Celebrating Year of the Dragon in Kenya

Chinese New Year in Nairobi Kenya photographed by Susan Wong 2012 Szechuan style spicy calamari

For the Chinese, the days leading up to January 23rd will be all about cleaning the house and office to sweep away any ill-fortune from the past year, decorating the home with beautiful Spring flowers, buying new clothes and preparing for the New Year feast – all in the name of celebrating the most important Chinese holiday.

From the colour of your new clothes, to the artwork on your walls, to your everyday conversations with people, to the presents you buy, to the envelope that you place cards in, and even to the names of the classic dishes you eat – absolutely everything must refer to popular themes such as good fortune, wealth, happiness and longevity.

Aside from watching blazing festive explosions of colourful fireworks, taking a walk in stunning flower markets, watching mesmerizing night parades, capitalizing on great Winter discounts making it easier to find that special new outfit to welcome the New Year with; Chinese New Year is also about the food where all of the restaurants and your mom’s cooking will tempt your taste buds with a decadent array of seasonal dishes that will only be enjoyed once a year, on the second new moon after the Winter solstice.

Chinese New Year celebrations in Kenya

10,000 would be a conservative estimate of the number of Chinese people calling Kenya home judging from just the sheer number and popularity of Chinese restaurants in urban centers.

With no specific “China Town” in Nairobi, fireworks and other mass festivities will be hard to find outside of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China. However, for the regular folks without a VIP invitation, ringing in the Year of the Dragon with excellent Chinese dishes at authentic restaurants such as Double Dragon, will also be just as festive.

With their roots in Shanghai, the Double Dragon team knows how to execute the best dishes of Chinese traditional cuisine. With a selection of savoury soups, from hardy meat to light and naturally sweet seafood broths, simmered for hours for taste and to symbolize a theme of longevity, a steaming hot bowl of soup is absolutely necessary to kick off your Chinese New Year’s feast.

Chinese New Year in Nairobi Kenya photographed by Susan Wong 2012 bbq pork

Beautifully appetizing, classic southern BBQ Pork with its smokey honey glaze and bright red colour, will ensure that you begin the Year of the Dragon with the luckiest colour of all – red.

Chinese New Year in Nairobi Kenya photographed by Susan Wong 2012 Chinese greens

Simple Chinese greens rich in nutrients and lush green colour is a great dish to balance out the heavy meat dishes and to symbolize a fresh beginning.

Chinese New Year in Nairobi Kenya photographed by Susan Wong 2012 pineapple beef

To spark the beginning of a new year, Pineapple Beef Stir-Fry is a colourful dish with fresh bell peppers and juicy pineapple chunks stir-fried with tender cubes of beef marinated in a zippy concoction that sparks the flavours of all of the ingredients.

Chinese New Year in Nairobi Kenya photographed by Susan Wong 2012 Szechuan style spicy calamari - small

Bubbling Szechuan Style Spicy Calamari served in a hot plate is a display of the chef’s fine knife skills as every piece of calamari is intricately scored to reveal a beautiful pattern when the squid is cooked. Seafood is a must in any Chinese feast as it symbolizes a smooth year ahead where things will happen to your liking or your benefit.

In true Chinese fashion, Capital Lifestyle enjoyed a feast of eight dishes, which is an auspicious number echoing the theme of wealth. It may sound like a lot, but as we all know, with good Chinese food, the itis will always pass.

From everyone at Capital Lifestyle, Happy Year of the Dragon and Gong Hei Fat Choi!

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