Happy Lunar New Year!

February 10th was the Lunar New Year Day and the official start of the year of the snake!  Lunar New Year is one of (if not) the biggest holiday here in Taiwan.  It certainly is a great departure from hearing about the holiday from friends who celebrate it when I'm back in the States as it's interesting to see a busy city like Taipei basically shut down. Most stores, restaurants, and banks are closed until around February 15th (some until even February 17th according to the signs!) and many students have gone back to their hometowns, if they aren't from Taipei, of course.  So, I've had to cook most of my meals lately. Thankfully, I enjoy cooking!

Part of the spread from the first dinner I enjoyed
on Chinese New Years Eve.
I'll focus on food during the Lunar New Year as I had the opportunity to sample a wide variety. At the end of last year, I was somewhat thankful I wasn't in America for Thanksgiving or Christmas because I didn't gain any holiday weight, but when Lunar New Year came and I was invited to enjoy two large dinners...yeah, I'm sure I've put on weight these days!

I'm going to let the food speak for itself. I took many photos at the first dinner I attended, but by the second dinner I was so ready to dig in I forgot about photo-taking! Hopefully these pictures won't make you feel too hungry!

It's tradition during the Lunar New Year to serve an entire
chicken, including the head!
This pork dish was amazing!
See that paper box? Oftentimes in Taiwan, paper boxes are put on
the dinner table to collect trash and bones.
Very creative and convenient.
My favorite seafood is shrimp.
These were severed whole per tradition.
They were caught in Yilan earlier that day.
Braised fish, another favorite of mine.
Veggies are always cooked to perfection here.
Homemade oily chicken soup (麻油雞湯; maiyou jitang) with vegetables.
I got a 紅包 (hongbao, red envelope).
It's common to give these to children the New Year.
Mine was a small token for fun,
but I was happy to receive it!
The sweets and tea that came right after
the Lunar New Year's Eve dinner.
The spread from the second dinner I went to on Chinese New Year.
So much food, I couldn't stop eating!
Enjoying the Lunar New Year with local families was an honor. I hope I can do it again next year!

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