This Lunar New Year, we partnered with three of our favorite tastemakers, Phillip Tang (@potatoislike), Jessica and Courtney Eu (@when__and__where) and Charlene Luo (@thebaodega) to bring you a comprehensive how-to guide for hosting the luckiest start to the Year of the Rabbit. Scroll on for snippets of the 30+ page guidebook of recipes, tips, traditions — plus unlock access to the full guide, free with every purchase of Sichuan Gold.
What are three must-haves for your idea of the perfect dinner party?
We believe the little details make all the difference.
1. A good playlist. Have your friends choose a song before the dinner, and create a playlist using those songs as the base. That way, they’ll feel moments of familiarity at the dinner, which is a great way to ground them in the moment!
2. Decorate according to theme. It’s fun to switch up the decorations for each dinner theme. When celebrating Lunar New Year, red is the color of luck. We incorporated that color in the flower branches, the red packets filled with chocolate scattered on the table, and even red chopsticks!
3. End with something sweet (but not too sweet - we are Asian after all). At the end of a meal, we love to offer a small dessert to close out the evening. It can be anything from a cookie to a bowl of fruit. For our Lunar New Year meal, we served our spin on the Cantonese Pomelo Mango Sago dish (楊枝甘露).
FIVE SPICE ROASTED CHICKEN
By Phillip Tang
1 whole chicken (4-5 lbs)
2 tsp five spice powder
1 tsp salt
¼ cup light soy sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp white sugar
6 slices of ginger
3 tbsp honey
empty beer can filled halfway with water
colorful prawn chips for garnish
Sichuan Chili Crisp
Season inside the cavity of the chicken with five spice powder and salt.
In a large bowl, combine five spice powder, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, and ginger.
Place chicken in marinade mixture. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove chicken from marinade. Reserve leftover marinade.
Place empty beer can on a foil lined baking sheet. Stand chicken upright by fitting the beer can into the chicken.
Place the reserved marinade into a small pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Add honey and continue to simmer until thickened. Turn off heat and set aside.
Roast chicken for 1 hour. After the hour, begin basting the chicken with the basting sauce every ten minutes until all of the sauce has been used up.
Continue roasting until cooked through. Remove from the oven, cover with foil, and let rest for 30 minutes.
Carve chicken. Garnish plate with colorful prawn chips. Serve with Sichuan Chili Crisp.
What does Lunar New Year mean to you? In what ways did celebration play a role in your dinner party?
Lunar New Year is one of my favorite holidays of the year — a time to gather with friends and a marker of the passing of another year.
It’s also a reminder for me to make my annual batch of Sichuanese sausage, which I serve at all of my dinners. For this dinner, I incorporated traditional New Year’s dishes into the menu, with a Sichuanese twist. Instead of traditional dumplings, I started the meal with Sichuanese Chao Shou/Wontons. I made Sichuanese cold noodles for longevity, and braised whole fish (using the Fire Hot Pot Base) instead of Cantonese style steamed whole fish. Scattered on the table I also had oranges and persimmons and a pomelo, fruits that I often associate with the holiday. I also hung up 春联，which are New Year’s decorations - on my doorway as well as on my windows.