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"Chinese Noodles Story"

Chinese noodles vary in width. They can be thin as needles, or thick as chopsticks. However, when it comes to length, they are usually served long and uncut. This is because long noodles are a symbol of longevity in Chinese tradition. Thus, during birthday celebrations, people will serve "longevity noodles” hoping for longevity.

Why They're Recommended

Noodles are an excellent food for the nutritionally-inclined, providing a dietary balance. They are low in calories, and high in protein and carbohydrate.

How They're Made

Chinese noodles are generally made from wheat flour, rice flour, or types of starches, such as mung bean starch. Wheat flour noodles are commonly produced and consumed in North China, while rice flour noodles are more typical in South China.

Rice flour and starch-based noodles are made only with rice flour or starch and water. Wheat flour noodles may be supplemented in low quantities with egg, lye or food coloring in order to have a yellow color, and change the texture, tenderness and taste of the noodles. No matter their type, noodles cook very quickly. Usually it requires no more than 5 minutes to become al dente, while thinner noodles only take less than one minute to finish cooking.

How They're Served

Noodles are served and eaten hot or cold, boiled, steamed, stir-fried, deep-fried, or served in soup. Whichever way, you’ll first need to, using chopsticks, stir the noodles till all the materials are evenly mingled before enjoying it.

"Chinese Dumplings Story"

Dumplings are a famous traditional northern Chinese food. They are half-moon-shaped, soft, stuffed pasta — like ravioli. Dumplings are named according to their various fillings and cooking methods (fried, heated in boiling water, or steamed).

Dumplings have also become a common type of food in southern China, where people don't grow/eat wheat as a rule. "Southern dumpling” skins are typically made of rice.

An Important Chinese New Year Food

Dumplings are a traditional Spring Festival food in northern China, but not in the south. On the eve of the Spring Festival, dumplings have an irreplaceable place in many New Year's Eve banquets, though some areas choose to eat dumplings after New Year's Eve.

Dumplings are a representative Chinese cuisine, with both shape and filling having cultural meaning. That's why they're essential for some during Spring Festival, as they express their aspirations for a better life, and hopes for certain blessings.

Symbolizing Wealth

Eating dumplings at the Spring Festival is said to bring good fortune financially, as dumplings look like ingots (元宝), the currency used in old times.

Symbolic Dumpling Stuffings

Celery stuffing represents industriousness and (resulting) wealth. Reason: 'Celery' (芹菜 qíncài /chin-tseye/) sounds like 'industrious wealth' (勤财 qíncái). Leek stuffing represents long-term wealth. Reason: 'Leek' (韭菜 jiǔcài /jyoh-tseye/) sounds like 'industrious wealth' (久财 qíncái). It also represents a wish for the family to be in good health, harmony, joy and happiness 久: 日久生情, 永久和平 'familiarity breeds fondness', 'enduring peace').

Cabbage stuffing represents the blessing for a well-off life for a hundred years. 白菜 báicài /beye-tseye/ 'white vegetable') sounds like 'hundred wealth' (百财 bǎicái). It also represents the enduring love between new couples (from the popular saying including : 白头到老 'white head until old'… to live in conjugal bliss until the white hairs of old age; “until death do us part”).

Mushroom stuffing is the mascot for increasing wealth and luck. Reason: Mushrooms are shaped like an up arrow showing, for example, the stock market's growth, progress, increasing quality of life, or wishes for the younger generation to grow taller and improve in their studies, etc.

Fish stuffing means surplus wealth. Reason: 'Fish' (鱼 yú /yoo/) sounds the same as 'surplus' (余 yú). Eating fish dumplings means wishing you have a lot of remaining money. "年年有(鱼)余 'surplus year after year' " is a popular saying in China, which express a desire that expects every year remaining food.

Beef stuffing represents strong economic growth. The bull symbolizes strength, and is favored by stock investors. 'Bull market' (牛市) in Chinese refers to a period of rising stock prices. The popular saying牛气十足('bull energy ten sufficient') wishes good health and happiness.

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