Chinese New Year: Monkey Year & a Hot Pot Celebration

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Gung Hay Fat Choy (“Best wishes and have a prosperous and good year”). Tonight is the celebration of Chinese New Year, which is based off of a lunar calendar, rather than the solar one that we go off of.

Along with the Lunar New Year celebrations, the new Chinese Animal for the year is honored, and with it, a new energy is welcomed. This year harkens to the witty and active Fire Monkey as last year’s security conscious and imaginative Wood Sheep is put out to pasture. Check your coming year’s Chinese fortune here!

Here’s a little peek at our own fun filled Chinese New Year celebration, with a traditional Chinese Hot Pot feast by my friend Annie Quan.

I think I’ll adopt this as my Chinese Year of the Monkey mantra: Consume less, share more, enjoy life.

To accompany our hot pot feast, Holly Halpin made a delicious dragon fruit cocktail, symbolizing wealth and good fortune, filled with a delicious concoction of rum, ginger beer, dragon fruit, agave and lime juice.

To make your own hot pot feast, it’s actually quite simple and well worth the community and bubbling vibe it brings. All you need is a hot pot, bowls and little hot pot strainer scoops—the rest is up to you on what ingredients you want. Annie used a base of chicken broth and let the guests choose what herbs and spices they wanted to flavor the broth with by providing all sorts of chopped options (we ended up with ginger, cilantro and green onion). From there we tossed in baby bok choy, cabbage and rice noodles. Beyond that, each person picks an assortments of meats, tofu and seafood items to add to their own scoop.

I made sure to add the fun details with red lanterns (red is the symbol of energy, happiness and good luck), i-ching hexagram readings and red envelopes with money gifts. Those who receive a red packet are wished another year negotiated safely and peacefully.

We ended the night by learning how to play the Chinese game of Mahjong. It was such a fun and festive night and a highly recommend way to spend the Lunar New Year!

Happy Year of the Monkey friends. Wishing you all a joyful, active and prosperous one!




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