Slithering into the Year of the Snake

It’s almost my favorite time of year again, when dragons dance into the streets and fireworks light up the night skies. Next month will be Hawaii’s other New Year’s holiday, Chinese New Year! Of course, I’m always a little biased, being Chinese and all. But if you really want to know the truth, I absolutely love the traditional treats that come along with the holiday. They’re not only tasty but also bring good luck.

People fill the streets and enjoy one of my favorite Chinese treats, gin doi (bottom).

This year, we celebrate the Year of the Snake. Chinese believed snakes to be a good omen because it meant a family would never starve. And with food being an inevitable part of the Chinese New Year, it’s a sure thing you won’t be starving either.

Honolulu’s Chinatown Culture & Arts District will be kicking off the Chinese year 4170 on Feb. 10, 2013. Festivities revolve around an assortment of foods believed to bring luck, prosperity and long life. Jai (vegetarian monk’s food), jook (rice soup) and – of course – gau (sticky pudding) will top the table.

But my favorite would have to be the gin doi (doughnut with a black bean filling). They’re more than delicious; they’re nostalgic for me because as a kid, I remember my Popo (grandma) bringing one home for my brother and me every other day.

Check out the annual Chinese New Year festivities in Chinatown. Just be sure to show up on an empty stomach!

Chinatown Open House • Features food, lion dances, martial arts and arts and crafts booths • Feb. 1 at 6-9pm, Feb. 2 at 9am-10pm • Chinese Cultural Plaza

Night in Chinatown Street Festival • Annual street fair featuring live bands, lion dancing and worldly cuisine • Feb. 2 at 8am-10pm • Honolulu Chinatown area

Posted by: Bruce Fisher