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.
Here are some more great Chinese New Years posts:
Wishing everyone a very happy and prosperous Chinese New Year!!!