Lunar New Year celebrations go way beyond crimson-coloured lanterns and dragons. Though most commonly celebrated in many East Asian cultures, it’s an occasion for everyone to gather with loved ones and set positive intentions for the year ahead.
A hallmark of this special celebration, which revolves around the moon’s cycles, is the spawning of good fortune that can be taken into the new year. Perennially defined by the first new moon of the lunar calendar, the date varies annually, but always denotes optimism and new beginnings.
Since we could all use a fresh start after a dismal 2020, the upcoming Lunar New Year (on February 12) is the perfect occasion to sample a cornucopia of symbolic dishes meant to promote good luck. To celebrate, we’ve joined forces with BC Liquor Stores to help you recreate some of these traditional dishes from home, with thoughtful drink pairings that will emphasize the best flavours in each.
Whether you’re after prosperity, harmony, or good health, the symbolism behind each dish will help you curate your very own dinner party menu — one that can satiate your tastebuds and help you manifest your 2021 intentions.
So, let’s say farewell to an eventful year of the Rat and embrace the year of the Ox — a harbinger of hard work and positivity — with full glasses and even fuller stomachs.
In addition to being utterly delicious, spring rolls symbolize the rolls of cash that may be awaiting your future self. The deep-fried creations represent bars of gold and are an ideal dish for those looking to attract wealth and prosperity. Take a peek at how to make them from home here.
To drink, you’ll want something effervescent — like Veuve Clicquot Champagne Brut — to complement the crunchy, fried texture of the rolls. Lively and energetic, this creamy champagne will give your dish a fruity and floral finish.
The key to unlocking success — referred to as “yu” in Mandarin, meaning surplus — may just be eating steamed fish. The idea is that every year, you want an abundance of food or wealth, so you have some leftover for the next year. You can get the low-down on how to make this exquisite dish yourself right here.
When serving the fish, you’ll want a bottle of dry white on-hand. Something like a Chapoutier Bila-Haut Côtes Du Roussillon Blanc will bring the vibrant citrus flavours you want to the table.
Extra-long noodles for an extra-long life! Long noodles represent longevity in Chinese culture and, for this reason, are usually served uncut. To get some long life noodles with mushrooms going in your kitchen, you can find a stellar recipe here.
As far as drinks go, a medium-bodied red will do the trick. Nab yourself a bottle of Louis Jadot Bourgogne Couvent Des Jacobins Pinot Noir for a wine that will add its own spicy, plum character to your meal without overshadowing it.
Are you vying for a promotion in 2021? Then you’ll want to munch on some rice cakes. This Chinese staple symbolizes a rise in career and salary and is referred to as “nian gao.” “Nian” means year, while “gao” has the same pronunciation as “tall” or “high.” You can get a load of the best stir-fried rice cake recipe here.
Light and bright is the way to go with drink pairings on this one. A lush riesling, like Nik Weis St. Urbans-Hof Mosel From Old Vines Riesling, will coat your palate with flavours of stone fruit and honey before cleansing it for more bites of savoury rice cake.
The sweet-smelling osmanthus flower, or “gui hua,” is a recurring motif in Chinese celebrations. “Gui” has the same pronunciation as noble, so in Chinese culture, osmanthus represents auspiciousness, friendship, and success. You’ll find tips on how to make this decadent jelly at home here.
Pairing your jelly with some prosecco will make for a doubly sweet and fruity treat. Packaged in a striking gold bottle, Bottega Gold Prosecco is bright and lively, with a creamy, mouth-filling mousse that will contrast with the silky texture of the jelly.
If you’re feeling extra enthusiastic about this year’s festivities, check out this limited edition bottling released specially for Lunar New Year celebrations.
To discover these pairings and more, you can visit your local BC Liquor Stores location. To find one near you, watch virtual events, or read the latest issue of TASTE magazine, you can check out BCLiquorStores.com.
For the latest updates on releases and tips on what to drink, you can also follow @BCLiquorStores on Instagram.
As always, please remember drinks are best enjoyed when they’re enjoyed responsibly.