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Cooking for the Chinese New Year

Color photos of 3 Chinese treates: deep fried sesame balls, niangao (New Year cake), and jiaozi dumplings. decorative Chinese lanterns in red and gold and the text

Join the Vermont Chinese School and the South Burlington Public Library to make traditional Chinese treats to celebrate the Chinese New Year. This class will take place at Faith United Methodist Church at 899 Dorset Street in South Burlington. Ages 13+.

Participants will try their hand at making two traditional goodies: savory jiaozi and sweet sesame balls:

Jiaozi are a type of Chinese dumpling. They are folded to resemble Chinese sycee (a type of currency) and have great cultural significance in China. Jiaozi are one of the major dishes eaten during the Chinese New Year throughout northern China and are eaten all year round in the northern provinces. Jiaozi are popular in other parts of East Asia and in the Western world, where a fried variety is referred to as potstickers.

Sesame balls are a type of fried Chinese pastry made from glutinous rice flour. The pastry is coated with sesame seeds on the outside and is crisp and chewy immediately after being cooked. Sesame balls are traditionally filled with a bit of sweet red bean paste. The sweetness in the sesame balls symbolizes happiness. Their round shape and golden color are considered lucky, and the fact that the dough balls swell as they’re fried and increase several times in size is a happy metaphor for a small venture growing and bringing back a large return. Sesame balls are commonly seen as a New Year snack in the Canton region, Hong Kong and Macau.

Participants will also be able to sample niangao, sometimes translated as year cake or New Year cake or Chinese New Year's cake. While it can be eaten all year round, traditionally it is most popular during the Chinese New Year. It is considered good luck to eat niangao during this time of the year because nian gao is a homonym for "higher year" or "grow every year", which means "a more prosperous year".

Space in this cooking class is limited, so please register for the program at sbplprograms@southburlingtonvt.gov.

The Library is ADA accessible, patrons are asked to call (802) 846-4140 in advance if special services are required.

Masks may be worn in the library and at any library program.