Get out your broom and sweep away the past: the Year of the Monkey begins February 8.
Lunar New Year is a time to gather with family, honor ancestors, and share a feast with foods that symbolize prosperity in the New Year. Join in and cook up lucky Lunar New Year recipes for your own celebration.
Most of the dishes served during Lunar New Year (also known as Chinese New Year and Spring Festival) are symbolic of something positive and hopeful.
Pork symbolizes strength, wealth, and blessings.
Chicken and fish symbolize happiness and prosperity—especially when served whole.
Noodles represent longevity, so leave them long and don’t cut them up to serve.
- Long Soup
- Tsao Mi Fun (Taiwanese Fried Rice Noodles)
- Spicy Tan Tan Soup (Tantanmen or Dan Dan Noodles)
Duck symbolizes fidelity, while eggs signify fertility.
Another popular Lunar New Year dish is jiaozi, dumplings boiled in water. In some areas of China, coins are placed in the center of jiaozi. Whoever bites into one of these dumplings will have an exceptionally lucky year.
Watch the video and get the recipe for Chinese Pork Dumplings
More dumpling recipes to try:
- Pot Stickers (Chinese Dumplings)
- Chinese Dandelion Dumplings
- Cantonese Style Pork and Shrimp Dumplings
Dishes are also chosen based on homonyms–words that either are spelled the same or sound the same as other words. Fish (yu) is served because it sounds similar to the Chinese word for plenty; whole fish represents abundance. Turnips are cooked because their name (cai tou) also means “good luck.”
Niangao — a steamed sweet cake made of glutinous rice — is a popular dessert for the new year, as it is a homonym for “higher year.” Try this baked version topped with sesame seeds, another good luck food:
Dishes made with oranges represent wealth and good fortune because they are China’s most plentiful fruit.
Bean curd or tofu, however, is avoided because its white color suggests death and misfortune.
Lunar New Year Celebration
You’ll know that the party has officially begun when you see people dressed in red and hear fireworks exploding in the street—both intended to scare off a legendary man-eating beast, Nian.
Host your own Lunar New Year party
Take part in the traditions, fun, and virtues of this important holiday.
- Help your kids make snakes and lanterns with colorful crepe paper, and hang them throughout your house.
- Make homemade fortune cookies and write creative fortunes to delight and amuse your guests.
- At the stroke of midnight, open your doors and windows to release the stresses of the old year.
- Discover more recipes for your Lunar New Year feast.
- Explore our entire collection of Chinese recipes.