Today we are getting to know Stamford, CT resident, Cindy Zhou and how she likes to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Check out her delicious Instagram account @chubbychinesegirleats and her website, complete with easy to follow recipes and delicious ideas to diversify your weekly dinners.
What’s you’re name and can you describe Chubby Chinese Girl Eats to our readers?
Hi! My name is Cindy Zhou and I run a food and travel (pre pandemic) focused Instagram. Now it’s become mostly about cooking, a lot of dishes from my childhood. Lately, my toddler has been helping and it’s been a lot of fun.
How long have you lived in Stamford, CT?
About a year and 4 months
Where did you move from?
How does your family usually celebrate the Lunar New Year?
The day before Lunar New Year day, we clean the house. Throw out garbage. Get a haircut . Hang festive decorations. Lots of feasting on good symbolic foods on the eve and playing mahjong.
On the first day of the new year, we wear new clothes (preferably red). Get/give red envelopes with money . And eat tang yuan, a filled glutinous rice dumpling, that symbolizes togetherness.
It’s 15 days of quality time with family and friends. And of course filling our bellies.
Since moving to Connecticut has anything changed about how you celebrate the Lunar New Year?
Not really. I still plan on driving to NYC Chinatown to get the feel of the new year like we usually do if we are in the States.
What advice do you have for a parent of young kids who wants to learn more about Lunar New Year and introduce it to their family to start observing/celebrating
Read up and pick some things that seems fun to you.
Do you refer to it as Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year?
I was just discussing this with a friend yesterday. The conclusion is that since I’m Chinese, I would greet other Chinese friends with “Happy Chinese New Year”. But to my non Chinese friends who also celebrate, I say “Happy Lunar new year”.
What are some traditions you’ve carried on from your childhood?
All of the above Also started making my mama’s egg dumplings.
What are some of your favorite dishes to eat or prepare on this day?
The egg dumplings in a soup is so nostalgic. My mom and grandma would make it every New Year. Because it’s so labor intensive my mom only made it once a year for the festivities. So it’s special.
Do you have any advice for a young family who just moved to CT in our area if they want to celebrate Lunar New Year with others?
I feel it’s more about being together with friends and loved ones and spending quality time. Order some good eats (depending on the country or region, there are dif New Year lucky foods). Wear something new and just enjoy. I’m not sure if all cultures that celebrate hand out red envelopes but it’s a great one because who doesn’t like money Although for my 3 year old, I give him gold coin chocolates and he’s so happy.
ALL photos via @chubbychinesegirleats