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Happy Lunar Year! Favorite Traditions of the Yau Law Firm

Although we are well into the new year, we are not quite finished celebrating just yet! From the Yau Law Firm to your family, we express our warm and sincere lunar year greetings by saying, “新年快樂, 恭喜發財! ” (In Chinese, this means “Happy new year, and wishing you prosperity in the new year!”) In Mandarin, this is pronounced xin nian kuai le, gong xi fa cai. In Cantonese, this is pronounced san nin fai lok, gong hei fat choi.

Although Chinese astrologists have predicted a not-so-good year for 2014 (and even gone as far as predicting Justin Bieber’s social demise), we would like to focus our energies on something far more warm! Celebrating Lunar New Year always brings fond memories of friends, families, red envelope money (hong bao), and lots of food! A favorite Lunar New Year tradition of mine is to have Hot Pot for dinner (or as Jo-Anne Yau likes to call it, “Chinese Fondue”). Hot Pot is a traditional method of eating together with friends and family (and it is also terribly fun) during the winter. It is essentially “fondue” in the sense that the diners would dip food into a pot of boiling soup. But, unlike fondue in the sense of dipping chocolate or pieces of meat into melting cheese, Hot Pot is dipping raw seafood, meat, noodles, vegetables, and anything else into the pot to cook, and then later eating and drinking the soup.  Although I like eating Hot Pot whenever it is convenient, it is best during the winter time.

Here is how the Chen family eats their Hot Pot:

  • Items needed:  1 portable stove top burner and a can of gas, 1 large pot, several ladles and long chop-sticks, bowls, plates, and other eating utensils.
  • Ingredients:
    • 2 cans of chicken stock, 3 tablespoons of dashi soup base.
    • Cut vegetables: spinach and bok choi, sliced lotus root, lots of beech mushrooms
    • Noodles: 1 to 2 packages of Chinese bean thread noodles
    • Seafood: scallops, clams, raw shrimp, and sliced pieces of tilapia (amount is up to the diners!), seafood balls
    • Meat: thiny sliced pieces of beef or pork
    • Other: 3 packages of konnyaku noodles for hot pot, firm tofu, deep fried tofu curd, and special dipping sauce for taste.
  • Instructions:
    • In the kitchen, fill the large pot with the chicken stock and the dashi soup base, and pour water into the pot until the pot is about 3/4 full of liquid. Bring the water to a boil and taste the soup to see if its to your liking.
    • Once boiled, bring the pot of soup over to the portable stove burner, and follow the manufacturer’s instruction on lighting it.
    • Begin dipping the food! Once it’s completely cooked, take it out, pour some of the soup with it, and eat it with any dipping sauce you like! (my father has a good dipping sauce recipe, but I have no idea how to replicate it!)
Jo-Anne is a huge fan of Mooncake.
In fact, I have caught her eating that throughout the year. Mooncake is another traditional Chinese food item commonly devoured during the Lunar New Year. It is a thick cake, almost like a soft cookie, with delicious red bean paste in the middle. Some mooncakes are also made with lotus seeds in the middle. This is a rather difficult item to try and bake on your own, and seeing as how I’ve never made it, unfortunately I can’t provide the recipe! But, should you be adventurous to try, the recipe can be found here: Mooncake recipe.
If you have any questions about any of our services, feel free to contact us today!

Article by Florence Chen Monauer

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