Confession: I totally stole that pun from my friend (wo de Zhonguoren pengyou, for all y'all Zhongwen speakers) who's hosting a Chinese New Year party tonight, but considering that today marks the new year of the Ox, it seemed fitting. I mean the pun seemed fitting, not the theft. Stealing is wrong.
Whoo hoo, happy 4706! What's that you say? Did you just wake up after a 2+ millienia long nap in a cryo-chamber designed to float you through the worst of the economic recession? No, it's just the crazy Chinese calendar. Even though this year is not looking particularly bullish in market speak, that shouldn't stop you for partying your tail off. So, let's get busy planning, shall we?
First of all we're going to need some decorations:
I love these pretty pretty red lanterns from Photocello2006's awesome Flickr set. Red is the appropriate color for Chinese New Year because it symbolizes fire and is said to drive away bad luck. Sounds like Wall Street might need to raise a trillion red lanterns, right?
A few colorful options mixed in, like these lanterns from Pearl River, never hurt anything... just don't choose white for your new year festivities.
In Chinese culture, white is for a totally different special occasion...
You can't show up for a party is your ratty old white T, so this Empress Coat should help you dress to impress. It's only $950... that's not going to be a problem, is it?
Or you could always try out one of these fancy outfits. One of these things is not like the other, but I'm not sure which is most bizarre.
It may be safest to stick with these beautifully embroidered (and cheap!) shoes from Pearl River. I'm sure even your male guests would enjoy having a pair.
Without a doubt, the most important part of any party is da booze.
Let's face it, you can never, ever, have too much beer. Tsingtao will do in a pinch, although I prefer Harbin. And for a serious new year's party, you're going to need a selection of the harder stuff:
Since I lived in Hawaii for five years and outside of San Francisco for three, I've had ample opportunity to sample a wide range of Asian liquors (during the salad days before I got knocked up, sadly). I wish I could recommend a delicious Chinese brew (yi ping jiou hen hao), but I can't. So, even though it's not culturally appropriate, I am going to suggest you go with smooth 'n' tasty Onigoroshi sake. You gotta love "The Demon Slayer."
Although booze is invaluable in getting the party started, food will keep it from getting out of control.
You do like pig snout, chicken feet and jellied sea cucumber, don't you? Oh, alright. You can have some yummy Peking duck, sweet treats and delightful dumplings.
Maybe you're an ardent do-it-yourselfer and have grand plans of cooking Chinese dishes to bring to the party. Let me tell you from painful experience: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME (unless you are Jesse). Now, I'm not Julia Child but I am a moderately competent cook. However, a couple of nights ago my Chinese buddy and I attempted to cook Har Gau, aka those yummy shrimp dumplings you love to eat at dim sum.
Very bad things happened. No this picture is not a post apocalyptic wasteland, or a rock quarry. These are our uncooked freaking dumplings, finished after almost FOUR HOURS of rolling and kneading the most m%$*#@f%^ing horrible tapioca flour dough in the universe. The first dumplings BFF pinched together actually turned out ok, but as the dough got drier things fell apart. Gold star to little buddy in the top left corner who actually resembles a dumpling. Oh, and the filling was delicious.
It's possible that this might have helped. Or maybe even just a real rolling pin. But the Dumpling Dynasty kit has the added bonus of being ridiculously cute.
Do yourself a favor and order takeout (what we're doing after our disastrous failure) and serve your food and beverages in beautiful dishes, like these ceramics from Pearl River.
Finish out your dinner with some Chrysanthemum or Oolong tea served in this blue and white tea set on a tray to help contain drunken spills. Also from Pearl River.
After dinner the real celebrations begin. You're gonna need fireworks. Lots of fireworks.
But not these fakey fake "fireworks" for wussy decoration purposes only. Puhleeze, people. I'm talking FIREWORKS:
Yeah, like those. After you're finished snap, crackle and popping, your entire neighborhood should be wheezing from smoke in an (appreciative) asthmatic fit.
No Chinese New Year celebration is complete without a lucky lion dance. Once upon a time, long ago in a faraway land (about 5 years ago in Hawaii), when I was in kung fu I got to stand on my husband's shoulders and practice to be the lion head. It was killer because: I got to be 10 feet tall, no one wants to be the butt end of the lion, and did I mention that I got to stand on TOP of my husband? That's right.
Hey, you beezies didn't think this party was free, did you? Oh, and don't forget to bring a little extra $$$ for the lion. Unless you want to have a very crappy year.
You know when the party's over, it's crazy late, and all you want is to crawl into bed and worry about the dishes tomorrow, but there's still this one drunk asshole stumbling around your house yelling "Whoo hoooooo!" and you don't know how to get rid of her?
This ought to do the trick. Happy Chinese New Year!