25th January sees in the Chinese New Year. Preparations for the festivities actually take place on the 17th of January. Why so far ahead? Well, there’ll be some serious eating going on as celebrations tend to last approximately 11 days. That’s a lot of food.
Why not help those customers who are time poor by introducing a few Chinese dishes to your menu so they can also join in the festivities. Below are some easy dishes which will help you quickly create a Chinese New Year themed menu.
Ubiquitous with Chinese cuisine are spring rolls. If you don’t see these at a Chinese New Year meal then ask yourself it is really even Chinese New Year at all?
Spring rolls are usually fried but in China they can be baked or steamed. Consider offering the latter version to customers who are still on that January health kick (but who obviously can’t say no to a meal out).
To ensure the spring rolls you offer are authentic the filling needs to have pork, Chinese cabbage (also known as napa cabbage), shiitake mushrooms, carrots and seasonings. As long as you have these the die-hard traditional food lover is going to love you.
Next on the list are dumplings. Again, if you don’t find these as a Chinese New Year feast then you better question what time of year it really is. Dumplings have a very special significance to the celebrations because of their shape. Similar to that of ancient Chinese gold and silver ingots, it’s very symbolic to have these at the table.
Eating dumplings is believed to give you wealth and a prosperous life. Eating them simply because they are delicious is also acceptable. Dipped in soy and chili sauce? That really would be a happy new year!
As with the spring rolls, dumplings can be both steamed and fried. The filling is a lot more varied than that in comparison to the spring roll. Here you can offer whichever type of meat (including seafood) or vegetables. If you’d like to add an element of fun you can add a random coin in a dumpling. The person who finds it is to have good luck for the whole year. Be sure to tell your customers if you intend to do this for safety reasons.
Another symbolic dish is noodles. The longer the noodles the better because it resembles long life.
This dish allows you to be extremely flexible as pretty much anything goes into the noodle dish. This means if you are introducing this dish purely for the Chinese New Year period then it’s not going to affect your budget too much in order to make it authentic.
This soup base dish can be teamed with eggs, shrimp, roasted pork, duck or even tofu. Offering a pure vegetarian or vegan option is acceptable too. And yes, you guessed it. Each ingredient mention has a positive symbolic meaning.
Steamed Chicken And Seafood
These steamed dishes will definitely attract customers who are trying to cut back from their excessive actions from the previous month. What also goes along nicely with these steamed dishes are vegetable dishes. A lot of vegetable dishes are seen at a Chinese New Year meal because this is the best time to eat all the vegetables which have been stored over winter.
Use this to your advantage to attract the vegetarian and vegan customers. By offering also a vegetarian/vegan option of the dishes already mentioned it means you can provide a complete separate menu alongside a meat version.
Dress The Part
Now you have the menu sorted, it’s important to make sure your restaurant looks the part. It’s simple enough. Red and gold. Lots of it. Lanterns, table cloths, napkins, balloons. You name it. Red and gold it! These two colours are extremely important to the event. It’s the colour of wealth, good fortune, and joy.
Now that you are all set for 11 days of celebrations, there’s only one thing left to say: Gung hay fat choy!
Branding specialist and crisp hoarder