The Chinese New Year is coming: the dishes to celebrate it – Italian Cuisine

The Chinese New Year is coming: the dishes to celebrate it


It falls each year at a different time on our calendar, but always between January 21 and February 20. In this 2022 the celebrations for the Chinese New Year they start from February 1st and will last for the following 16 days, ending with the Lantern Festival. Two weeks full of celebrations, rites and events that welcome theyear of the Tiger, the sign of the Chinese zodiac that, in the next 12 months, will foster shrewdness and courage by replacing the Buffalo, a symbol of resilience, which accompanied us in 2021.

Great party on the table and in the street
Like all popular celebrations, the Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, has its highlight in banquets to share with family and close friends in the name ofabundance: literal, with a number of superfine courses, but also metaphorical, with the use of ingredients that symbolize the prosperity. As for the western anniversary, the most magical evening is that of Vigil, with a rich man dinner among the domestic walls, lanterns to decorate streets and clubs and pyrotechnic games to illuminate the skies. To dominate mise en place and color arrangements Red, universal good luck charm.

Noodles, rice and dim sum
Unmissable on Chinese tables, they are no exception in festive ones: we are talking about noodles And dim sum. The former can be made of wheat, rice or potato starch, translucent like those of soy. The toppings are always rich with meat, mushrooms, dried fish, spring onions and spicy touches of chilli. THE dim sum are the typical ravioli, or jaozi, bundles, rolls and bao (soft sandwiches) with a thousand shapes and the most varied fillings. Also dishes based on enrich the table rice: sauteed with meat and vegetables or in the form of gnocchi (niangao), both salty and sweet, obtained from the "glutinous" one.

Sea and land specialties
Among the dishes that cannot be missed, the fish (whose word in Chinese sounds just like "abundance") and the finest fish specialties. Whether one of the most typical courses remains the controversial one shark fin soup (increasingly criticized because it puts sharks at risk of extinction), there is no lack of more sustainable alternatives such asabalone, particular monovalve mollusk, the oysters, i shrimp, lobsters and lobsters, sea ​​bass, groupers and freshwater varieties such as perch, steamed and finished with elaborate sauces. A curious specialty is the "Squirrel fish", one carp carved and fried, served still sizzling, which resembles the shape of the animal and produces a "creak" similar to a squeak. They come from the farmyard duck And chicken, who keep company with pig, a symbol of prosperity around the world. The meats can be used in soups, in the fillings of ravioli or, as mentioned, in the condiments of vermicelli, spaghetti or lamian, the special hand-rolled noodles. But also be marinated, glazed, lacquered, roasted, plated: many preparations for sumptuous dishes of earth that are mixed on the table to be shared among the diners, in perfect "sharing" style.

How to toast?
According to tradition, even during the holidays you dine at you or, at most, sipping distillates of rice or other cereals. As the Fenjiu, made with sorghum, barley and peas, aged in terracotta jars, with which to toast at the restaurant Dao di Roma which, in its Christmas Eve menu, offers among others i Baozi Cha Sha Bao, small bundles of soft dough. However, in recent years, even in China, an increasing interest in wine has been developing and the most refined restaurants are starting, even here, to offer highly respectable bottles. Thus, in Milan Bon Wei combines a selection of Amaroni from the Historical Families, the Association that brings together the most important and ancient wineries of Valpolicella: an unexpected but successful marriage with dishes such as crispy yellow grouper with black garlic, duck Yan Shui boiled "water and salt", the rib of beef Guo Qiao with black pepper and taro, a battered and fried tuber, served with a pork and chili sauce. Brianza MU Fish, Nova Milanese's address for Asian fusion cuisine, accompanies the dim sum of its celebratory menu with the effervescence of Lambrusco Doc Spumante. Two proposals very much in line with what is happening in the East, where reds are much more appreciated than whites. Although we (and many sommeliers) would like to recommend a great Classic Method, from Franciacorta to Trentodoc. For a cheers … to the health of the Tiger!

Francesca Romana Mezzadri
January 2022

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