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My brother in law has started a weekly event for his family where they learn about a different country, then they find an authentic restaurant and go out for dinner. I love to tag along on these outings and have enjoyed exploring a new country each week. With Chinese New Year coming up, I wanted to host an "authentic" (as much as I could without having to drive an hour to an actual Asian market. I seriously live an hour from everything) Chinese New Year dinner for us. This family does so much for me, I like to give back when and where I can.
I decided to keep things bright and simple. We had miniature orchids as our center piece, since they symbolize integrity, nobility, and friendship in the Chinese culture. Above the table, I hung homemade Chinese Lanterns (I included the instructions on how I made them, below). I even placed a tangerine on each plate, as they symbolize good luck and are commonly used in traditional Chinese New Year celebrations. Fortune cookies (even if they are an American invention), mangoes, and mochi candies lined the table.
For our dinner we had homemade stir fry, and as an appetizer- Tai Pei® Eggrolls, in Chicken and Pork, from Walmart. Tai Pei® frozen appetizers are packed with traditional ingredients and flavor; in addition to the flavors I bought, they also come in shrimp and vegetable. They're an authentic Asian appetizer and are ready in minutes; they even come with their own dipping sauce! The wrappers are crisp and flaky, while the insides are soft and savory. We devoured them quickly and I don't think there were any leftovers.
For our table, I got creative and took the legs off my sister's spare table. It wasn't perfect, but it worked! My nieces and nephews loved sitting on the floor to eat. I was so happy when they all walked into the room with "ooo"s and "aahhhh"s.
To make your own Chinese lanterns:
-Fold your paper in half- I used square paper, but if it's rectangle, fold it the long way, or "hot dog style"
-Cut 1-1.5" strips from the folded side towards the raw/ open edge stopping about 1" from the edge
-Unfold the paper and roll it perpendicular to the fold you created/ the short way or "hamburger style"
-Tape or glue the edges together
Chinese New Year is an entertaining event that celebrates the wish of "good fortune" to all in the year ahead, with traditional appetizers and red-envelope gifts. Tai Pei® is a great way to satisfy your guests for your Chinese New Year celebration. You can even check out the Tai Pei® Facebook page, the Red Envelope tab will include a coupon and will run until coupons run out. Also, check out Tai Pei® on Twitter and Pinterest.
Do you plan to celebrate or have an "inspired by" Chinese New Year dinner/ party? What would be the highlight of your celebration?
P.S. This is the year of the Sheep, which heralds a year of promise and prosperity.