Gauss-Telegraph: Traditional food for the spring festival
by Fangzheng Sun
For Chinese people, the Spring Festival is undoubtedly the most important celebration. Similar to Christmas in the West, the Chinese Spring Festival consists of a meal with the whole family.
The atmosphere of Spring Festival lasts for a long time, from the end of January to the beginning of March. People will not only enjoy more vacations and can be reunited with their families, but also prepare a variety of dishes and wait for the arrival of friends and family.
What’s delicious to eat at the Spring Festival?
Jiaozi (饺子) are a must at the Spring Festival. Jiaozi are the most representative traditional dish in China, which have a history of nearly two thousand years and are widely loved by people. An old Chinese proverb says that nothing is more delicious than jiaozi (好吃不过饺子). In Northern China, it is impossible not to eat jiaozi during the Chinese Spring Festival.
Jiaozi are shaped like yuanbao (ancient Chinese currency). For this reason, they have the meaning of wrapping good luck. Eating jiaozi symbolizes the prosperity of life. People sometimes also wrap coins or peanut rice and nuts in jiaozi so that the people who eat it will have more luck in the New Year.
The most traditional way of making jiaozi dough is, of course, handmade. It is not complicated to make, but you need a lot of experience to make the dough round and thin. Nowadays, many families buy the dough directly from the supermarket.
There are many types of jiaozi filling. The classic varieties are pork & cabbage, chicken & mushroom, vegetable & shrimp. My favorite is pork & cabbage. You can buy the ingredients everywhere and with a little seasoning they become extra delicious.
For international students in Germany, Chinese New Year always falls just before the exam period, and unfortunately we can’t fly home. That’s why we meet up with friends to cook jiaozi together. In the meantime, it has almost become an annual must.
Besides Jiaozi, Yuanxiao (元宵) is also very popular.
Yuanxiao is a traditional Chinese festive food. It is made of rice flour, and it can be eaten either sweet (filled with sesame seeds, red beans, peanuts) or salty (filled with meat). Just as people in northern China like to eat jiaozi, people in the south make their own yuanxiao at home.
The yuanxiao symbolizes the reunion of the family like a full moon, which gives a good wish to the future life of the people.
I’m from the southern part of China and my family likes to make yuanxiao during the Spring Festival, especially my grandmother. When I was very young, I could eat a lot every time. She has her own recipe by putting a small piece of lard in the yuanxiao to make the soup more delicious and juicy. I haven’t eaten anything like this anywhere else.
In addition, there are many delicious dishes, such as spring rolls.
Spring rolls are a traditional dish in East Asian countries. People use thin sheets of dough to roll up several prepared dishes. They often include glass noodles, strips of meat, potato strips and leeks. Don’t forget to spread a little sauce before rolling to make it taste better. Eating spring rolls has the meaning of rolling up spring and enjoying the coming spring.