Festive familiy fare

Updated: 2016-02-06 03:00

(China Daily USA)

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Food has been an integral part of Chinese culture for centuries. Besides providing sustenance and nutrition, food is also associated with numerous other things, such as being an indicator of social status or wealth, a badge of one’s identity as well as a means of fostering harmony and closer ties to family and friends.

The last aspect of food is especially relevant during the Chinese New Year. The reunion dinner, which falls on the eve of the Spring Festival, is regarded by most people as the most important event during this holiday period. Naturally, the food that is prepared for this momentous occasion has to be more extravagant than usual, and housewives will go to great extents to fill their dinner tables with a wide variety of dishes.

Ask 100 Shanghainese people for a list of the things they traditionally eat during the Lunar New Year festivities and you’re likely to be presented with 101 different answers. After all, the menu varies from family to family and is largely dependent on local tradition and customs. However, there are certain dishes with special meanings that will almost always be prepared. Here are some of them.

Festive familiy fare

Lobster chips


Tasty and crunchy, lobster chips are a favorite snack almost every family will have. But despite what its name suggests, these chips aren’t actually made from lobsters. Instead, its great taste comes from fresh fish or shrimp that is mixed in starch before being fried to a crisp. Eating lobster chips used to be considered a luxury that was reserved for important festivals and entertaining important guests. These days, however, they are seen as a nostalgic throwback to the old days when food was scarce.

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