Lunar New Year is Around the Corner, Prepare to Celebrate with a Trip to Pan Asia
A trip to Pan-Asia in Ballwin may have you wondering if you’ve slipped through a wormhole into another country. This department store sized grocer is something to behold even if you're not ready to try that new pad thai recipe just yet. However, with Lunar New Year approaching on February 10 it’s the perfect time to begin getting acquainted.
Pan-Asia in Ballwin opened it’s doors in 2017. They are open 365 days a year and carry thousands of different products from Asian and Mid-eastern countries like China, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Thailand, The Philippines, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, Laos, Singapore, Cambodia, and the Hmong. There are now 6 stores across the mid-west. They have an amazing exotic assortment of vegtables, fruits, seafood and meats.
The thing about cooking international food is you may be able to find a good authentic recipe and you may be able to get 95% of your ingredients from your regular grocer. But the percentage they don’t carry is what makes the meal. The dizzying aisles of the store are arranged by country, so if you come prepared with your list you’ll make it home with your new arsenal of secret ingredients.
Lunar New Year is celebrated by China, North and South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, and Vietnam. The Lunar New Year comes from the Lunar Calendar, which to no surprise is based off the moon cycles vs the Gregorian Calendar, which is based off the solar calendar. The Lunar calendar is actually more accurate. The Lunar New Year begins during the first new moon which happens at the end of January on different days each year and ends with that full moon about 2 weeks later. It is celebrated all two weeks.
During the celebrations, red clothes, fireworks and firecrackers are meant to scare away the New Year Monster Nian. Red envelopes are given out to younger ones with money inside, also a folklore protecting against evil spirits. Lunar New Year is additionally called the Spring Festival and although it’s further from spring at this point the winter solstice is over and the days going forward will each be longer and soon time for planting. It is a time to feast with loved ones and remember those who are gone.
Some things to try for Lunar New Year could be Longevity Noodles which symbolizes a long life. Prepare a whole fish for wishes of abundance. Bring unity and family togetherness with Tang yuan or sticky rice balls. Sesame balls signify an expanding fortune. Something not so complicated would be Lucky 8 Stir fry made with any eight vegetables representing good luck, prosperity, happiness, family wholeness, and longevity. The reason for 8 being the lucky number is that it is a homophone for prosperity in Chinese.
No doubt you’ll be hungry after all that shopping and luckily inside the store there is China Bistro which is known to have some of the most authentic chinese in the area, and Bubble Cup Tea Zone. You could always indulge a bit before you head out and get some treat-yo-self goodies from Korean Beauty Supply; they have the best skincare!
Xin Nian Kuai Le!