Reunion Dinner – 年夜飯 (團年飯)

Reunion Dinner 年夜飯 (團年飯)

The New Year’s Eve Dinner is very large and traditionally includes chicken and pork. Fish (魚, yú) is also included, but intentionally not finished, and the remaining fish is stored overnight. The reason for this stems from a pun, as the Chinese phrase 年年有魚/餘; (nián nián yǒu yú, or “every year there is fish/leftover”) is a homophone for phrases which mean “be blessed every year” or “have profit every year”.

I just got back from my sister’s house where the reunion dinner was graciously held for the past few years. Dad and Rich chipped in to cook. Yup, the men in our household love to cook while the ladies love to eat 🙂

Reunion Dinner Cooking1©BondingToolI used to love watching Dad cook when young and he still serves a mean meal 🙂

Reunion Dinner Cooking1a©BondingToolNgoh Hiang (五香) – meat rolls spiced with 5-spice powder wrapped in beancurd skin.

Reunion Dinner Cooking2©BondingToolDad juggling between the woks… deep-frying our home-style southern fried chicken and fish curry.

Reunion Dinner Cooking2a©BondingToolChicken and Ngoh Hiang are ready – this is where the second chef takes over…

Reunion Dinner Cooking3©BondingToolUncle Rich, my bro-in-law, frying the prawn balls, vegetable balls and calamari rings.

Reunion Dinner Cooking3a©BondingToolRoast Duck to add some “red” on the table.

Reunion Dinner Cooking4©BondingToolOur reunion dinner is officially served!

Reunion Dinner Cooking5©BondingToolSteamboat is another popular reunion meal as everyone needs to crowd around and D.I.Y. the cooking so you can imagine the noise level at the round table… it’s like an aviary 🙂

Reunion Dinner Cooking5a©BondingToolSome of the food that goes into the steamboat – plenty of meat and seafood plus round things, lol… Round is an auspicious symbol in Chinese – “good things are never ending”.

Reunion Dinner1©BondingToolMy family members.

Reunion Dinner2©BondingToolMore mingling and bonding after the dinner – board games and karaoke session 🙂

Reunion Dinner3©BondingToolThis year we celebrated reunion without Vanessa as she is still in Melbourne.

Reunion Dinner5©BondingToolBam (our dog) and Choby (my sister’s family dog) had fun too – chasing each other’s tails.

Reunion Dinner6©BondingToolMy elder daughter Valerie with Choby.

Reunion Dinner7©BondingToolDad, Mom, Sis, Bro and I.

Reunion Dinner8©BondingToolThe Mandarin Oranges and Hong Baos (Red Packets with some money inside) will be in our handbags when we visit our relatives in order of their seniority and status in the family.

Reunion Dinner9©BondingToolHong Baos (紅包 or 利是) are given to unmarried adults and young children as a token of well wishes. We also give hongbao to our elders to wish them good health and longevity.

Reunion Dinner Cooking6©BondingToolWe normally do a vegetable hamper to keep during the 15 days of celebration. The vegetables do not keep and will ferment – the reason for doing this stems from a pun Fa Cai 发财 (the Chinese word fa 发 sounds the same for ferment as well as prosper and cai 菜 vegetables sounds the same as cai 财 meaning wealth and fortune). The homophone for Gong Xi Fa Cai!

There are some rules that I still follow… leaving the lights (4 corners of our house) on till the daylight breaks so that the God of Fortune can see our house and come bless us with abundance. Also, no using of brooms or anything sharp like nail clippers and knives, until the first day is over. Lol… Nothing bad will happen if you don’t follow any of these rules. It’s just a tradition to instill some inconvenience and therefore “more significance” to the day. My children are western educated and they love to play this “game” along with me. Valerie said to me after the reunion dinner, on her way to meet some friends for drinks, “Remember to slice the nian gao before midnight!”


恭喜大家过新年发大财, 万事如意! 发呀!

Happy Lunar New Year to the Chinese all over the world!
Happy Sunday to all 🙂

Info on NYE’s Dinner : Wikipedia

2 Responses to “Reunion Dinner – 年夜飯 (團年飯)”
  1. Sam
    Xinnian Kuaile! Gongxi Facai!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: