Happy Chinese New Year everyone! It’s the joyous time of the year again but for the second year, I won’t be able to return home to my family back in Malaysia for Chinese New Year. This is essentially the most important celebration all year, where all members of the family from all corners of the world return back home, cooking up a feast together in the kitchen, sharing good laughs and cracking jokes about each other’s antics since young. Ah such joyful and heart-warming times. Since we can’t skip classes to return home, (I’m not suggesting any of you to do this yeah 🤣) here’s what I’ve come to figure how to recreate your own reunion here right in London!
1. Gather up with people from your home
What better way to recreate this festive celebration with people who celebrate the same way as you do with all the cultures that you’ve grown up with! Gather around the kitchen hob and whip up those traditional Chinese New Year dishes! Steamed egg with pork mince, Fu Zhou Steamed Fish, Grass Jelly Pudding are just some of the stuff I grew up having, but one that I can’t possibly recreate is my Grandma’s Chicken Soup with Mee Sua. I guess I’ll have to wait till summer break to get my chicken soup fix. I swear it’s the best thing ever and no one can recreate the beautiful marriage of complex flavours. Not even my mom 🤣 so I doubt I’d be able to.
2. Cook up and celebrate with your new friends
What better way to bond with your new friends and introduce them to your culture than cooking up a feast together! Introduce them the dishes that you grew up eating because food is such a beautiful thing! It brings people together in such beautiful ways. Show them how to properly use a pair chopsticks, challenge them to the beautiful spices of your motherland and more! If cooking isn’t your forte, there’s always hotpot. Just get a soup base and ingredients from any Asian grocery store and you’re all set!
3. Call your family and friends
There’s a very likely chance that most of our family will have welcomed the New Year earlier than us here in London so celebrate with them on the phone with the wonderful invention of the internet! We can’t live those booming fireworks or choke on the smog, but that’s the best we can do until VR technology advances. Basically, just remember to call your family. They are surely missing you as much as you are missing them.
4. Watch the Chinese New Year’s countdown shows
If you’re from a country that celebrates Chinese New Year’s with huge TV shows filled with performances from the top celebrities, you’ll surely be able to catch them live on any streaming service like YouTube! Watch firework shows from the comfort and warmth of your bed, that sounds pretty good too doesn’t it?
5. Visit friends!
It’s a customary tradition in Malaysia to visit friends and family starting on the first day of Chinese New Year so visit your friend’s houses just like you would back at home! Prepare food just as you would, with delicious buttery cakes, fizzy drinks, mouth-watering Chinese cuisine. It would feel all the same just that you won’t be getting red-packet money for it, but I’m sure our family will still give us our red-packet money to our parents for safekeeping till we return home 😉.
6. Visit Chinatown for the festive cheer
For sure, Chinatown will be packed to the brim with people. Filled with red coloured decor; from lanterns to calligraphy banners, this is as close as it gets to our hometown so come here to experience the “ong,” meaning blessings. As per usual, when visiting a central location during major celebratory seasons, always be extra mindful of your surroundings.
All in all, gather and spend time with people you love and care for, in this joyous occasion! It makes all the difference and we can create just a little bit of home here in London ❤️. Happy Chinese New Year to you all and may we all be blessed bountifully in the year of the rat!