Must-Have Chinese New Year Foods

Must-Have Chinese New Year Foods


24 January 2017


Time to go cold turkey on Christmas celebrations as we welcome the Year of The Rooster with auspicious dishes. The Chinese are known for their love for playing on words and symbols and this applies to their food as well.

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The foods listed below hold great meaning; from the way they’re prepared, the manner they’re served and how they are eaten. Read on find out what you should be chowing down this Chinese New Year.

For New Beginnings and Good Fortune

Jiaozi or dumpling is the most symbolic and significant food for Chinese New Year because it means bidding farewell to the old as we usher in the new. It is traditionally prepared as a family and eaten at midnight of New Year’s Eve. For a more auspicious presentation, wrap the dumplings like an ingot to look like gold. The dumpling is a sign of good luck and prosperity all year long!

For Good Family Relations and Harmony

The sweet rice balls or ‘tang yuen’ are usually presented in a soup, and traditional fillings include sesame paste, red bean or peanuts. The roundness of the glutinous rice balls signifies a complete circle of harmony and unity within the family.

For Longevity

Longevity noodles unsurprisingly symbolise longevity. The preparation and length of the noodles signify the wish of the person consuming the dish for a long life. For those who wish to live a healthier and longer life - slurp up!

For Abundance

The symbolic meanings of 'fish' throughout Chinese traditions are endless. The identical sound of the word 'fish' to other words such as 'extra' and 'surplus' have made fish a fundamental component in the Chinese New Year dinner celebrations. A pro tip is to serve your fish with the head and tail intact, ensuring a good start and end to the year! And always place the head towards honoured guests and elderly as a sign of respect. 

For All-Round Blessing

The tray of togetherness is a red circular or octagonal shaped platter with either six or eight compartments, as the Chinese believe that the number six symbolises luck, and the number eight symbolises fortune. Each compartment is filled with snacks symbolising various auspicious blessings. Candy for family harmony, peanuts for longevity, seeds for fertility, and so on.

For Luck and Opulence

Tangerines and oranges are displayed throughout Chinese New Year and given as gifts. These citrus fruits symbolise wealth and luck, as the bright colours of the fruits ignite the extra spirit of the celebration.

When it comes to celebrating Chinese New Year, encourage the entire family to get involved to make preparations easier and for a great bonding session. But most importantly, enjoy the holiday and your time together!

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