This Sunday is super for two reasons; the Super Bowl, -the championship game that determines the top team in the National Football League- is being played, and it is also the Chinese New Year’s Eve. On this day we have an overlap of one, very old tradition, going back, it is thought by most, to the Shang Dynasty ( 1766 B.C.E.- 1122 B.C.E) and the other considerably newer tradition, the Super Bowl, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
All over the world people will be celebrating the Chinese New Year’s Eve in traditional ways, with feasts of fish dinners and dumplings, fireworks (to celebrate the arrival of the new year and to drive away evil), exchanges of little red packets of money (for good luck), and an all night vigil known as Shou Sui in which folks stay up to ward off the mythical beast, “Nian” (“Year”) which, legend has it, comes out to annoy and harm people. Luckily, Nian is afraid of the colour red, and he absolutely hates fireworks, so if you’ve set off some fireworks, and have lit some red lanterns you should be sitting pretty.
The Chinese Zodiac is similar to the western zodiac in that there are 12 signs, but whereas the western zodiac has all twelve signs in one year, the Chinese zodiac has each sign reign as it were, for a whole year, so each sign comes up only once every twelve years. This year, 2016, it is the Year of the Monkey, so if you were born in 2004,1992, 1980, 1968, 1956, 1944 or 1932, or 1920 this is your lucky year! According to the Chinese Zodiac, if you were born under the sign of the monkey you are quick-witted, charming, lucky, adaptable, bright, versatile, lively and smart. Just like any good little monkey.
And a clever little monkey will have no difficulty this Sunday celebrating both the New Year and the Big Game simultaneously. Both events are overtly social, so you will want to invite friends over to your home. It is tradition that you do a good cleaning before the Chinese New Year to get rid of the old and welcome the new. So clean up the place, and decorate it with lots of red.
For food, you will want to feast on fish or Jiao Zi, the traditional Chinese New Year dumplings, like these by David Chow, or maybe both. But it is also tradition on Super Bowl Sunday to serve your guests nachos, so why not slay two dragons at once by preparing a platter of delicious fish nachos or these amazing “Chinese Firecracker Nachos”.
And of course, if you are watching football and serving nachos you need beer, right? So it might as well be a good Chinese pilsner like Yanjing, a rice beer that is one of the top sellers in China, or the always popular Tsingtao, a lager made with good ol’ Canadian barley both available at The Beer Store.
Now it is possible that you may not have time to make dumplings, or nachos, but you can still wow your guests with some amazingly good take-out from Noodle Bar made especially for the Super Bowl. For one day only you can pick up southern and Korean fried chicken with scallion pancakes and an assortment of sauces, herbs and pickles, enough to satiate 4-6 rabid fans. ($125)
Or how about a Roasted Pig’s head with lettuce & steamed buns for $75, that will serve four. And finally smoked chicken wings with garlic, pickled chili & scallion or crispy chicken wings with honey, sriracha & scallion. ($14 for one person, $84 for six and $168 for a dozen of your besties). When the best team wins, you can set off your firecrackers in celebration; just in time to frighten away the evil spirits.
Gong Hey Fat Choy!