The Food: Everything You Need to Know About Chinese New Year

By Liam Francis 2018-12-20 23:26:08

Knives and forks at the ready

Many dishes eaten during the New Year period are chosen for their auspicious connotations due to their pronunciation or appearance. Their preparation and serving are also imbued with added significance and symbolism.

Spring rolls

Be sure to say “a ton of gold” while eating these popular seasonal appetizers, as these tasty golden bars are believed to bring prosperity.

Goat, mutton, and lamb

In the Year of the Goat, dishes using this meat become more popular, notably “san yang kai tai” or “three goats bring wealth”, which is both a tasty stew and a New Year saying.


Traditionally consumed during Lantern Festival, the pronunciation and shape of these sweet glutinous rice balls chime with the idea of reunion and togetherness.

Good fortune fruit

Symbolizing fullness and wealth, round, and “gold”, tangerines, oranges, and pomelos are traditionally eaten or displayed during New Year.


Legend has it that the more dumplings (prepared in the shape of silver ingots) you eat during the seasonal celebrations, the more money you will make in the New Year.


The name of this glutinous rice cake is sounds like “getting higher year by year”. It implies healthy child growth, grades, business success, and promotions.

Longevity noodles

These particularly long noodles are a popular dish, with their length indicating a long life. Care is taken not to prematurely cut them short while eating.


In Mandarin, the word for fish “yu” sounds like “surplus” and represents a desire for continued abundance. Fish dishes are served on New Year’s Eve, and are not finished until after the arrival of the New Year.