Luck-Telling Dumplings: Special Treat at Chinese New Year

Jiaozi (Chinese Dumpling) is a traditional Chinese Food, which is essential during Lunar New Year in Northern China. Traditionally, family members get together to make jiaozi during New Year's Eve. They may hide a coin in one of the dumplings. The person who finds the coin will likely have a good fortune in the New Year. Having the luck-telling jiaozi during the Lunar New Year festival is just like taking fortune cookies in Chinese restaurants. Since the shape of Chinese dumplings is similar to ancient Chinese gold or silver ingots, they symbolize wealth. This may explain why there is a tradition for the Chinese to eat dumplings during the Lunar New Year.

Making dumplings is really a team work. Traditionally, members of a family get together to make Jiaozi during the New Year's Eve. The process of making dumplings itself is sort of celebration way for family reunions during holidays. Most of the Chinese, especially those living in the Northern areas, know how to make dumplings and even start to make dumplings when they are kids. As a New Year delicacy, Jiaozi is served at a particular time, right after the midnight, and is served as soon as it is cooked in the boiling water, barely with only some garlic and soy sauce.

Jiaozi consists of a ground meat and/or vegetable fillings wrapped into a thinly rolled piece of dough, which is then sealed by crimping. It is different from wonton: Jiaozi has a thicker skin and is flatter, usually in the shape of a crescent moon. It is usually eaten with a soy-vinegar dipping sauce; while a wonton has a thinner skin, is sphere-shaped, and is usually served in broth.

Common dumpling meat fillings include pork, mutton, beef, fish, and shrimp which are usually mixed with chopped vegetables. Popular vegetable fillings include cabbage, scallion (spring onions), and Chinese chives. Dumplings are eaten with a soy sauce-based dipping sauce that may include garlic, ginger, rice wine, hot sauce, and vinegar. Jiaozi may be divided into various types: besides boiled dumplings (shuijiao), which are usually eaten during holidays, there are also steamed dumplings (zhengjiao) and pot sticker fried dumplings (guotie).