Chinese / Asian/ Lunar New Year? Anyone cook for it?

Mountain Cat

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Personally, I really don't need any excuse to make Asian or Asian-inspired dishes, but we are coming up to The Year of the Rat, starting on January 25th.

Of course, it isn't just China - but much of the southeast Asian nations (Singapore, Malaysian, Indonesia), Indochina and even Japan and Korea that acknowledge it. Tibet also celebrates. Every year it falls on a different date - the first new moon of the new year - which sets it up for somewhere in the end of January to within February. Since both the sun and the moon are involved in the determination of the fall of the New Year (and ever so often the Chinese calendar inserts a "leap month), this date remains falling within the above time table. The calendar is thus actually "lunisolar", gaining its function from both solar and lunar astronomical behaviors.

The lunar New Year is celebrated differently in different countries that do celebrate. China has a 15-day celebration; South Korea and Tibet go for a three day fling. Different customs in each country, as well. One thing that is common is that any noodles that are served should not be cut - they should be made as long as possible (and slurped to consume, which is common in Asia anyway) because long noodles infer long life, long prosperity.

This year I am making a Thai soup for this occasion.

I'll post up more about customs and some recipes in this thread. Yorky , since you live in Thailand, I'd love a first-hand perspective!
 
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rascal

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I've been eating Thai a bit more lately since making my own pastes for curries. I need to learn more about Chinese foods as well. I have an excellent book on Asian cooking from different regions. A rendang is on my list to make.

Russ
 

Mountain Cat

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About the Chinese cycle of years: (NOTE some of the other regional cultures may see this a bit differently.) Many of the regions in China celebrate for 12 days, whereas some other nations celebrate for three.

The Chinese (and east Asian) year of the rat starts January 25th, 2020. Despite the associations in much of the western world of rats being unsavory, unsanitary and disgusting, rats are really bright creatures. I even have a friend who has had pet rats for over 20 years - she wanted pets and her husband was allergic to cats and dogs, but can tolerate rat dander. I've worked with rats in my past career, and yes, they are intelligent and much more personable than, say, mice or guinea pigs. Yes, they can't apparently be trained to eliminate body functions in a litter box, but if you want one as a pet, simply cleaning their housing every two or three days suffices, and they do groom themselves. Home-raised rats aren't going to carry diseases any more than your home-raised dog or cat.

I don't think it is a general thing for Asians to have pet Rats at home (they don't tend to have pet Ox, Snakes or Dragons, either... ) Just noting that rats are not necessarily disgusting, if they're not coming in from your sewers or such. And thus, being born in the Year of the Rat isn't a bad thing.

So, anyhow, the Year of the Rat, which is the first year of the lunar cycle:

Rat Year qualities for people born in a Rat Year:

"Rats are quick-witted, resourceful, and smart but lack courage. With rich imaginations and sharp observations, they can take advantage of various opportunities well."

In Chinese culture, rats represent working diligently and thriftiness, so people born in a Rat year are thought to be wealthy and prosperous." Rats are least likely to get along with Horse or Rooster folk.

See, not so bad? But beyond this, there is a further 60 year cycle, with different types of rats (and other zodiac critters). There are Wood, Fire, Earth, Water and Gold rats - and so 2020 is a Gold Rat year. (The previous one was 1960.) A gold rat? "Smart, talented, hot-tempered, jealous, with a strong sense of self-awareness".

Recent rat years: 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, and 2020.

PS, I'm a Snake. Yeah, that's me. (House Slytherin???) This sign also has good features (They all do). TBH I'm not sure about any form of astrology, but I find the ideas interesting in a benevolently-amusing way. AND I'm happy to celebrate the Asian Lunar New Year by my dining preferences, as far as I'm able, each year.
 

morning glory

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I'm a gold rabbit

Ladies belonging to the Rabbit zodiac sign, apart from having a pretty and demure appearance, have a pure heart. :eek: (NOPE!)

Rabbits are faithful to those around them but are reluctant to reveal their minds to others, and have a tendency to escape reality. They are too cautious and conservative, which means they miss good opportunities. (Nope - apart from tendency to escape reality)
 

TastyReuben

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This is from one such site, about the Fire Horse, with my own observations:

>>HORSE year people are popular and hard workers.

That doesn't describe me very closely. Popular within my group, yes. Popular at large, no. As to hard work, only if it's something I truly want. Otherwise, I'm a quite lazy pony.

>>They have financially sound minds and are adept at handling money matters.

That's way off. I'm a spender, first of all, and as my wife and our financial planner can attest, there are few things I'd rather never hear about again than money matters. I don't know what else causes me so much anxiety and discomfort than talking about money. Spiders. Spiders cause me about the same amount of discomfort. I @#%* hate spiders, and talking about finances.


>>They are independent and self-willed individuals who never take advice.

Mostly true. I'll cop to that.

>>Horse people should choose a field as a dentist, financier, banker, or politician.

Nope. I do actually work in the financial industry, but out of sheer (bad) luck, and I don't work with finances per se. I'm a software developer, and all those numbers I deal with are just bits and bytes to me. It's the single area, in my yearly review, where I get knocked down a bit - the fact that I don't know anything about the business side of things at my job.

>>The passionate influence of the Fire Element makes the Fire Horse the most unconventional, freedom-loving and adventurous of the Horse types.

I suppose so. I'm fairly unconventional, definitely freedom-loving, and adventurous in my own way. I'm not going to go rock climbing or deep-sea diving any time soon, but if the wife walks in 15 minutes from now and says, "I just found a good deal for a week in Bucharest, but we have to leave tomorrow, you in?" - That'd be a yes.

>>For the Fire Horse, there is little enjoyment to be found in a slow-paced life. Instead, members of the sign prefer excitement at every turn, which explains why the interests and focus of the Fire Horse can change on a whim.

Yes and no. No, I don't particularly care for "excitement," but yes, my interests and focus can change on a whim. I'm into lazy whimsy.


>>The passionate nature of the Fire Horse is often found to be appealing to others, which explains why they have a long-line of admirers and followers.

No comment. :oops:

>>Luckily, the Fire Horse is quite at ease in leadership roles and actively seeks the opportunity to do so.

So far off the mark, it's not funny. At my last two jobs, I was offered to move into manager slots (more money, more responsibility, more hours) and I flat-out refused. At this job, I threatened to quit because, even though I specifically stated during my interview that I didn't want anyone working for me ever, about two years in, they tried sticking me with an underling. That didn't last long.

>>Competitive careers may be perfect for the Fire Horse, such as advertising, business and sales.

Nope, I don't like competition, even "friendly" competition. I'm not even all that comfortable with the one challenge here that's got a compete characteristic, and that's just all in fun. I don't like anything much that picks winners and losers.

>>Similarly, the Fire Horse’s need for excitement could lead to a career in media, performance or art.

True, I did make my living as a jobbing musician for a few years, and still earn a little money on the side now and again, but there's a lot of ego and competitive behavior that drives performance and I don't care for that at all.

>>While the constant drive of the Fire Horse may lead it great success, it can also lead to failure of the need to adventure turns into recklessness.

I couldn't get past "constant drive," because I'm about the least ambitious person around. MrsTasty even tells me that before we married, that's what concerned her most about me (she comes from a very over-achieving family).

>>Horses, being spontaneous, have a tendency to fall fast and hard for others.

Guilty. I tend to fall in love with every woman I meet. I'm that guy, after a few drinks, who tells every woman he knows, "If I weren't married..." I'm currently in love with: my wife, half the women at work, my hair stylist, my previous hair stylist, the girl at Wendy's, three or four of the women at my local Kroger, three or four women each at all the other Krogers I go to, various women at all the doctors' offices we visit, a couple of my neighbors, some non-blood relatives, a couple of the women at the pharmacy, a couple of the women at the vet's, and our mail carrier. :laugh:

>>They love living on the edge and are always ready for change as change always is more interesting.

I do not love living life on the edge, but I do love changes, except changes that I have no say in.

>>They are incredibly opinionated and one place you’ll never find Fire Horses is standing on the fence.

Nope. I always try seeing the other person's point of view, even if they're an idiot, like some world leaders I could name. I love riding the fence.
🔥 🐎
 

morning glory

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I'm currently in love with: my wife, half the women at work, my hair stylist, my previous hair stylist, the girl at Wendy's, three or four of the women at my local Kroger, three or four women each at all the other Krogers I go to, various women at all the doctors' offices we visit, a couple of my neighbors, some non-blood relatives, a couple of the women at the pharmacy, a couple of the women at the vet's, and our mail carrier.
This made me laugh so much. But oh my... is your partner aware of your polyamory?
 

TastyReuben

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This made me laugh so much. But oh my... is your partner aware of your polyamory?
Yes, though I think she chooses to ignore it. I'll occasionally get the raised eyebrow when we're out together and she notices that some of the women in a particular shop know me by name and come over to talk to me.

She did get mad (at the woman, not me) a couple of weeks ago. She goes to a cardiologist and has done since 2013, when she had her stroke. Back then, when they first put her on thinners, we were going a couple of times a month until we got her meds arranged, and in that time, I'd gotten chatty with a couple of the nurses there.

2019, she had a heart attack and she's back to going regularly again until we get that straightened out.

Her appointment this last time was with the nurse she used to see back in 2013, but hadn't seen since. Well, the wife went back and was getting settled in and I had to run to the restroom, and when I walked back to find her, I overheard her telling the nurse that they'd been partnered up before, six years earlier:

"No...I don't think I remember you..."

"Yeah, I'm the travel agent...hole in my heart...could never get my Coumadin dose right..."

"No...but we do see a lot of peop-"

<I walk in>

"-Oh, I remember you! TastyReuben! You're the one who does all the cooking at home! No kids! You like to travel! How've you been?!"

<Gives me a hug>

Me: 😎
Wife: 🤬
 

Herbie

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<I walk in>

"-Oh, I remember you! TastyReuben! You're the one who does all the cooking at home! No kids! You like to travel! How've you been?!"

<Gives me a hug>

Me: 😎
Wife: 🤬
This sounds like me and husband. Everyone remembers and loves him. He has the most massive smile and such kind natured.

Ok, so Chinese new year. My annual trip to china town in london has been postponed due to chinese friend celebrating her daughters 10th birthday. So in March we will visit. Friend orders off menu so is educational.
 

Mountain Cat

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This year the new year is the same day as Burns' Night, so I will be marking the occasion with haggis, not very Asian.
I LOVE haggis. I've been to Scotland four times in my life, and would love to make haggis here in the US. Unfortunately, it's not the same here. It's illegal to sell lamb lung in the States for consumption. I am simply going to have to raise my own sheep (someday) to make this right.
 
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