Chinese New Year - Fine Feasts and Far Flung Travels to the Far East (part 2 of 2)
Chinese New Year Travel Tips
Travelling to China for Chinese New Year is a great way to observe traditional and local customs first hand as well as authentic celebrations such as fireworks and dragon dancing.
The New Year holiday runs from the 1st to the 7th day of the 1 month of the Chinese lunar calendar. This is the most crowded time to visit China, but it's less crowded after New Year's Eve.
If you are travelling around this time it is wise to arrange your itinerary as hotels and public transport will be busy. Some travel sites advise you to avoid travelling by rail if at all possible. Find out if local restaurants and hotels are serving New Year's Eve menus and if so, book ahead. it's a good time to visit popular tourist attractions because local people will be at home celebrating with family rather than venturing out.
Remember to pack warm clothing as it is cold around New Year. Head to the Yunnan Province in south-western China, Sanya or Hong Kong in the south if you're looking for warmer weather.
Places to Visit
Few things are more symbolic of Chinese New Year than the spectacularly decorated lanterns that adorn the streets of Shangai's New Year Lantern Fair. River cruises are a great way to see the city at New year.
Beijing temples are packed with hundreds of years worth of religious traditions. Look out for festival foods at New Year temple fairs at Ditan Temple, Longton Temple and Dongyue Temple.
In Hong Kong, the Spring Festival is the biggest holiday and people celebrate differently from those in the Mainland. Whether you're partying at the city's Night Parade, shopping at the festive flowed markets, gasping at pyrotechnics or betting on the horses, your Chinese New Year Hong Kong style will be unlike any other.
Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang Province is Northeast China, is home to the biggest ice and snow festival in the world and is one of the most popular destinations for winter activities among Chinese, expats and foreign tourists. The dramatically cool temperatures provide the perfect climate for the famousfestival which lasts for more than a month and includes an ice lantern festival and a snow sculpture festival.
If you're not going travelling this year, why not serve up these Paper Wrapped Chicken parcels at a dinner party and impress your guests with a truly hands on feast. Provide finger bowls of warm water and lemon slices and paper napkins for messy fingers. For a healthier alternative steam the packets or barbecue them in foil rather than paper.
Paper Wrapped Chicken
1 chicken breast and 8 chicken thighs
2 tbsp Wing Yip Light Soya Sauce
2 tsp cornflour
2 tbsp ginger juice (grate and squeeze juice from fresh root)
2 tbsp Wing Yip Oyster Sauce
2 tsp Wing Yip Sesame oil
3 tbsp Wing Yip Shaohsing Style Wine (or dry sherry)
16 pieces greaseproof paper (18cm square)
Peanut or vegetable oil for deep frying
16 slices ginger
16 pieces spring onion cut into 3cm lengths
1. Take dark meat off the thigh bone and cut this and chicken breast into bite size pieces.
2. Mix up marinade of all other ingredients and add chicken to marinate for at least 2 hours.
3. To make parcels, brush each square of paper with oil and place a slice of ginger in the centre of the paper.
4. Then place a mixture (about 1 Tablespoon) of light and dark meat on the sliced ginger.
5. Press a piece of spring onion on top of the chicken. This prevents the chicken from sticking to the paper.
6. Fold one point of paper towards its opposite, thus making a triangle. Fold the left and right corner towards the centre to envelope the meat. The fold top over to form an envelope and tuck end into the folds of the packet.
7. Press flat to stop cooking oil seeping into the folds of the packet.
8. Heat oil in a pan or wok and fry chicken parcels in batches for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally.
9. Lift and drain, turning packets to drain out any excess oil.
Serve chicken, in wrappers on a large platter. Each guest unwraps their own chicken parcel during the meal.