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Chinese New Year of the FISH!
By Old Sam

Chinese New Year of the FISH!

Well to be honest, Chinese New Year 2016 is the year of the Monkey, but seeing as fish play a big part in every Chinese New Year, we thought we’d find out why. We’re massive fans of fish here at John West, whether it’s New Year fish or fish all year long, so we’re always eager to discover why other countries love it as much as we do.

Lucky fish
One of the key reasons why fish is so popular at Chinese New Year is their symbolic meaning and the fact that they’re seen as lucky. In the Chinese language, the words ‘fish’ (yu’) and ‘surplus/abundance’ (yu’) sound identical, so the common blessing of ‘May you have surplus and remainders year after year’ has become closely linked with fish due to it sounding so similar.

And because the ‘surplus/abundance’ blessing also carries the meanings that you will never experience shortage in health, friendship and financial matters, fish in China have come to metaphorically represent wealth, success, popularity and all sorts of other good stuff too.

Which way do you want your fish served?
The whole ‘lucky fish’ thing has also led to some rules which relate to the position of the fish when it’s being served, especially at the start of the new year. The head should be placed toward distinguished guests or elders, representing respect, and diners can enjoy the fish only after the one who faces the fish head eats first. Fish decorations are also hung up around the home during the celebrations, in hope that the New Year will bring wealth and prosperity.

Along with the New Year connection, fish in China are generally seen as carefree and resilient creatures, so there is even a well-known link between fish and the universally known Yin-Yang symbol. Remember all this the next time you open a can of our Tuna, Salmon, Mackerel or Sardines; that’s no common or garden foodstuff you’re about to tuck into, it’s loaded with symbolic meaning - as well as loaded with healthy ingredients!!

Eat healthier with our New Year fish dishes
Back in the UK, we tend to eat even more fish than usual in the early months of the New Year, because we’ve made resolutions to eat healthier and wiser, so if you fancy brightening up those dull winter months with some exciting fish dishes from JW click here.

Finally, if all this talk of Chinese New Year has given you a yearning for some oriental cuisine with a John West fish twist then perhaps we can tempt you with our Wild Alaskan Salmon Stir Fry recipe.


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