Long noodles, long life: Chinese New Year's food advice

This is why it's okay to slurp, not bite, noodles as you celebrate Year of the Dog

The Chinese New Year is full of symbolism, right down to the animal taking its turn as an influence on the 12 months to come.

What you eat as part of your celebration is also symbolic.

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Charlie Huang, the owner and chef of Peaceful Restaurants, hosted a media dinner at his Kitsilano restaurant last week. He and his son Eugene demonstrated how to make hand-pulled noodles which, as soon became apparent to those who tried it themselves, requires a great deal of agility and upper arm strength.

You have to pull and twist the dough several times to bring out the glutens and elasticity. With every loop of the dough, you make the noodles longer and narrower.

Noodles are a traditional part of a Chinese New Year dinner because they represent longevity. The longer the noodle, the longer your life. That’s why you shouldn’t bite the noodles — “slurping is encouraged.”

You should also eat as many dumplings as you can. Dumplings are stuffed and then shaped to represent a silver ingot. Ingots represent prosperity so go wild.

As to where the Year of the Dog will lead us, here’s the prediction from Peaceful Restaurant:

“The Chinese horoscope for 2018 predicts that this year of the Earth Dog is going to be a good year in all respects but it will also be an exhausting year. You will be happy yet frustrated; rested yet tired; cheerful yet dull. Refreshed and regenerated, the Dog will accelerate the initiation of all things but this will bring, in the same time, pressure and stress in the everyday life.”

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