Chinese traditions are filled with auspicious symbolism, especially concerning food. The two-week Chinese New Year celebration that begins on February 16, 2018 and marks the start of the Year of the Dog is a rich example. Tables are laden with foods deemed to have special powers, including shrimp for happiness, pork for bounty, lettuce and mushrooms for prosperity, noodles for longevity, scallions for intelligence and cilantro for compassion.
In keeping with the Chinese belief that the New Year is a time for new beginnings, many Chinese consider it an auspicious moment to purchase a wok. Having relied for over 2000 years on this simple pan for the preparation of healthy, delicious meals, the Chinese offer renewed respect for their most cherished cooking implement. One way you can participate in this joyful and meaningful celebration is to fire up your own wok and treat your friends and family to a stir-fry of one of these tasty and very "lucky" dishes: Kung Pao Shrimp, Lunar Vegetarian Lo Mein or Spicy Pork and Vegetable Lettuce Wraps.
The Chinese say dogs are loyal, generous and stubborn. They are associated with justice and they're man’s best friend. Wishing you every good fortune in the coming year and all the health a happy, well-loved wok can bring.
Want to see how to choose a wok, meet my Kitchen Gods and create a symbolic fruit centerpiece for your table?
About Grace Young
The award-winning author of Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, The Breath of a Wok and The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen is an expert at demystifying the art of stir-frying and celebrating the traditions of wok cookery. In addition to her Chinese cooking videos for Weightwatchers.com, Young's work has appeared in publications including Bon Appetit, Eating Well and Saveur. To learn more, visit graceyoung.com.