Chinese New Year starts with the New Moon on the first day of the lunar New Year. The Asian New Year can fall anywhere between late January and the middle of February, due to cyclical lunar dating. On the Western calendar, the start of this New Year falls on January 28, 2017, The Year of the Rooster. On the Chinese calendar, 2017 is Lunar Year 4712.
As always, the New Year is marked with symbols of hope and prosperity, and of course, sumptuous food. For good luck and good fortune—or just plain good fun—here are some customs and foods to celebrate the coming year.
What makes a holiday party a blast? The answer is simple. You need the right blend of great food with tons of flavor, shared with fun friends, and above all – relaxed hosts. The winter holiday party season is greatly anticipated, but all too often one of the most stress-inducing times of the year. A little bit of savvy planning can make your holiday party easy. Here is a sample menu, suggested recipes and simple tips to knock out your guests with your party personality and not with your cooking cares.
“If MSG is so bad for you, why doesn’t everyone in China have a headache?” asked Jeffrey L. Steingarten, food critic at Vogue since 1989 and a leading food writer in the United States. And as a daughter of Chinese immigrants, and sister to a retired Chinese restaurant owner I ask my own question: “Why is it called Chinese Restaurant Syndrome?”
The simplest answer of course is the oft-repeated and familiar story of how it started with a 1968 letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) from Dr. Robert Ho Man Kwok, complaining about radiating pain in his arms, weakness and heart palpitations after eating at Chinese restaurants. He speculated that cooking wine, MSG or excessive salt might be to blame. Entitled “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” by a NEJM editor, responses to Kwok’s letter poured in with complaints including headaches, stomachaches and dizziness. Scientists jumped to research the phenomenon of “MSG allergic reactions.” Chinese Restaurant Syndrome was considered a legitimate disorder by many in the medical establishment.
The flavor we call umami is highly sought and valued in Asian cooking. The sauces, many based on soybeans rich in glutamate, deliver the umami flavor. Fermentation processes used to create the sauces break down the proteins in soybeans, releasing free glutamate acids and generating the flavor-elevating effect. And the use of MSG crystals heightens the umami flavor of the dishes.
Asia encompasses a large geographic area, and food and flavor profiles vary widely across the diversity of Asian countries and regions. The food of each country differs based not only on availability of ingredients, but has been honed by environment, culture, tradition, history, philosophy and religion