Shanghai gearing up for annual Spring Festival celebration

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Ye Jiajia, 35, a Shanghai resident of Yangpu District, has made a tough decision to cancel her family's reservation for a traditional nianyefan, or Chinese New Year's Eve dinner, at a restaurant.To get more news about shanghai special dishes, you can visit shine news official website.

Many restaurants usually get booked out as the traditional festival approaches. Chinese New Year's Eve falls on January 31 this year.

Her family of 12 has stuck to the tradition of dining out for nianyefan for the past six years, and this year's reservation was made quite early – last October.

"Dining out is a convenient option because it takes quite long time to prepare a banquet at home for a family reunion," she said.However, new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases in different parts of the country upended their annual Chinese Lunar New Year celebration plans.

"My grandparents are in their 80s, so in response to the government call to avoid gatherings and also giving consideration to their health we made this hard decision," Ye said.

"I asked for other opinions in our family WeChat group, and they all agreed even though there was an argument at the beginning," said Ye.The other side of the coin is that pre-cooked dishes, which are easy to cook and pleasing to the eye, are becoming more popular, particularly among young people.

Ye said she purchased a pre-cooked meal at time-honored Sunya Cantonese Restaurant, which comprises a variety of food from cold dishes to dim sum.

Dating back almost a century, Sunya Cantonese on Nanjing Road E. features 24 types of pre-cooked meal packages with prices ranging between 178 yuan (US$28) and 3,888 yuan.

"We have diversified the categories of ready-to-heat meal packages this year to satisfy consumers' demand," said Zhu Hong, Sunya's deputy executive chef.Each package has a QR code attached, and people can watch cooking videos by scanning the code to make the cooking process easier," Zhu said. "The entire cooking procedure – cold dishes, hot cuisine, soup and dim sum – is covered."

The videos were made by senior chefs.

"Even if you are a cooking rookie, the flavor is the same as the chefs make if you follow the procedures in the videos," said Zhu.The packages can be purchased at nearly Sunya's 40 outlets across the city, but reservations are required to prevent gatherings and reduce waiting time.

A pre-cooked banquet package priced at 2,698 yuan consists of butter and cheese king crab, large yellow croaker stuffed with xiefen, or "crab roe," perigord truffle fried steak, traditional Shanghai cold dishes like sauced kaofu, or wheat gluten, and sweet and sour ribs.

The crown jewel of Fujian cuisine, fotiaoqiang ("Buddha jumps over the wall" or "Buddha's temptation"), is a sumptuous and extravagant soup often served as a main course at Chinese banquets. Packages of fotiaoqiang are already sold out, according to Zhu.

Ding Xiao, a Shanghai resident, carefully checked what was available on a display board at Sunya, which lists all pre-cooked meal options."Convenience is the priority because I only need to make simple food, which saves a lot of time," said Ding. "I prefer time-honored brands as they represent childhood memories."

Posted 12 Apr 2022

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