Chinese New Year is a time for families to be together. Wherever they are, people come home to celebrate the festival with their families. It’s an opportunity to honor family and friends, and to enjoy some culinary traditions and there’s a lot of eating involved!
So, what foods should we have on hand to ensure a prosperous and happy year to come? Here are some Good Luck foods for Chinese New Year!
Tangerines and Oranges: “Tangerines and oranges are passed out freely during Chinese New Year as the words for tangerine and orange sound like luck and wealth, respectively.”
Long Noodles: These noodles are traditionally served at Chinese New Year’s feasts. An ancient Chinese belief says that long noodles are the key to a long life so don’t cut the noodles! Click here for this recipe!
The Tray of Togetherness: a tray filled with things such as preserved kumquats for prosperity, coconut for togetherness and red melon seeds for happiness.
Sticky Rice Cake!! Jeanette from Jeanette’s Healthy Living shares her mother’s Coconut Sticky Rice Cake. “It’s the perfect ending to a Chinese meal – not too sweet and full of coconut flavor.” I can’t wait to try Jeanette’s mom’s Coconut Sticky Rice Cake! Be sure to visit Jeanette’s beautiful blog for the recipe!
Here’s another great Sticky Rice Balls recipe from Elaine Luo from China Sichuan Food.
Spring Rolls! “Spring rolls get their name because they are traditionally eaten during the Spring Festival. It is a dish especially popular in East China: Jiangxi, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Fujian, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, etc. Spring rolls are a Cantonese dim sum dish of cylindrical-shaped rolls filled with vegetables, meat, or something sweet. Fillings are wrapped in thin dough wrappers, then fried, when the spring rolls are given their golden-yellow color. Lucky saying for eating spring rolls: ‘A ton of gold’ (because fried spring rolls look like gold bars) — a wish for prosperity.
The Shanghai Style Spring Rolls above are from Woks of Life. I love this blog for great Asian food!
These delicious, crispy Spring Rolls are made with a ground pork filling and are from Kelly from, one of my favorite blogs, Life Made Sweeter! This is one of the dishes that she always looks forward to having at their Chinese New Year family feast. Kelly makes delicious and beautiful food and sweet treats! Check out her blog!
Lettuce Wraps: “A food may have special significance during Chinese New Year because of the way the Chinese word for it sounds. For example, the Cantonese word for lettuce sounds like rising fortune, so it is very common to serve a lettuce wrap filled with other lucky food.” These are my pork belly lettuce wraps. . check them out!
Long Leafy Greens and long beans: “leafy greens, such as Chinese broccoli, are served whole to wish a long life for parents.”
Whole fish: “The Chinese word for fish sounds like the word for abundance. It’s important that the fish is served with the head and tail intact to ensure a good start and finish and to avoid bad luck throughout the year.”
Whole Chicken: “Sounds similar to the word for opportunities. A whole chicken also represents completeness and togetherness. The Woks of Life blog usually makes a poached chicken with ginger scallion oil.”
Pomelos: The giant Chinese grapefruit! “This large citrus fruit is popular because it is thought to bring “continuous prosperity and status.” The tradition comes from the way the Cantonese phrase for pomelo, which sounds similar to the words for prosperity and status.”
And finally!! My favorite: Dumplings! “Different dumpling fillings have different meanings: Chinese don’t eat Chinese sauerkraut (酸菜 suāncài /swann-tseye/) dumplings at Spring Festival, because it implies a poor and difficult future. On New Year’s Eve it is a tradition to eat dumplings with cabbage and radish, implying that one’s skin will become fair and one’s mood will become gentle.”
Maggie from Omnivores Cookbook (her beautiful San Xian dumplings are featured above) tells me that the “san xian” filling of the dumpling literally means “three treasures” so we think these are pretty lucky!! Be sure to check out Maggie’s recipe for her San Xian dumplings and her gorgeous blog!
How to Make LUCKY Dumplings
- When making dumplings there should be a good number of pleats. If you make them too flat, it is thought to mean poverty.
- Some Chinese put a white thread inside a dumpling, and the one who eats that dumpling is supposed to possess longevity. Sometimes a copper coin is put in a dumpling, and the one who eats it is supposed to become wealthy.
- Dumplings should be arranged in lines instead of circles, because circles of dumplings are supposed to mean one’s life will go round in circles, never going anywhere.
Sources: Chow.com, ChinaHighlights.com, and ChineseFood.About.com
Here are some more great Chinese New Years posts:
Wishing everyone a very happy and prosperous Chinese New Year!!!
Jolena @TheRubyKitchen says
Wonderful assortment of choices. The dumplings are calling my name!
All of these dishes look absolutely delicious! My favorite is the long noodles dish. We’re up for a good bowl of noodles in my house any day! Thanks for sharing all of these Chinese New Year traditions 🙂
Annie @ ciaochowbambina says
Oh gosh – everything looks so good! I think I’d like to start with that Coconut Sticky Rice Cake…I’ve never had one! Yummy!!
Jen @ Baked by an Introvert says
Everything looks delicious, Alice! If I eat everything will I have the best luck? Because that just might happen!
I love this post Alice! Everything looks incredible and your noodles look absolutely delicious! Love Jeanette’s and Maggie’s recipes too! I can’t wait to see my family tomorrow and sit down to enjoy all of these dishes – my mouth is watering now seeing your round-up 🙂 Happy New Year to you and your family Alice! <3
Kelly, thank you so much for letting me feature your yummy spring rolls!!! Happy Chinese New Year!
Kevin (Closet Cooking) says
That’s a lot of tasty looking good luck!
The list looks great Alice! Your noodle dish looks amazing and I love all the recipes in this post. It’s a fund read for all the interesting facts behind the celebration of Chinese New Year! Sharing and pinning of course!
Thanks for including me in this post. Wish you and your family a Happy New Year! 🙂
Of course, Maggie!!! Thank YOU!!! I will be sharing this post a lot!!! Thank you again! and happy Chinese New Year!
Jeanette | Jeanette's Healthy Living says
Happy New Year Alice! Everything looks mouth watering delicious! Now, I have to figure out what I’m making this week.Thanks so much for including my Mom’s coconut sticky rice cake. It’s her favorite.
Thank YOU Jeanette!!! I’m going to try this recipe!! Will keep you posted!!
Shashi at RunninSrilankan says
Those dumplings are adorable and so perfectly done! My cousin’s wife isn’t Chinese but she also is in favor of tangerine and oranges as good luck symbols – always intrigues me how different cultures can have common threads!
Liz @ Floating Kitchen says
So many great dishes, Alice. And I learned a thing or two as well! Love this! XO
Marissa | Pinch and Swirl says
My goodness, what a line-up! I want to try everything!!!
Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits says
LOVE this list of foods we eat on Chinese new year! My mom always hands out red envelopes along with a mandarin orange with the stems and leaves still in tact. She claims there’s more good luck when the leaves are on there. Not sure if that claim’s been tested, but I won’t argue with that!
What a great round up of Chinese recipes — I’m totally craving some now at 9AM! Happy Chinese New Year, Alice! 🙂
All of these look amazing, I wish I was lucky enough to have all of them right now!
GiGi Eats says
LOVE ME SOME GOOD OL’ Lettuce wraps!!! I plan on filming an episode of GiGi Eats tomorrow that’s all about the breakfast lettuce wraps! 🙂 Hello GOOD LUCK to me! ha ha
Nancy @ gottagetbaked says
You totally nailed it with this post, Alice. I’m going to be eating most of these foods tomorrow night for CNY eve’s dinner. The Husband’s aunt also deep fries goodies like shrimp chips and a sweet crisp cracker (the name of which I have no idea!). We also put little mandarin oranges on our desks in the house. That’s supposed to be good luck too!
Kathleen | HapaNom says
All of these dishes look absolutely incredible! Those Long Noodles are totally calling my name. Happy Chinese New Year, Alice! 🙂
Justine | Cooking and Beer says
I absolutely ADORE this post, Alice! I’m sure I could eat all of these in one sitting and totally not be upset about it. 😉
Ashley | The Recipe Rebel says
This all looks incredible! Love the tip about keeping the noodles long!
If I knew someone was serving all these amazing dishes for their Chinese New Year party, I’d be begging for an invite! What a terrific roundup, Alice.
Lora @cakeduchess says
How I am craving a taste of every thing here!! I am in love with your dumplings, Alice. You’re tempting me so!! I loved to read about them being arranged in lines and not circles and that they should have more creases…so cool!!!!
I love this post Alice! All recipes sound amazing! Will try the rice balls soon!
Linda |Brunch with Joy says
Allice, all these recipes are so mouth-watering and I can’t wait to try each of these fabulous dishes. And yes, you’re invited to join our party!
Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice says
Wow all of these recipes look amazing, Alice! Such a beautiful roundup of dishes. Those long noodles look fantastic, and I’m kinda craving them for breakfast!
David @ Spiced says
Happy New Year, Alice! This is a solid round-up of awesomeness right here…I love it! And for the record, I am now craving those crazy awesome dumplings. Do dumplings go well with coffee? 😉
Melanie @ Carmel Moments says
Look at all this tasty food! I would love to just sit down to a buffet filled with this goodness.
Happy New Year Alice! 🙂
Allie | Baking a Moment says
Oh, Alice I just love this! It is so much fun to learn about these traditions, the history and significance is just so rich! All of these dishes sound so wonderful- now I really wish I could celebrate the new year with you!
Shawn @ I Wash You Dry says
What a great collection of recipes and information about Chinese New Year! Love it! 🙂
Can I come to your house to celebrate? You’ve got all the good stuff! I can’t believe how amazing everything looks!
Happy New Year Alice!! 🙂 Everything looks fabulous! When I was in Scotland for my masters, 2 of my flatmates were Chinese and it was fun to see them celebrate the new year!
Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch says
Everything looks SO good! I wish I had some of all of it! Delish!
Medha @ Whisk & Shout says
Oh yum! Both of those spring roll recipes look to die for 🙂
Shelby @ Go Eat and Repeat says
These recipes look fantastic! it gives me lots of new ideas!
Thao @ In Good Flavor says
Everything looks so good, but the spring rolls and sticky rice cake are making me swoon!