Chinese New Year Eve Family Happy Hours

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Table of goodies

Table of goodies

Table of delicacies

Table of delicacies

Chinese New Year Eve is a very important event to all Chinese. It’s the time when family members gather together for the reunion dinner if possible. Many travel home from far to join the rest for this auspicious time. But for me, sadly, it’s been quite a number of years since I’ve not been back for the Chinese New Year. We miss home a lot during this time and so are our families back home in Malaysia.

I remember one year my mother-in-law called me at midnight (Malaysian time), or 4 p.m. here, to ask me to listen to the non-stop fire crackers blasting into the air from everyone around in the neighbourhood. Isn’t she sweet? But isn’t she naughty too, to make me miss home even more!! And every year she calls to ask what I cook. Of course I’ll make sure I cook good food for her son and grand children….haha.

Well, as usual, we always try to create some Chinese New Year mood and atmosphere here every year. A few of us Malaysian families had a pot luck lunch in my place. In fact we enjoyed ourselves so much that we stayed on for dinner together! There was even enough to last us through another meal. But that would mean everyone sleeping overnight here…haha. The hours that we spent were really happy hours…..lovely friendship, great food, great chat and laughter.

2 plates of yee sang

2 plates of yee sang

The highlight of the occasion was the special dish called ‘yee sang‘, or ‘yu sang‘ made by my friend. It’s actually a very delicious salad dish. Yee sang is a symbol of prosperity and abundance. It’s made up of finely sliced vegetables and smoked salmon.

yee sang with the topping

yee sang with the topping

Then a beautiful sauce was poured over it followed by crushed peanuts.

Having fun mixing up the yee sang together

Having fun mixing up the yee sang together

Then everyone will dive in with their chopsticks to stir it, lifting up every pick, as high as possible and reciting Chinese New Year poems. That was really so fun.

Well-mixed yee sang

Well-mixed yee sang

When all is well mixed, the lunch started. I loved this salad so much that I actually ate 3 bowls!

Fish made from jelly

Fish made from jelly

Another related one is the fish, which is also a symbol of prosperity and abundance. My friend made a few beautiful fish with jelly. They looked fabulous.

Nasi lemak

Nasi lemak

For me, a Malaysian meal will not be complete without the famous nasi lemak. It is coconut rice with a few side dishes. The basic are cucumber, salted peanuts, omelette and the must have, spicy sambal sauce. Chicken curry is also part of it. The sambal is a lot of work so I had to cook it the day before.

Vegetarian fried noodles

Vegetarian fried noodles

Noodles is a symbol of longevity. I remember every Chinese New Year, my mom would cook the white, long noodles, called ‘mee suah’, served in chicken soup and topped with 2 hard boiled eggs. Everyone has to eat a bowl for breakfast. All of us liked it very much.

Well, you may want to know what I cooked. Apart from the nasi lemak and noodles above, I made Crunchy Peanut Candy, Chocolate Shortbread Slice, Condensed Milk Pine nuts Slice (recipe coming soon), Chewy Scallion Chinese Pancakes, Chicken Curry, Pork Stew (also called ‘hong shao rou’), baked char siu puff. I also prepared some fruits and sweets too.

I must say it was a very fun Chinese New Year Eve together. We created the atmosphere well and everyone was happy.

How do you celebrate your New Year? Do you have any food that is symbolic of anything? Please share, add and comment in the comment box below.

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49 Comments

Divina  on February 18th, 2010

I’m absent I should have been there. We had dinner at home. Each will bring their own food. Nobody cooks any vegetables so I’m in charge of that. :)

Sushma Mallya  on February 18th, 2010

tempting pics mary…seems u had a great time..

Christine@Christine's Recipes  on February 18th, 2010

Wow, you’ve had a good time, Mary.
CNY is a great time to share foods and build friendships/relationships. Love all the dishes!

Mary  on February 18th, 2010

@Divina - Absolutely! You should be here to join us! Hope you had a great time on your side. I bet there’s lots of good food too….so many great chefs at home :D Maybe I should join you :D

@Sushma Mallya - Thanks very much. We had an awesome time :D

@Christine@Christine’s Recipes - We sure had. I hope you had a great time too. I think I love all my friend’s food more than mine :D

3hungrytummies  on February 18th, 2010

OMG! I should have been there!

pigpigscorner  on February 18th, 2010

wahh that’s a lot of goodies! Happy CNY!

penny aka jeroxie  on February 18th, 2010

So much food! And that jelly fish is classic. and yee sheng… must invite me next time

Dongxing  on February 18th, 2010

What fantastic pictures of all the goodies! We celebrated first day of chinese new year on Sunday. It was a double celebration as it was also my husband’s birthday. We have a total of 8 people, and a 10-course chinese banquet-style sit-down meal. Truly truly memorable. I love your jelly fish which is a great idea for symbolic purpose, not to mention a great WOW factor as the central table piece. I had steamed seabass instead, and to do that, had to make the husband drive a total of 22 miles on Sunday morning to get the fish. It was worth getting the fish fresh. Happy Chinese New Year to you and your family.

kristy  on February 18th, 2010

Wow, sounds like you guys are having lots of fun there! My poor cousin sis called me up from Ireland, she said NO one is celebrating CNY in their town. She missed this festive season soooo very much! However, wishing you & your family the very best in the year of tiger! Gong xi gong xi!

tasteofbeirut  on February 18th, 2010

I was salivating looking at your festive spread! I got acquainted with this salad just yesterday from notquitenigella’s blog (Australia) and loved it! That fish looks so beautiful I want to make one too!

Mary  on February 18th, 2010

@3hungrytummies - Oh, I wish you were here. We would have so much more fun :D

@pigpigscorner - Thanks very much! How not to put on weight! :D Happy Chinese New Year to you too.

@penny aka jeroxie - Invitation open! :D

@Dongxing - Thanks very much for visiting and for your lovely compliment & sharing. I’m really amused to hear your hubby had to drive 22 miles to buy the fish. Poor man…had to drive such long distance for a fish on his birthday!! I suppose he enjoys driving and needs good food too :D You and your family sure had a great time and great food…..awesome. Wishing you and your family a very Happy & Prosperous Chinese New Year.

@kristy - Sure we had…lots of fun and food :D Oh dear…your poor cousin. I think she should come here to my place to celebrate next year. Hope you had a great time with your family. Wishing you a great Chinese New Year! A lot of roaring this year :D

@tasteofbeirut - I must say this salad is absolutely delicious and appetising….yum. I have to learn how to make it. The fish…I agree….look so pretty. I actually didn’t feel like eating it….didn’t want to spoil it! :P

Dongxing  on February 18th, 2010

Thank you. Yes, the husband wasn’t that keen about driving but keener on eating fresh fish, so off he went. I forgot to mention that we managed to take the kids and two other little children to watch a lion dance on Feb 15th, minus the firecrackers. Very eye opening for the kids.

Roti n Rice  on February 18th, 2010

Everything look fabulous! We had yee sang too and it was fun to do the tossing. Those fish made from jelly look awesome. I wonder where your friend got those molds?

I know what you mean about missing the folks back home especilly during this time of the year. It has also been a while since I did that.

Jeannie  on February 18th, 2010

Wow! Such a delicious looking spread you have prepared Mary. I am not so hardworking lol! This year I left it to my sisters to prepare all the cookies for the new year and I just bake some cakes for prayers on the eve of CNY. And there were lots of fireworks to be seen here at the stroke of midnight. Gong Xi Fa Cai to you and your family Mary. I can see that you were having a great time:D

joylicious  on February 18th, 2010

ohmygosh that fish made from jelly is QUITE impressive. Actually this entire spread is out of this world, I wouldn’t even know what to do with myself except to eat everything :) MY TUMMY IS GROWLING MARY!! Aiya… Unfortunately I did not find any new year festivities in Dallas nor did I have any families that would take me in and feed me new year goodies :( But usually my mom would make us some type of noodle dish, maybe she may cook some for me when I go home this weekend. Gong Xi Fa Cai Mary all the wishes for a prosperous new year!

5 Star Foodie  on February 18th, 2010

What a fabulous feast! So many excellent dishes! I just love that jelly fish, very neat!

Cheah  on February 18th, 2010

So much food, Mary! The yee sang looks fabulous with fresh ingredients. Had this thrice already.
May you and your family have a blessed and prosperous New Year!

diva  on February 18th, 2010

What a feast!! I’m jealous. happy new year! Gong hei fat choy ;D

anncoo  on February 18th, 2010

WOW! This is really a big spread! So enjoyable with so many friends and family around.

Food o' del Mundo  on February 18th, 2010

Oh Mary! What a FEAST! Gorgeous and colorful! My favorite photo is the one with everyone mixing with their chop sticks. ~Mary

Mary  on February 18th, 2010

@Dongxing - I’m really impressed with your hubby’s zeal in eating fresh fish! I don’t think my hubby would do that. He’ll probably just sleep away his craving :D Very good to know that you brought your kids to watch lion dance. Here, sadly, there’s no lion dance. Maybe we have to dance ourselves :D

@Roti n Rice - Titally agree with you that the tossing was so fun. But I didn’t get to join in cos I was busy taking photos….but fun to watch others enjoying it :D I think my friend got those fish molds from back home. I must get them when I go back for holidays. Well, I hope my family can go back for Chinese New Year one day. It’s hard when our children are still studying cos there’s no holidays.

@Jeannie - The fun is more rewarding than the suffering to cook…LOL You are very smart…..making cakes are easier :D I didn’t manage to make cookies or cakes, just 2 types of slices. Here…..no fireworks :( If there is, I think the police will be after us!…haha But we did had a great time without those ear cracking noises from the fire crackers. Hope you had a great Chinese New Year, too.

@joylicious - Yes, the fish were so impressive that no one was willing to spoil it so it was the last to be eaten :D I wanted to eat everything but regretted my tummy is too small. And my mistake to eat 3 bowls of yee sang….how greedy :P That filled me up. So poor thing, Joy…no one took you in. Next year, just come here….will feed you very well :D Well, hope your mom feeds you well this weekend.

@5 Star Foodie - Thanks very much! The fish looks like the Chinese carp….beautiful. I’m really happy that my friend made that. I must invite her every year :P

@Cheah - Yes, really lots of food….the most since last Chinese New Year. Whah…you are so lucky to eat thrice already! I will be going for a Chinese New Year party tomorrow and there will be yee sang so that makes twice. I think I should learn to make too. Hope you had a great Chinese New Year with your loved ones.

@diva - Thanks very much! Don’t be jealous. Chinese New Year is not over yet. You can still come :D I’ll feed you well! Happy Chinese New Year too!

@anncoo - Yes, we had great food and great time :D Only thing we don’t have all the dong dong chiang and fire crackers around :(

@Food o’ del Mundo - Thanks very much! The mixing of the salad dish, yee sang, was very fun to watch or even to toss. It was hilarious to listen to the Chinese poems as they toss :D

Janice  on February 18th, 2010

Hope you have a good New Year.

Angie@Angie's Recipes  on February 18th, 2010

Mary, that’s a Banquet! The jelly fish is just fascinating! You rock!

Cajun Chef Ryan  on February 18th, 2010

Happy New Year of the Tiger! This meal is amazing!

Regards,
CCR
=:~)

Sarah, Maison Cupcake  on February 18th, 2010

Mmm I am spoilt for choice here, lots of lovely things. I like the Yee Sang which I heard of for the first time just yesterday on Not Quite Nigella and I absolutely love those fish made from jelly.

Mary  on February 18th, 2010

@Janice - Yes, I had. Still having fun :P It’s still Chinese New Year until next Sun which is the 15th day of the Chinese New Year.

@Angie@Angie’s Recipes - Awwww…thanks very much for your sweet compliment! :D I love the jelly fish too.

@Cajun Chef Ryan - I’ll be roaring a lot then this year :D

@Sarah, Maison Cupcake - Now I think I want to eat yee sang any time :P Why only wait til Chinese New Year to eat such a fabulous dish? I’ll have to learn. It’s such a healthy dish, too. The fish really look too beautiful to go into our stomach…haha

Julie Lynn  on February 18th, 2010

Mary, what a wonderful feast for your celebration. The fish molds are beautiful!

I love Chinese New Year too. We lived in China for a year and during that time we came to love the non-stop fireworks that were part of the celebration. You are making me miss those days. =)

Happy New Year of the Tiger!

ravenouscouple  on February 18th, 2010

what a great feast..happy new years!

Sook @ My Fabulous Recipes  on February 18th, 2010

Oh boy, can I come join your family next year??? Everything looks sooooo good!

pegasuslegend  on February 18th, 2010

Wow this is beyond spectacular, how lucky to be so talented and full of wonderful traditional foods, lots of love and wonderful memories were made here, totally enjoyed being able to see the wonderful new year with your family HAppy Chinese New Year hope you have a blessed year ahead with all good things and great health

Reeni  on February 18th, 2010

What a delicious feast and fun times! Happy Chinese New Year!

Mary  on February 18th, 2010

@Julie Lynn - Thanks very much, Julie! Wow….Chinese New Year must be exceptionally spectacular in China. I wish I can celebrate Chinese New Year in China one day….the real Chinese way :P You must have learnt a lot about the Chinese culture & food.

@ravenouscouple - Thanks very much! Everyone of us over ate :P

@Sook @ My Fabulous Recipes - Of course you can! There’ll be more fun and more food :D

@pegasuslegend - Thanks very much for your greetings and lovely compliment. Yes, it’s one that I will cherish for a long, long time….the wonderful friendship that we share :D

@Reeni - Thanks very much, Reeni! :D

rebecca  on February 18th, 2010

oh wow what a feast adore the fish, happy new year Mary and I hope you try and make madeleines again I fail all the time in the kitchen lol

tigerfish  on February 19th, 2010

What a feast! And the love of sharing with family and friends :D

noobcook  on February 19th, 2010

What a great feast! the yee sang looks very good!

Mary  on February 19th, 2010

@Rebecca - Thanks very much, Rebecca! Yes, I will try the madeleines again. Keep Learning Keep Smiling :D Glad to know I’m not alone LOL

@tigerfish - Thanks very much! :)

@noobcook - Thanks very much ! :)

Olive ♥  on February 19th, 2010

so many yummy food..I love the salad and that fish jelly, is so cute :) Thanks for sharing Mary!! Happy Chinese New Year!! I’m born in the year of the tiger..hope this year’s a good year! :)

Mary  on February 19th, 2010

@Olive - Aha….we belong to the same animal :D We will roar a lot this year …. LOL Happy Chinese New Year to you too!

SKip to Malou  on February 20th, 2010

What a spread… i told you we should be neighbors so I get invited! Belated Happy CNY!

Drick  on February 20th, 2010

still trying to catch up on posts - looks like you had a swell time, Happy New Year … love the jelly fish

Mary  on February 20th, 2010

@SKip to Malou - Totally agree with you on that….neighbours!! We will have so much fun :D We will make the whole neighbourhood jealous…LOL. Thanks for CNY wishes!

@Drick - Thanks very much! I guess your body system is still in the Mardi Gras :D I’m sure you had great fun!

Kitchen Butterfly  on February 20th, 2010

What a feast………..Love the salad too!

Von  on February 20th, 2010

Looks like you had an awesome new year! The food looks so good! I’d never heard of yee sang before until I read about it on food blogs. It sounds so fun! The fish is really cute too!

Mary  on February 21st, 2010

@Kitchen Butterfly - Thanks very much! :)

@Von - Thanks very much, Von! We sure had an awesome time…lots of food and fun :D More to come :P

Mimi  on February 22nd, 2010

Good food and good friend what a great way to celebrate a new year.
Mimi

Mary  on February 24th, 2010

@Mimi - Yes, that’s why I’m very happy this Chinese New Year :D It’s really one of the best!

Thas  on February 24th, 2010

Gosh, so many dishes I want to taste all the dishes, all looks tempting and delish. Loved the fish jelly. Btw how many pounds did you gain after having all these?? lol

kathyvegas  on February 25th, 2010

What a lovely story! I truly enjoyed reading this post…Happy Chinese New Year!

Mary  on February 27th, 2010

@Thas - Wish you were here to taste all the dishes and join in the fun! Haha…at high risk of gaining weight eating like this :D I work very hard with my exercise too…badminton. I think that burns off everything that I eat. So far, I think I have not gained any weight…happy! :D

@kathyvegas - Thanks very much for visiting and your lovely comment, Kathy! :D

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