Chinese New Year of the Water Rabbit 2023

Chinese New Year of the Rabbit 2023

January 22, 2023, marks the end of the Tiger year and the beginning of the Water Rabbit year.

Those born in 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023 are born in the year of the rabbit.

The 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.

According to the Chinese zodiac story, the Jade Emperor, who was the boss of everything, held a competition to decide the zodiac animals.

The clever rat asked the diligent ox to let him ride on the ox's head to cross the river.

Just as the ox reached the other side, the rat jumped down before the ox and crossed the finish line first.

So the rat won the race and became the first of the zodiac animals, followed by ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

People born in a year of the Rabbit are believed to be vigilant, witty, intellectual and ingenious.

2023 is a good year to give birth. It is a Water Rabbit year.

In Chinese astrology, water means longevity and peace, and the Rabbit is a symbol of vigilance, wit, cautiousness, deftness, and self-protection.

People born in the year of the Water Rabbit year are predicted to enjoy good fortune and have a peaceful mind throughout their lives.

In Chinese mythology, the Rabbit is the only zodiac animal to live together with the Goddess Chang'e in the Moon.

Being closely related to the Goddess of the Moon, the Rabbit is one of the most favoured zodiac signs in Chinese astrology.

Intellectual, scholarly, and learned, Rabbits enjoy good career and wealth.

With a pair of dexterous hands, Rabbits have a gift for calligraphy, painting, sewing and cooking.

They excel in cultivation, breeding, education, religion, health care, medicine, culture, police or judiciary work, and politics.

Famous Rabbits include Albert Einstein, David Beckham and Michael Jordan.

So, whether or not you believe in these predictions and personality analyses, enjoy the year of the Water Rabbit with a lot of good food and fun.

Tau yu bak or braised pork belly

This is a delicious comforting dish to have during Chinese New Year or at any time.

The pork belly, slowly stewed in soy sauce and aromatics, becomes tender and gelatinous and goes really well with steamed rice.

It was my late father in law's favourite dish and I'm happy that I cooked it for him. Hope you enjoyed it, Pa Raymond Chionh!

Braised pork belly

Serves 4

900g pork belly

2 tbsp peanut oil

2 tbsp rock sugar

2 stalks spring onions, remove roots and cut into three

6 slices ginger

2 star anise

1 cinnamon stick

700ml water


3 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp dark soy sauce

2 tsp oyster sauce

3 tbsp Shaoxing wine

Cut pork belly into cubes. Pour boiling water over cubes, drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a pan and when it is hot, lower the heat and add rock sugar. When the sugar is melting slightly, add pork cubes and cook over medium heat until lightly browned.

Add spring onion, ginger slices, star anise and cinnamon.

Stir fry about 3 minutes.

Mix seasoning ingredients and pour into pan, stir until thoroughly mixed and add water.

Bring to the boil and lower heat to medium.

Cover pan and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add more water if meat is sticking to the pan.

When the pork is tender and the sauce has reduced a little, serve with steamed rice.

Wishing everyone a happy hoppy Chinese New Year of the Rabbit!

Picture credits:

Happy Chinese New Year by a friend who prefers anonymity.

Chinese New Year symbol by my niece and garden guru Jong-Ee Kao.

Beautiful luminous rabbit painting by my artistically talented cousin Pat Lin.

Braised pork belly by Australian Pork.