Monday, February 03, 2014

CNY 2014

Hello Year of the Horse! Chinese New Year is a big deal in our house and most Chinese follow different variations of traditions - some stricter than others! In our house, the past few weeks has seen mandarin oranges, traditional festive foods and plenty of decorations enter our household. Among some of the traditions/superstitions before New Years Day include getting a hair cut (getting a hair cut during CNY is a no-no), cleaning the house from top to bottom, replacing the lucky laisee (red envelope) that we keep under our beds for new ones, cleansing away the old year with a pomelo leaf bath on New Years Eve, buying fresh flowers to welcome in the New Year and making sure to keep some house lights on (we keep our hallway light on) - to welcome in the New Year light.
Again, not all Chinese follow this but in our house, various offerings were burned for the Kitchen God (my knowledge about these things and the Buddhist traditions in our house are kind of rusty!). Tong yuen/glutinous rice balls were used for worship or 拜神/bai sun. Afterwards, any food offerings are always eaten. Tong Yuen is one of my favourite things ever - served in a sweet sugary ginger syrup with various fillings - these were sesame. SO GOOD. 
As with every CNY post that I've done in the past (they're all pretty similar) it is all about family and food - something I am much more well versed in! Firstly we have a Reunion dinner on the Eve. There is always chicken and Chinese roast pork belly as my mum would have used them for bai sun/worship earlier in the day. We like to dip our roast pork belly in a little sugar - one of my uncles commented on this once and said that we are super old school Hong Kong for still doing this instead of mustard.
CNYevedinnerThis is followed by a New Years Day dinner. Instead of having one on New Years Day, we had it on Sunday at my grandmothers. We have the same food pretty much every year - so take a look at last years too. Included are lobster, sea bass and some stewed Hakka dishes (my mum's side are all Hakka people) I wasn't able to take many photos this year as everyone was eager to eat - blogger problems!
As ever, the 'Kids table' which is pictured above was filled with food but there is actually a dish of suckling pig that is missing in this pic! There are some dishes that are 'must-haves' as part of the New Year dinner. For example, the phrase "年年有余" is an auspicious saying which translates to roughly as 'to have more/surplus every year'. This phrase can be in regards to anything i.e health/business/finance so it's a lucky phrase to welcome in the New Year. The character '' sounds similar to fish - so having fish at the meal is a must!

While the traditions of CNY lasts a little longer, this was the last big family get-together at my grandmothers until next Christmas. It has been a wonderful weekend and I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into what I get up to during this time, see my Instagram for a few more pics. Wishing everyone an amazing lunar new year ahead - 恭喜發財, 新年快樂!


  1. Love hearing about different traditions. Chinese New Year with all of the family sounds like great fun and the food looks amazing.

  2. Beautiful photos Winnie! I wish I'd taken more photos but I just snapped away on my Instax. Like you, I adore the traditions and culture at this time of year, there's so much symbolism around it! x

  3. Hahaha funnily enough, it was only until I saw the tong yuen on your Instagram that I said to my mum "I want sweet tong yuen", so she made some ^_^ love her. We always have a little bowl of sugar when we have roast pork but I've never taken to the flavour combination! Prefer to dip my roast pork in hoisin sauce, don't know if that makes me weird?! Anyway, Happy Chinese New Year, Winnie!!

    Jade | The Jade Aesthetic

  4. Obviously I know little about the traditions, but we did have a year in elementary school where we had a big parade to honor the Chinese new year. We even made one of those cool walking dragons.

  5. Oh yum! The food looks really delicious, I love how the Lunar New Year festival originated so long ago (13th Century BC) and since then has spread to many nations and with that created so many long running traditions. I love glutenous rice balls!

  6. That food all looks amazing! I love reading about different traditions, it's always eye opening to find out more :) x

  7. Kung Hei Fat Choi!

    Beautiful pictures. I haven't had tong yuen in years, it's really got me craving now!


  8. Happy Chinese new year, Winnie! These photos are gorgeous, I love reading about family traditions I always find these things so interesting! And as for all that food... it all looks so incredible, makes me feel hungry!

  9. Happy Chinese New Year! I have such food envy reading this post and love hearing about family traditions. x

  10. Happy Chinese New Year! Your feast looks amazing!

  11. Such beautiful photos! It all looks incredible.
    I love hearing about different cultures and traditions. Happy New Chinese Year!

    {Teffy's Perks} X

  12. beautiful photos! :D
    What about follow each other?
    Let me know :)
    have a lovely day <3

  13. These photos make me alternate between happiness and sadness. My family cooks almost the exact same dishes, eats candy from, I swear, that same box, and even has dining room chairs that look similar. Your pictures make me wish that I could be there with them right now! However, I'll take delight in your beautiful photography and live vicariously through your celebration.


    Another Beautiful Thing

  14. love reading your blog, It's very refreshing and genuine and I really appreciate that :)
    anyway, would you like to follow each other?



  15. Oh my gosh, those red candies are my favorite! I used to hoard them during CNY, haha.

  16. All that food looks so yummy!

  17. I enjoyed reading about your family's CNY traditions - my folks are not that strict about them but it's a big deal in our household too. Love the food oix. For reunion dinner, we always have a massive hotpot meal with lots of veggies, meat and seafood. Seriously one of my fave meals of all time. Gong hei fatt choy to you too!

  18. This looks amazing! Happy Chinese New Year to you :)

    Maria xxx

  19. Oh I really like hearing about this. I know I'm very late but happy new year! I hope the year of the horse will bring so much more good things! I really get hungry of all the food... and a bit homesick too!

  20. This sounds like such an amazing tradition. I'm not that familiar with everything that goes on - I've only started hearing more about it through Instagram and blogs. I'm hugely jealous of all the food - it looks insanely delicious. xx

  21. wowee this looks fab, the food looks just amazing. Wishing you a happy new year Winnie.

    Buckets & Spades

  22. seriously your family is pro at traditional chinese cooking. And yes for the kids table! We still have that in our family when we have bigger family gatherings. I miss it. I think you know more about the chinese traditions for new year than I do... what's a pomelo leaf bath? We just had veggies on the first day of CNY though. :(

    And I'm trying to picture dipping my roast pork belly in sugar :S


  23. Belated Happy Chinese New Year, Winnie!!! It looks like you had a very cosy one with your family and not to mention, a lot of delish Chinese dishes!!!! Wow you dip sugar for your roast pork belly? I know people do mustard in HK but i personally eat it on its own, hehe....and i'm amazed your mom also bai sun in the UK!!! It's good to hear she is still carrying on the tradition!! I dont recall my mom doing it at all when we lived in Denmark. Now she does it religiously since we moved back to HK, lol

    and my god the tong yuen looks soo delish! I don't know why i dont ever eat them over here!!! I should get some come to think of it!!! And lovely flowers too!!! Hope you got a lot of lai sees!

    Anyhow, just a quick hi and checking your blog as i've been MIA with people's blogs and my own for the past 2 months,hahaha

    And happy early Valentines Day!!!!




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