A boisterous tradition of the Lunar New Year is the lion and dragon dance. Acrobatic performers wear colourful costumes that resemble mythical creatures believed to scare away bad luck to bring good fortune. The parade is on hold for this year, but there are other ways to celebrate!
Some of the other traditions that surround Chinese New Year are of the tasty kind. The Chinese are superstitious, and this is reflected in the foods that are served on New Year’s Day.
You may think the shapes of dumplings are arbitrary, but there is a meaning behind how these savory little delights are wrapped. Dumplings are made in the shape of gold and silver ingots and it’s said that the more dumplings you eat on New Year’s Day, the luckier you’ll be. So if you’re looking to load up on dumplings in the auspicious name of fortune, check out some of my favorite Montréal dumpling shops like Qing Hua, Restaurant Yi Pin Xiang, Mei Restaurant, Mai Xiang Yuan, Jiu Xiang Yuan and Harbin Dumpling. Also, check out some of the city’s best dim sum offerings if you’re feeling for more than just dumplings: Ruby Rouge, Imperial Restaurant, Tong Por and Chez Chine.
Another auspicious food eaten on New Year’s Day is fish. The pronunciation of fish in Chinese is a homonym for “abundance”, and this meal is considered to be lucky. Prepared in different ways, fish is always served with the head and tail on as it represents a “beginning and end.” Check out Chinatown’s Maison Kim Fung, Keung Kee and Mon Nan as well at Maison Foo Lam, for some of the freshest seafood around – their live tanks can attest to the quality of food that they serve.
Noodles are also a favorite food eaten on New Year’s Day. Noodles should never be cut, the longer the better. Long noodles represent longevity and the long and prosperous year you’ll have. There is nothing better then fresh noodles hand-pulled right before your very eyes. Be sure to visit Nouilles de Lan Zhou, NUDO and restaurant Noodle Factory, where you can pick the style of noodles for your meal.
From fresh fruits that symbolize luck and fortune, to pastries and desserts, sweets are also some very auspicious things to eat to ring in the new year. Favourite desserts during this time of year are glutinous rice cakes and sweet rice balls. When said in Chinese “glutinous rice cake” is a homonym for “great success in business” and sweet rice balls are representative of togetherness. Check out local bakeries Pâtisserie Harmonie, Pâtisserie Coco, or La Reine Pâtisserie for these sweet treats.