The night before Chinese New Year is what we call “tuen leen fan” which translates to “togetherness dinner”, where we sit as a family with tons of food to symbolize the amount of good bounty we will have in the year to come.
I talk briefly about the food in the picture along with their significance in the YouTube video, but I just want to touch up on some of the stuff I forgot to mention:
“Fat Choi” – the black stuff you see in the centre with the broccoli is called “fat choi” which is seaweed, it’s the hair-like food I mentioned before and it’s texture is similar to very thin and fragile vermicelli. Its purpose in the dinner is pretty easy to guess – the item sounds similar to the “fat choy” in “gong hay fat choy” so it is eaten. J
Rice – this isn’t displayed in the photo or video but rice is IMPERITIVE to the Chinese New Year dinner. Rice is important in general but telling someone they “have grain” is a slang in Cantonese culture meaning they have money (if you want to say it it’s “yao mai”. So eating rice on Chinese New Year’s Eve means you have money.
Check out the video to hear why chicken and fish play such an important role and how I say Abalone. (I don’t care how YOU say it I call it ABBA-LONELY.)