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New Year’s Gourmet Dinner

By Nahoko Sato |

Travel to taste New Year’s specialties and ensure success for the following year.


When the end of the year approaches DINKtravelers gets excited about the upcoming New Year’s celebration. And to make sure the following year brings you great luck, we’ve traveled the world in search of dishes that guarantee your happiness. How? Read on! Well introduce you to New Years specialties from Asia, Europe and more.


Let’s begin our journey in Japan, where Osechi-ryori is specially prepared for New Year’s celebration. It includes several dishes that are served during the first three days of January. Each of them is said to promote good fortune in different aspects of your life. For example, if you want professional success and health throughout the year, try Kuromame –black beans. In Japanese, beans are called mame and mame-nimeans “to work diligently”. Therefore, beans symbolize being able to work in good health.

Likewise, if you wish to live long, eat shrimp! Since their back is bent like that of the elder, the Japanese believe that if you eat them you’ll live longer.


However, not all countries celebrate the New Year on January 1st. Take, for example, Singapore, China, Indonesia and Mauritius, among other countries, celebrate the Chinese New Year or Lunar New Yearwhose date varies between late January and early February. In Singapore, their traditional dish is called ‘魚生’ (yu sheng). Yu means “to become rich” while sheng means “to rise” and both words are considered auspicious. The dish consists on a radish, carrot, cucumber, ginger noodles, peanuts, sesame and wonton crackers salad with raw salmon, plum sauce, oil, pepper, lime and cinnamon powder –a combination that represents the flow of happiness and wealth. In that sense, plum sauce and raw fish supposedly guarantee richness, as will the wonton cracker that represents gold. Meanwhile, pepper symbolizes a shower of smiles and lime stands for happiness.

In order to eat it, you should stand up and hold long chopsticks in your hand. Then, shout: Lo-hei! which means “to dig up” and dig up the salad as high as you can. Don’t forget to make a wish. If you dig up very high, your wish will come true.


Other New Year traditions around the world also involve foods with symbolic meanings. In destinations like Italy and the United States, dishes feature legumes, which are thought to resemble coins and herald future financial success. Also, since pigs represent progress and prosperity in some cultures, pork appears on the New Year’s Eve table in Cuba, Austria, Hungary, Portugal and other countries. Ring-shaped cakes and pastries, a sign that the year has come full circle, round out the feast in the Netherlands, Greece and elsewhere. And in Sweden and Norway rice pudding with an almond hidden inside is served and whoever finds the nut can expect 12 months of good fortune.