The Chinese Spring Festival is a public holiday in Mauritius. Depending on the lunar calendar, it is celebrated either at the end of January or at the beginning of February. Red lanterns and decorations like painted paper umbrellas, dragons, lions and printed Chinese characters on gold and red waxy paper sway in all commercial centres and in some supermarkets. On the day of the celebration, the lion dance is performed in the capital city by cultural groups. Local Chinese delicacies are on the stalls a week or two earlier: the famous wax cake which is made with sticky rice, large bags of colourful prawn crisps and crab snacks which is made with grain flour. These are offered to friends and relatives on the day of the celebration and kids receive Hong Bao, a red envelope containing money. The red colour is believed to bring luck and the deafening firecrackers that roar in the evening dispel the evil.
Local Chinese Food
Fried noodles, fried rice and steamed boulettes (fish/meat/vegetable balls) are the most common Chinese food in Mauritius. They can be eaten in most restaurants and 'snacks' across the island all year round. Other specialities like chop-suey, sweet and sour chicken, fish cooked with black beans and Pekin duck can be ordered in typical Chinese restaurants.
Snacks are usually referred to local eateries and they are generally not fancy. The place is often not spacious and filled with the noise of pots and pans and loud conversations Tables are covered with checked or flowery plastic table cloth and prices are affordable. A real immersion experience!
By A-V Tayer
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