Dine: Honor the Pig

For those following the lunar calendar, February starts the Year of the Pig (the Brown Earth Pig, to be exact).

Mariah Wild

For those following the lunar calendar, February starts the Year of the Pig (the Brown Earth Pig, to be exact). It’s called tet nguyên dán in Vietnam, seollal in Korea, songkran in Thailand, thingyan in Burma, and tahun baru imlek in Indonesia. Bengali families celebrate pahela baishakh; Little New Year (koshōgatsu) is the traditional New Year in Japan (they’ve been celebrating Western New Year on January 1 since 1873).

So, the most important question is . . .what’s to eat? Rice with adzuki beans, sweet rice cakes, pork rolls, long noodles (the longer the better), whole fish (filling the new year with good luck), and dumplings are traditional. Vietnamese families serve fruit and plant fruit trees; fried dumpling jeon is favored on Korean tables. An Indonesian celebration includes steamed red mangkok cake, stir-fried bakmi goreng noodles and the dark, glutinous rice cake called nian gao. Japan celebrates with sweetened black beans, herring roe and prawn cooked in sake.

February 17 is Orlando’s annual Dragon Parade Lunar New Year Festival, hosted by Asia Trend magazine and local cultural organizations, complete with food stands where some of these celebratory goodies can be found. The parade itself will wend its way down North Thornton Avenue from Lake Highland Drive to Colonial Drive. Get details at centralfloridadragonparade.org.

Chuc Mung Nam Moi!

— Joseph Hayes

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