How do I Celebrate Chinese New Year in 2021?

Welcome back to my Bryn Mawr Blog. This is Jacqueline. I will share with you how I celebrate Chinese New Year in 2021. As many might know, it’s a tradition to eat dumplings on any major Chinese festivals. Since I’m not a big fan of dumplings, I will do something else: hotpot.


There are pre-made hot pot base, which usually has butter, but I’m vegan, which means that I don’t consume any animal product, so I make my own soup base. You can also use plain water.


Soup Base:

  • [ ] vegetable bouillon
  • [ ] garlic
  • [ ] ginger
  • [ ] dried mushroom
  • [ ] spice
    • [ ] soy sauce
    • [ ] five-spice powder
    • [ ] white pepper
    • [ ] dry chili pods
    • [ ] chili flakes


  • [ ] potato
  • [ ] sweet potato
  • [ ] white radish (白萝卜)
  • [ ] lotus root (藕)
  • [ ] bamboo shoot (笋)
  • [ ] leafy greens of your choice
    • [ ] spinach
    • [ ] napa cabbage (白菜)
    • [ ] crown daisy (茼蒿)


  • [ ] king oyster mushroom(杏鲍菇)
  • [ ] enoki mushroom (金针菇)

Soy Product:

  • [ ] frozen tofu (冻豆腐)
  • [ ] tofu skin (腐皮)


  • [ ] yam noodles(魔芋)
  • [ ] glass noodles (粉丝)
  • [ ] vegan meatball
  • [ ] seitan


  • boil a pot of water and put in every ingredient of soup base
  • boil for a few minutes until the fragrance comes out
  • prepare other ingredients
    • cut vegetables in thin slices (except leafy greens)
    • cut king oyster in thick slices
    • rip enoki mushrooms into pieces
    • cut tofu skin in segments
  • start enjoying the hotpot
    • put the things that need most time to cook first

Thoughts on Traditions

I’m not a big fan of traditions. I don’t stick to something just because it’s a tradition. Not having dumplings might be important for someone else, but it’s not a big deal for me. I believe what is common doesn’t mean that it’s right or natural. For example, it’s a tradition to light firecrackers but now it’s well established that they do serious damage to the environment. It’s also a tradition to have Hong Shao Kao Fu (红烧烤麸), made of seitan, on the New Year’s Eve dinner because it has the same pronunciation of “depending on the husband”, which is obviously an obsolescent idea.

How do Vegans Celebrate?

I believe every vegan faces this problem in their journey. They are excited to celebrate a holiday with families and friends but only to find that almost all dishes are meat or fish. Such problem exist because we eat food more than their nourishment. People attach meanings to food so we also have cultural and emotional attachment to them. As the meaning can be given to food, it can also be withdrawn. If certain dishes are just a tradition that I’m not fond of, I don’t bother to think about it. If I absolutely love certain dishes, I will try veganize them, by replacing the meat with plant-based meat or soy products.



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