Spice Temple is embracing the Chinese custom of ushering in fortuitous times with feasts of auspicious dishes planned for the coming Lunar New Year 2023 celebrations.
Executive Chef of Spice Temple Sydney and Melbourne Andy Evans and Melbourne Head Chef Maggie Chan have curated special banquet menus to celebrate the Lunar New Year 2023 and Year of the Rabbit.
The Lunar New Year banquets are available in Sydney from Tuesday, 17 January to Saturday, 28 January, and in Melbourne from Tuesday, 17 January to Sunday, 29 January.
In line with Lunar New Year customs, the banquet menus are designed around food symbolism: purse-shaped pipis that represent fortune, eggs that signify fertility, dumplings shaped like money to represent wealth, and red ingredients that stand for prosperity and happiness.
Chef Andy explains: “We have drawn on our most special dishes that we save for celebratory occasions and designed menus that promote prosperity, happiness, peace, love and other aspects of good fortune.”
“We have chosen red ingredients like cherry tomatoes and Wuxi New Year pork ribs, as red is the colour of prosperity and happiness; purse-shaped pipis that represent fortune; as well as classic dishes eaten during Chinese New Year celebrations, such as raw fish Yu Sheng salad.”
Yu Sheng, otherwise known as ‘Prosperity Toss’, symbolises good luck for the new year.
“Diners are encouraged to toss the shredded ingredients of the salad in the air; the higher they toss the ingredients the greater their good fortune in the year ahead,” Chef Andy says.
“We have included tender pork ribs from Wuxi province in East China for their deep red colour, which comes from braising in a red master stock that is coloured with ground red yeasted rice. Red represents prosperity and happiness, which we wish on all our guests for 2023.”
In Melbourne, Chef Maggie has created unique dishes, including Golden Scallop Dumplings that represent wealth.
The dumplings are made in-house and shaped like the ancient Chinese gold currency, called ingot, with gold dust sprinkled on them for an extra wealth-seeking kick.
Another dish created for the Chinese New Year feast is Stir-Fried Egg Noodles with Blue Swimmer Crab and XO Sauce.
“We make the noodles by hand. In traditional Chinese custom, noodles represent longevity. I love the deep flavours of this dish from our house-made XO sauce, which is full of premium ingredients including dried shrimp and dried scallop.”
“Another symbolic Chinese New Year dish is our Tang Yuan, or sweet rice dumplings, the pronunciation of which is very similar to the Chinese phrase meaning togetherness and the gathering of families.”
The regional Chinese banquet menus cost $159 per person, including a Rabbit cocktail on arrival. An optional wine pairing is available for $75 per person.