Celebrating the Lunar New Year in Montréal

Jason Lee

Jason is a food eater and picture taker. As the blogger behind Shut Up and Eat, he covers everything food, from recipes to reviews. Jason has vowed that he will not stop until he has officially eaten his way across Montréal. It’s a big claim, and it’s one he’s making.

This article was updated on February 5, 2021.

The Lunar New Year (which occurs every year on the new moon of the first lunar month) is a very important time for the Chinese and Asian communities. This day is celebrated with different traditions, such as giving loved ones “lucky money” in red envelopes, cleaning one’s home signifying “getting rid of the old and welcoming the new,” as well as celebrating with other colourful festivities and delicious food.

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.

Dumplings

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 HuaRestaurant 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 RestaurantTong Por and Chez Chine.

Fish

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

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.

Sweets

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.

May the year of the Ox bring you much health, wealth and happiness for a prosperous and fruitful new year! Gung Hei Fat Choy!

Jason Lee

Jason is a food eater and picture taker. As the blogger behind Shut Up and Eat, he covers everything food, from recipes to reviews. Jason has vowed that he will not stop until he has officially eaten his way across Montréal. It’s a big claim, and it’s one he’s making.

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