Chinese New Year: The Year of the Dog

 

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History

Chinese New Year is just around the corner! The most important holiday of the Chinese tradition, Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year is based around a traditional Chinese Lunar solar calendar whose date indicates both the moon phase and the time of the solar year.

It is unknown exactly when the celebration first originated, however it can be traced as far back as the Shang Dynasty (1766 BC – 1122 BC) where it was a heavily religious ceremonial practice given in honour of heaven, earth and family ancestors.

Zodiac

The Chinese Zodiac ‘Sheng Xiao’ attributes a significant importance to the New Year tradition as it is based on a twelve-year cycle with each year related to an animal sign. Calculated according to the Chinese zodiac, there are 12 animals used to track time, attributing the animal’s characteristics to those whose birth year fall under the particular animal’s zodiac. 2018 is the Year of the Dog, and it is traditionally believed that characteristics including loyalty, reliability and patience are attributed to those born during that year.

Celebration

Celebrations leading up to and during the festival are divided by three phases, ‘Little Year, Spring Festival and Lantern Festival.’ During this time, families will gather to celebrate union and togetherness, which is at the heart of the importance of the festival’s tradition. Hanging decorations, shopping and setting off fireworks are also amongst the popular celebratory practices. The giving of ‘Red Packets’ which are envelopes containing Chinese Yuan are traditionally given by elders to young people as It was believed that the money in the red packet will protect them from evil and encourage a healthy life.

Food

Preparing, cooking and sharing food is at the heart of the Chinese New Year tradition. The New Year’s Eve dinner is of particular importance, as it is an opportunity for families to gather in reunion. Fish and dumplings are always served, and then accompanied by many other dishes including rice balls, rice cake, noodles and oranges, that all hold symbolism of luck and fortune.

If you’re cooking for your family in celebration of the Lunar New Year, or wanting to expand your tastebuds and try some tasty traditional Asian dishes, be sure to visit us at Tang Food Emporium in the Melbourne CBD. We have thousands of fresh, packaged and preserved items to guarantee an amazing and delicious New Year’s celebration for all.

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The Delicious Jellyfish Delicacy

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Calling all adventurous eaters! How would you like to try something new? Something different? Well, we at Tang Food Emporium might have found your next biggest at-home culinary hit.

We’re sure you’ve tried the delicious flavours and textures of calamari, shellfish and crustaceans, but how about Jellyfish?  This sea creature happens to be an extremely sustainable and when prepared correctly (those of the kind that are not poisonous), is a delicious and eatable marine species!

Conveniently, while populations of other marine creatures we consume have decreased due to global overfishing and environmental threats, Jellyfish continue to thrive in even the toughest oceanic conditions.

Okay, we bet that by now you’re at least a little bit intrigued…

How does Jellyfish taste?

The texture of this well known sea creature has been likened to fresh squid, with a slightly more salty flavour and more of a ‘crunch’.

Often stocked in Chinese markets, Jellyfish can commonly be found dried, salted, semi-dried or sealed fresh. Served alone or mixed into traditional dishes, Jellies add an Asian flavour to even the most European dishes including roasted duck and chicken.

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If you’re a beginner, we recommend trying this ancient Chinese delicacy in a salad with additional proteins and lots of soy sauce or vinegar. Some of the most popular recipes include marinated sesame jellyfish with a variety of condiments including chilli, garlic, onion and infused oils.

If you’re a little hesitant or don’t know where to begin, we at Tang Food Emporium are here to make your first experience with Jellyfish easy, exciting and enjoyable! Pop in-store and chat to our friendly staff that can point you in the right direction.

Tang’s Tasty Summer Treats

Summer is finally upon us, and that means it’s the perfect time of year to celebrate the warm weather and festive season with our friends and family; but what would a gathering be without delicious food?!

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Forget your vanilla ice cream and sugary sodas; here at Tang we have to share with you two summer favourites guaranteed to delight the tastebuds! All the ingredients mentioned are available from our Melbourne CBD store located on Russell Street, just a minute away from China Town! Come in today and let our friendly staff help you find everything you need.

 

Fruity Bubble Tea

 

Staying hydrated is essential during the summer months, so why not cool down with a traditional South East Asian beverage when you’re by the pool or entertaining guests? We can guarantee they’ll be a hit!

 

At Tang we love Bubble Tea, an uber popular Taiwanese milk tea drink traditionally infused with syrup, fruits and tapioca pearls to create various delicious flavours.  Aside from being delicious and a much healthier alternative to sodas, it’s super easy to make! Here’s what you’ll need (makes ONE serving):

 

  • 2 cups of Fresh fruit of choice (we recommend Strawberry or Lychee )
  • 2 cups Soy or Almond Milk
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • Jelly or Tapioca ‘Boba’ pearls to taste
  • 2 cups of Ice

 

  1. Put ice, fruit and milk into a blender and blend until smooth
  2. In a tall glass or cup, add tapioca pearls or jelly to taste
  3. Add Honey
  4. Add blended mixture
  5. Stir/shake well and serve immediately.

 

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Refreshing Watermelon Salad:

 

Salads are always a hit when it comes to feeding a crowd over the festive season. They’re fresh, healthy and super tasty; plus many can be prepared in a matter of minutes.

 

This traditional Thai Watermelon salad recipe is super simple and combines perfect balance of sweet and savoury.  Here’s what you’ll need:

 

  • ½ a seedless Watermelon cut into cubes or chunks
  • ½ Garlic clove
  • 2 de-seeded and sliced red chillies
  • ½ cup of Fish sauce
  • 1 lime
  • Peanuts (to taste)
  • Thai Basil leaves (shredded)
  • Mint leaves (shredded)

 

  1. Using a mortar and pestle, ground garlic, chilli’s, lime juice and fish sauce until combined
  2. Add mix to Watermelon chunks in a large bowl and toss together thoroughly
  3. Sprinkle herbs and peanuts
  4. Serve immediately

 

Now you have a few easy summer Asian-inspired recipes to enjoy over the festive season! For more cooking ideas and all your ingredients, be sure to visit us at Tang Food Emporium: 185 Russell St, Melbourne VIC 3000.

 

Cocktail Season!

Spring has finally sprung and that means summer and the promise of warm weather is not far behind! You know what that means? Cocktail season of course! 

Ditch the overpriced drinks at a crowded bar this weekend and make your own spring inspired cocktails with premium-imported ingredients including Liqueurs, Sakes and Plum Wines from us at Tang Food Emporium! 

 Need a little inspiration to get the creative juices flowing? Here are a few of our favourite recipes using delicious and adorably pink Cherry Blossom Liqueur. 

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Cherry Blossom Sangria 

 Ingredients:  

  • 30ml Cherry Blossom Liqueur 
  • 90ml Soda Water 
  • 60ml Lemonade 
  • 150ml White Wine 
  • 4 slices Lemon 

Method:  

Step 1. Combine ingredients in a tall glass or tumbler filled with ice cubes 

Step 2. Stir thoroughly and serve immediately! 

 

Cherry Blossom Liqueur ‘Straight up’ 

Ingredients: 

  • 20ml Cherry Blossom Liqueur 
  • Soda Water 
  • Fresh Lime 

Method: 

 Step 1. Pour Cherry Blossom Liqueur over Ice 

Step 2. Fill glass with soda water and lime to taste 

 

Cherry Blossom ‘Bloom’ 

 Ingredients: 

  • 30ml Cherry Blossom Liqueur 
  • 60ml Soda Water 
  • 10ml Grenadine 
  • Glazed Cherries 
  • Fresh Lime 

Method: 

Step 1. Combine ingredients in a tall glass or tumbler filled with ice cubes 

Step 2. Stir thoroughly  

Step 3. Garnish with cherries and lime to taste 

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Which one are you going to make at home? Do you have a favourite recipe that uses our Cherry Blossom Liqueur? Comment what it is below and make sure you head into Tang Food Emporium on 185 Russell Street, Melbourne. 

Get Spooky this Halloween with Tang! 

It’s that time of year again when all things creepy-crawly and a little bit spooky find their way into stores and even your neighbourhood! What are we on about you ask? Halloween of course!  

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So what is Halloween 

Halloween is an annual holiday celebrated each year on October 31st. Most popular in North American culture, the celebration has roots in ancient European traditions and has found its way into the lives of citizens worldwide. It originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts and evil spirits. 

Popular culture has developed this age-old tradition into a fun and family-friendly event where dressing up, carving pumpkins and collecting sweets (also known as trick-or-treating) captures the minds of young and old. 

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And how can Tang make your Halloween the best ever?  

 With candy of course! Trick or Treating is a worldwide children’s custom of calling at neighbourhood houses on Halloween with the threat of ‘pranks’ if they are not given a small gift, usually of the sweet variety. This activity is harmless fun for the whole family! 

Instead of handing out the boring supermarket treats you’ve tried time and time before, why not try something unique from Asia, brought to you with convenience by Tang Food Emporium. We stock hundreds of confectionary brands from worldwide favourites including Hello Kitty, Pokémon, Rilakkuma, Nestle, Disney and much more! From sweet to savoury, individually packaged or gift boxed, head in store and enjoy our kooky range of unique products at great prices. 

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Want to know more? Head to our social channels or website for a sneak peak of what we have to offer! Don’t forget to show us your Halloween loot by using the hashtag #Tangtime on Instagram. 

Happy Trick or Treating

What’s Cookin’ Good Lookin’

Are you a seasoned home-cook, an authentic asian food enthusiast, or just looking for some delicious new foodie products to get your hands on? Well, we want YOU!

We at Tang want to share the love with our loyal customers and see what it is you’re cooking with our huge range of authentic products sourced from across south east asia. Be inspired by other online foodies and post your Tang goodies to your social media channels using the hashtag #TangTime for a chance to be featured on our official Facebook and Instagram accounts!

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So what can I buy at Tang to add to my recipe, you ask?

We at Tang Emporium are located in the heart of the Melbourne CBD and offer thousands of carefully sourced, authentic south east Asian ingredients to compliment your traditional or home-made recipes. We take care to stock goods suitable for vegetarians and vegans, with new products arriving weekly. Whatever you need, we at Tang are here to help! Be sure to ask our friendly staff for recipe ideas and advice so you can create your best #TangTime; see you on the other side!

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Instagram: @tangfoodemporium

Facebook: @tangfoodemporium

The Meaning of Moon Festival

It’s that time of year again when we’re preparing to celebrate the annual Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, a celebration that has a rich cultural and spiritual heritage, being celebrated among the Chinese community for thousands of years. Here at Tang, we love sharing parts of our heritage and culture with our customers; so here’s a little synopsis of the exciting event that is the annual Moon or Harvest Festival!

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Origins:

 The rich cultural history of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival spans back as early as the 11th Century B.C, during the Zhou dynasty. Ancient emperors of the time used to worship and offer sacrifice to the moon in autumn, as they believed that the practice would bring them a plentiful harvest the following year. Traditionally, the harvest festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar (late September/early October in western society).

Throughout the centuries since the celebration’s creation, adaptations brought about by various Dynasties have increased the popularity of the festival, now known for its widespread communal celebration and worship activities throughout Mainland China and areas of south east Asia.

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Celebration:

 The excitement of a new harvest brought together families of the early Chinese dynasties so they could worship and offer food ‘sacrifices’ to the moon in the hope of a prosperous return.

Traditionally, performed outside under the full moon, a feast of fruits and Mooncake were shared during the celebration, whilst burning incense and releasing lanterns. Gifting and consuming of Mooncake originated as part of the harvest worshiping practices and have remained a symbolic gift of reunion.

Mooncake:

Mooncakes are round pastries made from red bean or lotus seed paste, surrounded in thin pastry and often filled with a salted duck egg. Traditional Mooncakes have an imprint on top consisting of the Chinese characters including ‘Harmony’ and ‘Longevity.’ A symbol of togetherness, Mooncake were seen and an indispensible delicacy as part of the Harvest celebration and have continued to gain popularity up to the current day.

In modern society, it is customary to present them to friends and family as gifts. Mooncake recipes have been diversified with the use of contemporary fillings including chocolate and green tea flavourings, making them all the more appealing to those in western society.

 Whether you’re looking to purchase Mooncake as a gift, for your personal Moon Harvest Celebration or as a unique and delicious treat, make sure you head in to see us at Tang Food Emporium for all your needs!