This post was sponsored by Ling Ling, all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
Chinese New Year is February 16 and this year will be the year of the dog. As a parent I am always looking for ways to incorporate fun ways to introduce my kids to other cultures. If you aren’t sure what that means, just keep reading!
What is Chinese New Year?
Also known as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, it is tied to the Chinese Lunar calendar. Traditionally the time is meant to honor ancestors and deities, while bringing the family together for feasting.
Activities for Kids
No matter what age your child is, there are a wide range of activities that you can do with your child in order to celebrate Chinese New Year. My five year old attends a Mandarin language immersion program. This means that she is immersed in the culture for around 3.5 hours each day (their entire instruction is done solely in Chinese).
This year is was a fun treat to incorporate a lot of what they have learned at school into our home for Chinese New Year. She has slowly been learning to write characters, so it was exciting when she was able to show me how to write dog in Chinese.
Writing is a quick and easy activity that your child can do.
Catch the Dragons Tail:
The children split into two groups. Each group forms a line with their hands on the shoulders of the child in front of them.
The child at the front of each line is the dragon’s head and the very last child is the dragon’s tail. The goal is for the dragon’s head (the child in front) to tag the dragon’s tail (the child in back).
Whichever team catches the dragon’s tail first, wins!
Word Search: Do your kids love to do word searches? Try one based off of Chinese New Year!
One of the easiest ways to learn about a culture is through cooking. Helping children to prepare an ethnic recipe is a great way to introduce them to the customs and traditions of another country. What I love about celebrating Chinese New Year, is that my we are able to really embrace the day with the types of food that we cook.
Ling Ling Asian Food is a great option for those who want to celebrate Chinese New Year with a great authentic dish. There are a wide variety of foods from authentic Asian noodles infused with , potstickers, and fried rice; each with their own special flavor.
Our family absolutely loves fried rice, so for us it was one of the best dishes that we could prepare together as a family to celebrate Chinese New Year. Ling Ling offers a line of fried rice in 5 different unique dishes: Yakitori Chicken, Yakiniku Beef, Thai-Style Chicken, Chinese-Style Vegetable, and Bibimbap Beef. Each based off of pure authentic Asian recipes from Japan, China,Thailand, and Korea.
One of my absolute favorite recipes was the Bibimbap Beef Fried Rice and the Chinese Vegetable Style Rice. Bibimbap Rice is a Korean inspired “mixed rice” dish, includes a combination of vegetables, beef and rice. The Vegetable Style Rice features edamame, carrots, fire roasted corn, and red bell peppers.
The Bibimbap Fried Rice pairs perfectly with homemade General Tsao’s Chicken. This doesn’t take long to make at all-in fact it was so easy my 13 year old made it (it’s one of the first things she has learned to cook).
|General Tsao’s Chicken|
- 4 cups vegetable oil for frying
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 strip orange zest
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons chopped green onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
Optional: Honey BBQ or other sauce if you do not wish to go through the steps to make your own.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a deep fryer or large saucepan to 375.
- Beat the egg in a mixing bowl. Add the chicken; sprinkle with salt, adding 1 teaspoon sugar, and white pepper; mix well. Slowly mix in 1 cup of cornstarch until chicken is coated.
- Slowly start to drop chicken in batches into the hot oil one by one. Cook each one until golden brown and they begin to float. This takes about 5 minutes. Remove chicken as it cooks so it can begin to cool. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
- Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Stir in the green onion, garlic, and orange zest. Cook and stir a minute or two until the garlic has turned golden and the chiles brighten. Add 1/2 cup sugar, the ginger, chicken broth, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and peanut oil; bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes.
- Dissolve 2 teaspoons of cornstarch into the water, and stir into the boiling sauce. Cook until sauce thickens and is no longer cloudy from cornstarch (1 minute or so). Add chicken to sauce and reduce heat to low and cook for a few minutes until the chicken absorbs some of the sauce.
Do you celebrate Chinese New Year? If so share with me on Twitter your favorite activities or recipes. Use #LL or #LingLingAsianFood and @NatashaVBrown and so we can share some great ideas together!
Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.