Hinode Rice, jasmine style

Creating Chinese New Year Traditions with Hinode Rice

Hinode Rice Honors the Year of the Monkey

Hinode Rice honors the past and embraces the NOW this Chinese New Year. Bring your traditions into 2016 with the mischievous spirit of the monkey. Together, we can bow our heads to ancient customs while breaking a few rules to revive our New Year’s celebrations with clever wit.
February 8th starts the year of the Fire Monkey. Known for their curiosity and magnetic personalities, you’ll want to watch out for monkeys who live true to their zodiac sign with crafty antics and practical jokes. No doubt, they will get a head start on the 15-day festival filled with some of the loudest and most delicious traditions in Chinese and Asian cultures. If you’re lucky, you may even have a monkey (or two) of your own to join in the fun!
We start with our heritage from the East as we prepare Hinode Rice for our New Year’s feast. Our ambitious monkey friends may mix things up with a bowl of Hinode Black Forbidden rice. All ideas are welcome this year as we experiment combining old favorites with new trends. Invite all 12 zodiacs to your party and see what new creations are born this New Year.

Good Eats For Good Luck

For an easy recipe that combines Chinese ingredients with a nutritious twist of the season, try our Citrus Shoyu-Glazed Salmon with Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli) over Hinode Brown Rice.

Citrus Shoyu-Glazed Salmon with Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli) over Hinode Brown Rice
Recipe and photo courtesy of Hinode Rice.

Main Ingredients
2 cups Hinode brown rice
4 salmon filets
1 bunch gai lan Chinese broccoli
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 red onion sliced
Citrus Shoyu Glaze Ingredients
2 cups shoyu (soy sauce)
3 garlic cloves minced
3 tbsp ginger shredded and minced
½ cup brown sugar
1 orange zested


  1. Prepare Hinode Brown Rice per package instructions.
  2. Combine shoyu, garlic, ginger, brown sugar and orange zest in small food processor.
  3. Rinse salmon filets and pat dry with paper towels. Marinade in 1 cup shoyu glaze for 20 minutes.
  4. Grill salmon until cooked to your liking, about 15 minutes.
  5. Steam gai lan briefly without overcooking (al dente).
  6. Heat sesame oil and stir-fry onion until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add gai lan and 1 cup shoyu glaze and stir to heat sauce through.
  7. Plate salmon over bed of Hinode Brown Rice and garnish with hot gai lan, onion and glaze.

Far-Eastern Inspired Cocktails

What’s a great meal without killer cocktails? You’ve probably never tasted a hand-crafted beverage quite like this! Give this gorgeous rum and ginger beer concoction a shake before you join the dragon dance.

dragon fruit based cocktail with Hinode Rice
Recipe and photo courtesy of Sugar and Charm

Ingredients (makes two cocktails)
3/4 of a dragon fruit (save the other 1/4 to garnish the glasses)
2 ounces light rum
1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
2 tbsp. agave
Ginger beer


  1. Remove the pink outer part of the dragon fruit and discard.
  2. Muddle the dragon fruit, lime and agave in a cocktail shaker.
  3. Add ice and rum and shake vigorously to combine all of the ingredients.
  4. Strain over a lowball glass filled with ice. Top with ginger beer and stir.
  5. Garnish with a slice of dragon fruit.

Authentic Chinese New Year Recipes

Those who gather together, eat together! Even with our busy schedules, we can find time to celebrate over good food. If you aren’t up for cooking, plan ahead with some of these authentic recipes and a personal chef (sign us up!)[i]
These inspiring Chinese New Year dishes by The Woks of Life are traditionally prepared to bring guests good luck.

Hinode California medium grain rice over dumpling
Recipe and photo courtesy of The Woks of Life

Chinese New Year @HinodeRice on Pinterest

Turns out we’re kind of obsessing over Chinese New Year this month. The colors and flavors are just too good! So, we’ve created a collection of recipes, décor, and DIY crafting ideas to ring in the year of that cheeky little monkey @HinodeRice on Pinterest.

Bright red, pink yellow orage and white decorated fortune cookies in brown bowl
Photo courtesy of Better Homes and Garden

Chinese New Year History

Fireworks, lanterns, and dragons… “Oh, my!” You’ve probably seen one or more of these colorful elements of Chinese New Year, also called the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival. Maybe you’ve even received a little red envelope with money in it (score)! If so, you may already be in party mode with the monkeys.
Check out this History Channel video full of bite-sized facts about Chinese New Year.

bright red, green, yellow and blue colors create fierce dragon in parade at Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year dragon represents good luck.

Although our celebrations may only include a couple of the long-standing traditions, learning their history makes for some great conversations with friends. Legend has it that Chinese New Year began with a mythical, and just downright mean, creature called Nian that would attack and eat villagers at the end of the year. A God tipped them off to the fact that Nian was frightened by the color red and loud noises. Hence the bright red colors and fireworks across festivities worldwide today![ii]
Pink rabbit lantern illuminated against dark nights sky.
The Lantern Festival is celebrated on the last day of the Lunar New Year.

Chinese New Year is full of mythical creatures, including paper rabbit lanterns that symbolize a fairytale about a Goddess who jumped onto the moon and brought a rabbit with her for company. It is also said that Chinese people are descendants of dragons, which represent good luck and prosperity.[iii] Hopefully, you’ll receive a red envelope this Chinese New Year. Called “hong bao” in Mandarin and “lai see” in Cantonese, these envelopes are typically given by elders to youngsters as a symbol of prosperity. While it’s always fun to receive money, the real gifts contained within the red envelope are happiness, good fortune, and protection from evil spirits.[iv]

Get Inspired with Hinode Rice

We can’t wait to see how you celebrate Chinese New Year, so show and tell us on Facebook and @hinoderice on Twitter and Instagram.


[i] “Chinese New Year Traditions.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 26 Jan. 2016.
[ii] Wu, Annie. “Chinese Red Envelopes/Packets (Hongbao) – Amount, Symbols and How to Give.” ChinaHighlights. 14 Jan. 2016. Web. 26 Jan. 2016.
[iii] Wu, Annie. “Chinese New Year Food: Top Lucky Foods and Symbolism.” ChinaHighlights. 26 Jan. 2016. Web. 26 Jan. 2016.
[iv] “Lions, Dragons, and Nian: Animals of the Chinese New Year.” EDSITEment. National Endowment for the Humanities. 28 Sept. 2010. Web. 26 Jan. 2016.