Serving Fish On Chinese New Year Brings Luck; Here Are Recipes To Try

Ring in the lunar year with these whole fish recipes.

IMAGE Majoy Siason

The first day of the new lunar year, celebrated as the Chinese New Year, falls on January 25. It's celebrated with as much (or even more!) pomp and fanfare as other holidays and special occasions! 

Every new year is the mark of new beginnings, and wishes of good health, more wealth, togetherness, and other good tidings are common. The most common of these wishes may be the blessing for prosperity. More wealth in the new year is always appreciated so whether you're looking to be better financially this year or the next, you may want to serve some fish dishes, especially whole fish dishes. 

According to the Chinese, fish is one of seven lucky food to eat to ring in the new year. Whole fish dishes are especially more lucky than the easy-to-cook fillets. There are even tips on how to eat a whole fish right to ensure the new year is a prosperous one! 

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If you're looking to cook whole fish dishes this Chinese New Year, here are recipes you may want to try: 

Photo by Riell Santos
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1 Chinese-Style Steamed Tilapia Recipe 

A simple steamed fish is easy to make but to make it taste even more special, make it with some aromatic and flavorful ingredients that will make this dish a delicious one. 

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Photo by Majoy Siason

2 Rellenong Bangus Recipe 

The work put in to make this traditional celebratory recipe is well worth it! The rellenong bangus is a classic dish to serve for any special occasion so if you're looking for tips and tricks to help you make this just as special as the occasion, turn to this recipe to help you through the process. 

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Photo by Miguel Nacianceno

3 Baked Whole Fish Recipe 

You don't need to stress yourself out too much to make a delicious dish! Even easier is baking it so that the fish can gently cook without you needing to hover over a hot stove. Plus, its vibrant citrus flavors make this a winner dish.

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Photo by Majoy Siason

4 Fish Escabeche Recipe 

This is another classic handaan recipe! This colorful dish is perfect for fiestas and the new year! It's got slivers of carrots, bell peppers, and onions tossed in the sweet and sour sauce. It's a flavorful sauce to serve poured over a simple fried fish like this one. 

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Photo by Miguel Nacianceno

5 Whole Fried Fish In Black Bean Sauce Recipe  

Tausi, or fermented black beans, are packed with flavor! The soy sauce-like liquid is super flavorful, and the beans are loaded with all that. That's why this whole fish recipe is sure to be just as flavorful! There's no need to be heavy-handed with the salt with this recipe! Even a light seasoning on the fish will be made to taste even better with the black bean sauce served with it to add some loaded umami flavors to the overall dish. 

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Photo by Lilen Uy

6 Stuffed Tilapia Recipe 

You can grill it or simply steam it. This recipe involves stuffing tilapia (or pla-pla if you want a bigger serving of fish) with aromatic ingredients such as onions, garlic, and spring green onions into the gill cavity of the fish. The fish is then wrapped securely in foil and then, you have your choice of grilling it or steaming it. Whichever you choose, remember to sprinkle some seasoning on top of the fish right after opening the packet so the fish smells appetizing when it's opened. You'll get a burst of delicious flavors from the fish if you do it right. 

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7 Mustasa-Wrapped Tilapia Recipe  

Mustasa or mustard leaves are bitter-tasting leaves! However, there are some who love this unique flavor and if you're one of them, you'll be glad that this recipe marries that bitterness with a sweet and savory sauce. The coconut does the job of offering that counterpoint of flavor into the dish but the fish brings it all together into a delicious meal. Serve this with lots of rice! 

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8 Larang sa Manggang Hilaw Recipe 

Green mangoes are usually eaten as is but if you're feeling creative in the kitchen, why not try making this soured fish dish using that unripe fruit? Think of this as a sinigang na isda but without the sampaloc to make it sour. The green mango does that job deliciously well! 

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9 Steamed Tilapia with Three Onions Recipe 

Steaming is fast and easy but you still have to make it flavorful and delicious! One way of doing that is by making sure that your steamed dish is served with something flavorful and tasty to make it even more delicious. Three kinds of onions make the sauce of this appetizing dish! 

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Photo by Patrick Martires

10 Sarciadong Betilya Recipe 

Betilya is a kind of fish that you can get in most supermarkets and even at the palengke! More commonly known as the emperor fish, you'll find this meaty white-fleshed fish is just as tasty as the lapu-lapu or any other white-fleshed fish you can find. Plus, its size is perfect for making into whole fish dishes like this saucy recipe. 

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Whole fish recipes are easy to make! Just remember that you can take advantage of your fishmonger's expert skills and have them scale, gut, and otherwise prep your fish before taking it home. All that leaves you to do is taking care of what goes into it so when its served, it's a flavorful and appetizing plate. That is all you need to make ringing in the new year a more auspicious and flavorful one. 

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