Chinese New Year is here. Every part of the city is once again basked in a Chinese deco, the background Chinese music keeps the spirit up, and shops and restaurants are busy promoting special offers. All promise that the year of pig is going to be a prosperous one.
This is a time when food occupies a center part of people’s mind. What to eat and what good fortune one is going to have are issues dealt by many. It is quite a common knowledge, possibly worldwide, that at Chinese New Year food is highly correlated with auspicious meanings. Fish signifies surplus. Chicken is for good luck, and rice cake represents progress year on year. And those finger licking sugar coated lotus roots carry a meaning of plenitude.
Knowing which food carries what fortune is a partial understanding of food culture at Chinese New Year. What food really does is to bring people together, to reproduce an harmonious political and social environment, a belief deeply ingrained in Chinese mainstream culture and tradition.