Happy Chinese New Year! As we enter into the Year of the Dragon, everyone is looking forward to a bright and prosperous year ahead. The Year of the Dragon is the luckiest year in the Chinese zodiac and this one is even better.
“This Year of the Dragon also aligns with the water element, which represents intelligence and wisdom,” says Alan Wong, general manager of the restaurant Kung Fu Plaza in Las Vegas. “In feng shui, water also represents luck and money, making the rest of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 especially promising.”
As the longest and most important festivity in the Chinese calendar, many countries all over Asia will be celebrating and observing traditions during the 15-day celebration. China, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand all celebrate the Chinese New Year, along with Chinatowns located all over the world.
“Las Vegas has become especially taken by the Chinese New Year, both in Chinatown Las Vegas and various resorts Downtown or on the Las Vegas Strip,” says Wong. “It represents renewal, and is the best time to wish everyone peace and happiness. This year is even more exciting because the Year of the Dragon carries a certain reverence with it.”
Kung Fu Plaza Las Vegas Restaurant Will Recommend Traditional Dishes On Request.
“Yesterday, we were recommending vegetarian dishes as many people traditionally refrain from eating meat on the first day,” said Wong. “But as the celebration continues, fish and seafood dishes are expected to be prominent. So are dishes with extraordinary flavors, like those seasoned with ginger, chili, and basil. Only the freshest and most natural foods will do.”
Ordering kung pao chicken, orange chicken, roast duck, chili mint chicken, shrimp curry, red pepper shrimp, and deep fried catfish are all good choices as main entrees in the weeks ahead. And while each dish carries subtly different meanings, all of them will help usher in a very prosperous new year.
“Lo mein, pad Thai, and other noodle dishes are also very good choices,” says Wong. “Noodles symbolize longevity. But in general, given this is the Year of the Dragon, many people will gravitate toward associations like seafood for water, orange dishes for wealth, and foods with a gold color [like spring rolls] to represent good fortune.”
Wong says the emphasis on fortune, wealth, and luck are always associated with the Year of the Dragon. So much so, China is likely to see a spike in births this year as parents hope to impart the characteristics of the dragon to their children. In addition, Wong says in China and all over Asia, more people will start businesses and initiate new projects because money is supposed to come easier for everyone.
This is also why places like Las Vegas and Macau will likely see more visitors hoping to win. However, Wong cautions that although the dragon may help economic recovery, any fortune that can be won can also be lost. It is a good year for everyone, but too much extravagance will always run its course.
“Dragons are very passionate and brave, but you cannot mistake these qualities with being fickle or foolhardy,” says Wong.
Kung Fu Plaza In Las Vegas Has Deep Ties To China And Thailand.
Wong’s parents, who immigrated to the United States from Thailand in the 1960s, have strong ties to both Thailand and China. In Thailand, the Chinese New Year is one of three celebrations recognized. In Chinatown Las Vegas, Wong says several shops and stores will hang red banners. Others may decorate windows with cutouts that honor the dragon.
“Red has been associated with the Chinese New Year for hundreds of years,” said Wong. “It started because the Chinese New Year was associated with the fight against the Nian. Parents would guard their homes by placing food outside the door. However, one year, a child wearing red once scared the beast away, which is how the tradition of red began. Nian, of course, has since been tamed.”
Founded in 1973, Kung Fu Plaza serves the most authentic Chinese and Thai cuisine of all Las Vegas restaurants. It is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The average entree is under $10 and most patrons order family style.