers, a lion dance and performances from the Yi Quin lion dance troupe. For a better look at the activities going on, head to their website.
What better way to celebrate Chinese New Year than to sample some delicious Chinese cuisine from the experts themselves? This modern Chinese restaurant in Oxford will wow with their exciting and balanced menu carefully created by their head chef. Named after Zheng He, the famous Chinese explorer, mariner and diplomat, the restaurant delivers a rich, authentic dining experience to pay homage to his adventures. For more information, take a look at their website.
Peking is the longest established Chinese restaurant in Bath. Ever since Mr Wong opened its doors over 30 years ago, this family run, independent venue has been offering loyal diners and newbies alike a genuine Chinese experience. Expect full-on flavours, attentive service and a wonderful array of Chinese dishes on offer to make this year’s celebration extra-special. Head over to their website to find out more.