Celebrating Chinese New Year in  a non-Chinese household makes for a fun experience. It’s an excuse for a party, a time to eat fun and interesting food and most importantly, an opportunity to learn something new about other cultures and their traditions.

Picture courtesy of partyshelf.com


So 2014 see’s in the Year of the Horse… my daughter’s favourite animal and so it’s extra exciting! The kids will be helping me to make some Dumplings, Spring Rolls and Wonton Soup (special thanks to a good friend, who taught me how to make all of these!!!). One thing that I love about the Chinese New Year celebrations are the meanings and significance behind serving the various types of foods. It is something to be planned and well thought out. We are opting for dumplings which signify family reunion (one which we have planned for October!), spring rolls which signify wealth since they resemble gold bullion (and we have to pay for said reunion) and wonton soup with pork which would signify strength, wealth and abundant blessing. Some other things for the table will be oranges which symbolise wealth and abundant happiness and peanuts in their shells which represent longevity in Chinese culture. For more “Symbolic Chinese New Year Foods” visit TLC or Nations online

Chinese New Year Foods

I found this recipe for San Choi Bau (Lettuce Boats) courtesy of Adora’s Box and it inspired me to experiment a little

San Choi Bau (Lettuce Boats) by Adora’s Box

As I am doing my best to stick to Gluten Free and also trying to include particular vegetables in my current eating plan, here is my version of Lettuce Boats (Serves 4)


  • 400 g lean minced Pork
  • 2 cm piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 courgette finely diced
  • 6 – 8 Shiitake mushrooms or 4 Portobello mushrooms finely diced
  • 1 red or yellow pepper finely diced
  • 1/2 chinese leaf cabbage or pointed cabbage finely diced
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (preferably light soy sauce) (Gluten free)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 baby gem lettuce, leaves separated
  • Fresh bean sprouts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


Gently fry the peppers, garlic and ginger in the olive oil, then add the mince and fry till starting to brown (5 – 7 minutes). Add the vegetables and stir fry till just cooked (3 – 4 minutes). Add the soy sauce, fish sauce and pepper to taste and serve with gem lettuce leaves and bean sprouts. Not authentic but very tasty and light (Oh, and lettuce symbolises prosperity, bean sprouts signify ‘to your hearts content’, Shiitake mushrooms signify sizing opportunities…)

Lettuce Cups

Lettuce Boats – my version!

I might have to think about including prawns for liveliness and noodles for longevity and perhaps melon for family unity… I can see an overflowing table come the 31st of January, what with all my New Years wishes!

A mini party wouldn’t be complete without some arts and crafts for the kids, so with some red and gold card, we’ll make some lanterns and decorate them with horse stencils in honour of it being the year of the horse! Some other ideas for fun crafts can be found at the following brilliant sites

Enjoy your Chinese New Year Celebrations



About My Primal Corner

I'm just a Mom, doing my bit to raising healthy, happy kids while indulging a passion for food and travel. We follow and Paleo/Primal diet and keep dreaming about actually living the lifestyle.

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