By Jenny Fong, M.S., CPT.

Throughout East and Southeast Asia, Lunar New Year is one of the most important celebrations of the year, often celebrated over several days. Festivities begin at the start of the new moon and last 15 days, until the full moon arrives. This year, Lunar New Year celebrations began on February 1, 2022. Much of the Lunar New Year customs revolve around foods and traditions that symbolize prosperity, abundance, and togetherness. 

The month of February is also American Heart Month. Almost half of all American adults have high blood pressure, a key risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Many people who have high blood pressure don’t know that they have it, which is why it is important to have your blood pressure checked regularly. To prevent and manage heart disease, both exercise and nutrition are key.

So, what can we do this Lunar New Year to make sure that we are taking care of our heart health so that we can live healthy and prosperous lives? Try incorporating more fish into your diet! In Chinese culture, fish is often consumed at Chinese New Year for good luck. In the Chinese language, the word “fish” (魚) is pronounced the same way as the word for “surplus” or “abundance” (餘). There is strong evidence that shows that eating fish can lead to improved heart health amongst many other health benefits. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least 2 servings of fish (3 ounces, cooked) every week. Fatty fish in particular is rich in heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids and lower in saturated fats when compared to other types of animal-based protein. Examples of fatty fish include tuna, salmon, herring, anchovies, swordfish, sardines, mackerel, trout, pollock. Check out this quick and easy, heart healthy Chinese Steamed Fish recipe.


Chinese Steamed Fish:
2 scallions
2 tbsp ginger
1 small bunch cilantro
1.5 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 pinch of salt
1/8 tsp sugar
2 tbsp hot water
10 oz fillet of delicate white fish
2 tbsp vegetable oil

Cut the scallions into 2-inch lengths, and cut the pieces in half lengthwise. Julienne them thinly. Thinly slice about 15g of ginger, and julienne them. Give the cilantro a rough chop. Set the aromatics aside.

  1. Combine the low sodium soy sauce, salt, sugar and hot water in a small bowl and mix until dissolved. Set aside.
  2. Prepare your steaming set-up, and fill with 1-2 inches of water. Bring to a boil.
  3. Carefully lay the fish fillet in an oblong heat-proof plate and place it in the steamer. Set the heat to medium for a slow boil. 
  4. Cover and steam for 7-10 minutes depending upon the size and thickness of your fish fillet. Check for doneness using a butter knife. If it cuts easily through the thickest part of the fillet to the bottom of the plate, the fish is done.
  5. Turn off the heat, and carefully drain any liquid on the plate. Spread about ⅓ of the scallions, ginger, and cilantro on the steamed fish.
  6. To make the sauce, heat a wok or small saucepan to medium high heat, and add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Add the remaining ⅔ of the ginger, and fry for 1 minute. Add the white parts of the scallions and cook for 30 seconds. Then, add the rest of the scallions and cilantro. The mixture should be sizzling.
  7. Add the soy sauce mixture. Bring the mixture to a bubble, and cook until the scallions and cilantro are just wilted, about 30 seconds.
  8. Pour this mixture over the fish and serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from: