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The best Chinese New Year foods according to Chef Jimmy Lee

Today marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year, a celebration rich with culinary traditions thought to bring luck to those who follow them.

Published: February 5, 2019
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Food is one of the most essential parts of celebrating Lunar New Year, as many hours, sometimes days, are spent by families preparing food and cooking together and as we celebrate the Year of the Pig, Celebrity Chef Jimmy Lee from Lychee Oriental in Glasgow shares his must-have lucky Chinese New Year dishes.

Chef Jimmy Lee started working in his dads takeaway in Glasgow since he was 16. Today he and his family are preparing to cook for the Lunar New Year celebrations - considered the most important meal of the year when all members of a family get together.

This year is the Year of the Pig, which is one of the 12-year cycle animals on the Chinese Zodiac.

Pigs symbolise good fortune and wealth in Chinese culture and this year’s celebrations brings a proliferation of porcine merchandise, greetings and decorations.

Jimmy Lee said: "There are so many traditions and superstitions during the festivities including cleaning the house on New Years eve to sweep away bad luck. I remember when I was young we used to be given red envelopes filled with money by our relatives in exchange for wishing them health and prosperity.

"Today, many kids would get a digital transfer of money via red envelope apps".

New Years eve dinner is the most important meal of the year and as Jimmy explains many people around the world will be eating pork, noddles and fish.

Today he will be cooking a feast for his family with Peking and Honey Bourbon Ribs, Steamed Seabass Fillets with Ginger Spring Onion and a one pan Beef and Black Bean Udon Noodles.

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Steamed Seabass Fillets with Ginger Spring Onion. Picture: Jimmy Lee

Jimmy continues: "There is a Chinese saying ‘may there be fish every year’ - that’s why we normally have whole fish for prosperity during celebrations. Noodles are also served for happiness and longevity.

"During the festivities Dumplings would also be served to represent wealth. There would also be one lucky dumpling with a lucky coin inside"

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.

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