Chinese new year is one of the most common and yet major holidays in the Chinese calendar. This is because so much goes on at this time; there is dressing up, there’s gifting, coming together as a family, but most importantly, there are foods for this day.
They make the feast with all the special foods for all family members to enjoy during this day.
So it doesn’t matter where you are global; it’s vital to come back and join in the feast during the Chinese new year.
Everything we do at this time of the year is of significance. Holding the feast as a family brings together all the family members from different parts of the globe.
We also present our ancestors and gods with gifts hoping to have good luck in this new year.
China has been in the books as one of the countries with the richest and best cuisine globally. During the lunar year, you will have all the different kinds of food you may need.
This article is bringing to you some of the very best meals you expect during this festival.
- Chinese shrimp cakes
- Fried prawn crackers
- Fried shrimp balls
- Turnip cakes
- Chinese lettuce wraps
- Chinese tea eggs
- Egg drop soup
- Steamed fish
- Sweet rice balls
- Longevity noodle
- Nian ago
- Whole chicken
- Spring rolls
- Hot pot
- Sweet and sour pork
- Vegetarian stir fry
- Candy and sweets
- Eight treasure pudding
- Tray of togetherness
- Prosperity cakes
- Fruit platter
- Yee sang and Chinese new year feast
- Mapo tofu
- Chinese steamed buns
- Char siu
- Crispy roast pork belly
- Chinese sausage fried rice
- Plain rice
- Kung pao shrimp
- Sichuan boiled fish
- Yee sang
- Fish maw Napa cabbage soup
- Chinese honey chicken
Just like any other day or festive season, appetizers are a must-have for the different meals.
They keep you filled up, especially during the different activities.
1. Chinese shrimp cakes
I start with the shrimp cakes just because they will be pleasing to adults and children alike. The use of the shrimp or the prawns make all the difference in that you will earn the leanest and yet most delicious meats to use.
It happens that it’s low fat and yet delicious, so you won’t have the guilt when eating it, you know.
You will have it work and be perfect, especially when you set it on the pantry. It’s one of the guilt-free choices of meals you can use.
So the best thing then is to make sure the shrimp paste is perfect. Then, check the recipe for ideas to check on how to go about it.
2. Fried prawn crackers
We sometimes refer to this as the shrimp chips, and of course, this is popular during the new year celebrations. I know kids like them the most, especially when you play around with the colors, remember. You may not have some of the snacks, but you won’t miss it just because it’s even easier to make.
Of course, they are mostly made to please the kids, but I can tell you that today even an adult like me still loves them. The preparation is also fun and won’t take much time; just make sure in the morning of the new year, then you have them around. You will like the recipe for being easy to make.
3. Fried shrimp balls
Enjoy the crispiness with the crunchy texture of the balls that you will eat as an appetizer. It’s more of a Cantonese style of dim sum you can use as a great to use appetizer.
The amazing thing, though, is that you just need to make the shrimp paste fast. Once it’s ready, you will roll it into a ball, and then you just fry it. It’s one of the easiest to make appetizers that you will ever have. With this dim sum, you can never go wrong making it. Check out the recipe for ideas.
4. Turnip cakes
You can use this as an appetizer or even dessert, and it’s one of the meals you want to have during such major days of your life. Notice though that it’s plain to look at, but it will deliver a burst of flavors. Notice though you will have a crispy exterior with a soft interior.
Of all things, I do enjoy the umami flavors, the texture, and the addition of the meats into the turnip cakes. So you will blend them with the different meats as well. This recipe will guide you to making it a perfect style of turnips.
5. Chinese lettuce wraps
This is more of a starter for the meals than it is an appetizer. When making it, we just make sure you have enough pork and chicken in the wraps. It usually has the brown sauce slathered on to enrich it and thus give it savory flavors.
You will enjoy the vegetable flavors too that come in the form of lettuce. It’s one of the healthiest choices of meals you can have, and it preps you for the best and yet delicious meal you are going to eat. So here, you have the perfect recipe that will serve you right.
6. Chinese tea eggs
Here is yet another of the most common snacks and appetizers you can use during the new year. In simple terms, it’s just a simple style of hard-boiled egg that they set in flavored tea.
So this is not going to be your regular boiled eggs rather a flavored style when you walk into your different homes during the new year. Its further one of the easiest methods to use in making a simple egg snack. With such an easy recipe to use, you could easily make it at home.
7. Egg drop soup
The only reason anyone will want to make the soup is that it’s easier to make the soup, and it takes a much shorter time to do than most other Chinese meals.
But, again, you only need a few ingredients to make it, which means you could already have the ingredients in your pantry.
The best thing is that you will have the comforting soup in a little while and at the comfort of your home. Find out more from the recipe.
Chinese New year meals with meaning
8. Steamed fish
When you have the Chinese major festival, it’s almost inevitable that you will have fish served and particularly the whole steamed fish. This is because there’s a belief that the fish is a sign of prosperity. Start from the fact that the Chinese name for fish sounds like prosperity, and who wouldn’t want prosperity when coming into a new year.
The fish is, to begin with, a new year traditional meal that you will mostly have during dinner. So, for us, it’s vital to have a surplus at the end of the year. This indicates that at least you saved something at the end of the year, and going into the new one, you will have only the best.
China is home to different styles of fish, and they get to choose from the different options they already have. Notice, though, that they will always prefer the following styles of fish.
Crucian carp: they say the Chinese word for this same fish sounds like good luck, and on the new year, everyone is looking for good luck. It only means they will bring good luck for the following year.
Catfish: they will mostly also eat the catfish, which sounds like the year of surplus. So then you are praying for surplus in the new year when you use this fish.
Generally, you can eat any fish as long as it signifies surplus good fortune or good luck. If you want you can eat even two types of fish.
Basically, in mandarin then the fish is pronounced as YU to mean leftovers. This is a call for an abundance of food and wealth from the year to the next.
How to eat the fish during the new year
Notice that you should eat the fish as the last part of the dish. Therefore, you have it being the only meal left with other leftovers, and you will have to eat it anyway. Remember, though, that you will only eat the head and the tails of the fish at the beginning of the year. So then, this is the expression where we say that the year starts and finishes with a surplus.
When eating it, though, remember to set the head facing the guest. Also, you will need to wait for the guest to eat the fish first; only then can you also eat it.
Although the one we chose here is steamed and one of the most common cooking methods, you can cook fish differently. If you like, then you can boil or even braise it. People can even cook it with chili and cabbages. For the New year, though, consider this recipe.
9. Sweet rice balls
This is also what most people refer to as tangyuan, and it’s especially a major food during the lantern festivals. Nonetheless, if you are in south China, you will notice that most people eat them all through the springtime. When you pronounce the sweet rice balls in China, it also comes to mean togetherness.
In most cases, they serve the rice balls in some broth. They make it using rice flour, and they use the bean paste filling, and sometimes then they will even make the brown sugar or even honey. I mean, you can have the different fruits and nuts in this as fillings.
So, of course, you will have the balls, in this case being sweet, and they also use the boiling method to cook the rice balls. This shows that you are complete and or rather forming the togetherness. Check out this recipe for ideas on how to make it.
10. Longevity noodles
The noodles, in this case, are super long, and naturally, this means longevity in Chinese. What you should therefore remember when cooking them is not to cut them. During the festival, they were cooking them using the stir-frying method. The good thing, though, is that you can use it alongside all the different foods you, therefore, choose to use.
Generally, though noodles are a staple in Chinese cuisine, people will eat them in different methods. But for the new year, we have it precious as they signify longevity and greatness. In most cases, older people will want to eat it, but aside from that too they like to serve them during people’s birthdays.
So when you eat it for the new year, you are always looking forward to an easy year to come with everything flowing easily into place. Be informed that when you are taking this noodles, the longer they remain, the luckier you are for that year.
When serving them, you will find that they use broth or gravy as part of the meal. Notice that these, as usual, are longer than your regular noodles. So in most cases, you will have it served on a plate, stir-fried, or served in the broth. You will notice that we eat noodles at different times of the year. In fact, it’s hard to have a meal without noodles, but the one we are talking of in the Chinese new year is the type that is flexible and very long.
Notice that the elderly believe so much in eating it to lengthen their life. Also, you will notice people use longevity noodles during birthdays. These are the kinds of noodles where you aren’t supposed to cut them; eat them as long as they are; they bring blessings to a long life.
Notice that they also bring you the versatility for you to eat them with. And depending on what you blend it with, it will have different meanings for your new year. For example, when you eat them with the following, you should at least understand the meaning.
- Shrimps bring good fortune and wealth
- duck calls for loyalty
- lobster means the endless roll of money.
- Tofu brings to your family good fortune and happiness.
- Eggs signify good health and a big family.
These are the few options of the meals we know but note that they all have significant meaning. For example, check out one of the simple choices of noodles recipe to use.
There are different styles of dumplings, and of course, you don’t wait to eat them only during the new year. But note that it’s one of the must-haves for the new year. Dumplings have been the most favorite choices for ages. No wonder there are very many different types of dumplings. It’s one of the major new year’s favorite choices of meals you can eat. Also, it’s a popular meal across China and outside too.
Our legends have always insisted on the importance of enjoying the dumplings; the more dumplings you eat, the more money you will receive. It’s not only during the new year that we make the dumplings because you know the dumplings are a staple in our food. For the different yearly festivals, though, this is a must-have. Bottom line, the dumplings symbolize wealth and eat them whenever you’re a calling in wealth.
For the new year, notice that they will make many dumplings and you should consume as much as you like. The Chinese name for dumpling-Jiao refers to exchange at the midnight hour. So the name translates to the exchange between the old and the new year and, of course, to bring in more wealth. So you are welcoming the new year when you eat them.
Besides, you can use the different fillings for the same. Whether you want to use the meats, veggies, or fruits for the fillings is all fine, but it will deliver the best tastes and flavors for you. Different locations of the country, therefore, have different meanings with the fillings they use. The most common is where they insert a coin in the dumpling and whoever gets it knows that they will have a lucky year.
Now aside from eating it, there’s the joy in making the dumplings together as they bring you and your family safely together. Check out this dumplings Recipe.
For more happiness
Just like all the other places across the globe, shrimps are just as popular. When you eat this shrimps, then you will enjoy more laughter for the new year. They are the perfect combos of fortune and also the good luck too. Such is also versatile, which means you can also enjoy the shrimps over during the new year.
For the new year, then in eating then, they bring happiness to you new year. The good thing is that you will eat it in different ways, including having it wrapped in lettuce. If you also like you will use them with the regular side dishes like rice and the likes.
So you will have it roll, and then you use it with the different ingredients as part of the meals. You can make it as spicy as you need to, or better yet, mix it in with other ingredients. Try this recipe for ideas.
13. Nian Gao
This is what in English we refer to as rice cake. For the Chinese new year, you will never miss this kind of cake. Let’s just say it’s one of the lucky food. In the past, they offered the nian gao to the ancestors, but today we make them mostly during the spring festivals and the Chinese new year. So they are mostly available at any time of the year, but during the new year, it’s mandatory.
The name in Chinese then means that you’ll experience success and higher income or career each year after year. So in eating nian gao what you are saying is that every year will be better than the others. So for the different festivals, you will have this meal presented to represent a better year ahead. They will bring a high income and an even better career. Generally, it calls for growth into the professional aspects of your life.
They often use sticky rice, Chinese dates and lotus leaves, and Chestnuts. Notice that they will use either glutinous rice or yellow rice. You can make these rice cakes savory or sweet. The people of the north love it for being sweet, and they will often dip it into the sugar. So basically you will have it steamed too, and still, it will be a great choice of meals.
Do you want to grow taller, get a promotion at work, be better in your studies, eat Nian gao? And remember to check this recipe for ideas on how to make it.
14. Whole chicken
For wholeness and prosperity
Anyone who likes chicken knows the new year is when you eat it. You never miss it on the table. They say that it symbolizes family togetherness as well. So it’s the best choice when you are looking for the perfect choice of nutrients protein. You only need to serve a whole chicken for the family, and everyone will enjoy it. Generally, they don’t remove the head when they cook this chicken, and the claws remember it has its unique meaning.
This particular chicken then after we cook we have to offer it to the ancestors. Of course, when you pray to your ancestors, the Chinese culture is one of the major parts of the culture. We seek blessings and protection. To some traditions, chicken soup is the first major meal we eat during the Chinese new year.
It signifies peace, but then the workers of the house are also part of the house. They are supposed to eat the feet and claws to make sure they tap into the family wealth.
I love the chicken wings, and of course, in eating them, you will fly high. We also cook the eggs, egg yolk and egg white are like gold and silver, and they are the perfect gifts to give to your families. They allow you to cook it in different methods, but the steaming method is one of the major cooking styles.
15. Spring rolls
If you’re one of those looking for wealth, then this is yours to use and try. This is more common during the spring festivals. I know you may say, isn’t this egg rolls, and while you are right, they are also spring rolls. Most people eat them to celebrate the coming of the spring season.
The spring rolls will work for different needs, including an appetizer for dinner and even lunch meals. Notice that you can eat the spring rolls all around the year. The reason why you will find it on the table, though, is because of the name they have that signifies tons of gold, and you can reference that to wealth too.
Spring rolls are versatile, and you can cook them by deep-frying, steaming, and even baking. The size and the shape may vary from one point to another. They usually have the large flat circles or even the rectangle. Since ancient times, the emperor would serve his workers with a plate full of spring rolls and veggies. You’ll have it for the new year as well.
They make the filling using pork, cabbage seasoning, and shiitake too. In fact, you can also have the filing made using the red bean paste. This recipe is one of the easiest styles of recipe you could use.
16. Hot pot
During the Qing dynasty, one of the must-have meals for the festivals was hot pot, and to date, we still have it. In most cases, you will have the hot pot with the meat dish menu on the table for New Year’s Eve. Generally, you will have different kinds of foods for the hot pot, and all this is great as it can again feed the different family members.
This happens to be the most basic style of meal that you can cook at different times for the new year. It features the use of the bubbling pot as well as the plates of uncooked meat and veggies. So when seated then you will choose whatever you like to throw into the pot. Next, you have to wait for it to cook and then eat it.
Notice that for this one, part of the flavor is from the broth’s pot, but the difference will also be from the dipping sauce. People like to use it more because of its versatility, and of course, you can customize it to fit your needs. You may not know that you can add anything in this list to the hot pot.
This meal serves the new year event well, especially since it’s usually in winter, making it soothe you. In using the hot pot then you bring families together, and everyone is included. It’s the perfect union between kids and adults alike. They should have noodles, meats, and vegetables. With this Chinese hot pot recipe, you will host almost anything.
For wealth and treasure
This also makes it in the list of the lucky dishes. Although people enjoy them at different times, like dumplings, they are also available during the new year. It takes the shape of the Chinese silver ingot.
So in the Chinese language, it has the same pronunciation as Hundus, which means a new beginning.
Wontons are versatile; you can serve them in soup or on their own. People like them a lot more because of their silky texture. When you finally understand to make them, though, you will be surprised at how easy, delicious, and fast you can make them. Usually, they are warm, soothing but also light.
You could set it as one of the dumpling choices that you eat alongside different other meals. Check the recipe we have here for the perfect choice.
18. Sweet and sour pork
For the family enlargement
This is one of the most popular dishes you have in China again. If you would like to make a family with many grandchildren, consider eating this one in the new year. I mean, it’s a symbolic meal too. Of course, you will notice that they like to cook with the sauces, and yes, it’s all about making it nicely delicious.
This is also one of the easiest ones to use since you will need to cube the meats, and then you can marinate it for a few hours. This way then it will absorb the marinade before you start to cook it. People like such a meal because it’s versatile and you can use it when eating other side dishes like noodles and rice.
When you eat this one, you will notice that it blends the different unique flavors to create one unique flavor. Check out the recipe we have here for ideas.
19. Vegetarian stir fry
This is another one of the major meals that they use, especially when the family has so many vegetarians. Those who believe that no animal or fish should be killed on the first day of the year can use this. In eating the veggies, then you are going on to purify yourself.
Notice that it features a mix of different veggies with their unique significance. In most cases, they are just making the meal to enjoy a blend of veggies in the different sauces. I enjoy the crunch but also the value it adds to our bodies. Check out the recipe we have on here, though, for ideas.
20. Candy and sweets
For the sweetness in life
You will enjoy the different kinds of sweets these days. We set them on the table for people to snack on at different times of the day. If you have children, then you want to serve these options. They make them want to be there are all times. Notice, though, that this will give you the symbol of the sweet life.
Just remember to plan to have the different kinds of sweets before the event comes. I like to involve the kids in the arrangement of the sweets because they enjoy the process. So check out the recipe we have in this.
21. Eight treasure pudding
For the sweetness of the new year
Here, you also have the delectable treats, and they make them with sticky rice, and then they include other eight treasures. It has several seeds, nuts, and fruits mixed in. So when you are going to celebrate this holiday, it’s important to have the eight treasures for the new year celebration.
This meal is one of our most preferred options that will hold a special place in your family. Notice then that you will have it being sticky and gooey with the great aroma and its nuttiness. So generally, it will have three ingredients to make it the glutinous rice, toppings, and more fillings.
For the Chinese, the number eight is a lucky one, and it will mean you will have the sweetness all year round. So make sure you have it as part of the desserts to use. Here’s how to make the eight treasure rice pudding.
22. Tray of togetherness
For a sweet life ahead
This is another one of the major types that you will set on different sections to make sure you have all the different nuts and meals together. Usually, it has eight compartments and remembers we already told you that eight is a lucky number.
It usually contains nuts, candies, dried fruits, and more. In most cases, it also means they wish you prosperity and longevity. So what they usually do is to get the different kinds of dried fruits and nuts then arrange them as needed. So the tray remains colorful, yet you don’t have to spend much buying it.
The aim is to fill up the tray with several sweet treats. Of course, you can use the different nuts but also the sweets. The best part, though, is that you can make it at the comfort of your home if you like.
For fullness and wellness
You can comfortably use different fruits during the Chinese new year, but tangerine tops the list. You can also serve oranges and pomelos for the treat. Notice, though, that the ones you are going to use should be round and golden. This is a simple symbol of wealth and fullness.
So whether you are using oranges or tangerine, you should know that it can bring you good luck and good fortune. You see, the tangerine word in Cantonese also refers to good fortune, and this is why we enjoy eating it. The good thing, though, is that most of us enjoy the tangerine.
Usually, you will need to serve them after the meals, and then again you can exchange them with your relatives. Remember, the more you eat, the more the wealth you call in.
24. Prosperity cakes
Cakes are essential for the different celebrations, but in Chinese years, we have specific cakes called prosperity cakes. Here then, you have the steamed cakes that have the cracked tops. The more segments the cakes have, the more wealth and prosperity comes.
The cake’s name then will translate to prosperity cake, and it’s no wonder you will have more people opting to eat them. They are also what people refer to as fortune cakes as well. Generally, then you are sure it will bring good fortune during this year.
Usually, they will eat it as part of the last meal as well. So get your kids enjoying it but also your other family members to bring you great fortune.
25. Fruits platter
For good fortune
Like any other place globally, fruits are a major when it comes to Chinese meals. Different fruits in the world will symbolize fortune, wealth, health, and prosperity. Of course, you should set the different fruits on the platter, but we like to set grapes as part of the different fruits you need.
In some instances, the Chinese even offer the platter to their ancestors. You see, the platter has so many fruits that you will eat the ones you like. Then, of course, you can arrange them as you would like, but the essence is to make sure you enjoy the different well-being fruits.
26. Yee sang and Chinese new year feast
Here then, you have another one of the most common choices of a meal. It features the use of raw fish salad. Note that you have enough to make this salad if you have the raw fish and the lox but with the vegetable. This kind of salad, though, is what we refer to as the prosperity salad.
During such festivals, we tend to eat junky, but when you can toss in some fruits and veggies, you are good to go. I have made it a habit to prepare such meals choices for the new year, and you too can make them. Follow the recipe we have here for ideas on how to make it.
For fertility and growth of family
For the Chinese new year, the pomegranate is a major must-have. They do have a lot of seeds that also signify fertility. They also take the deep red color, which then makes it suitable for the family setup. They are the perfect solution to use when reaching for abundance and as an antioxidant and vitamin C.
Most people enjoy pomegranate juice, and of course, they even use it as a base for some of the most common alcoholic beverages. They will also be great to make the perfect garnish for your foods and desserts. The greatest part is that their seeds are rich and delicious, making them easy to enjoy.
Serve them as a cold dessert.
Other main dishes
28. Mapo Tofu
This is another traditional Chinese style of meal that’s popular among the Sichuanese. And people just like it because of its spicy nature. It features the use of ground meat and some nicely tender tofu. But in most cases, you will have the people cook these ingredients in very spicy sauces.
In most cases, you can serve this tofu style of a meal with rice and any other side dish of your choosing. It will always bring you good fortune. Check out the recipe here for ideas on how to make it.
29. Chinese steamed bun
This is by far one of the unique buns that look so easy to make, yet it takes some skills too. They are usually nice and light; then you eat them alongside the different other meals of your choice. If you like to, you can add fillings to make it even better and more than just the regular style of bread.
You will most likely have this mantou as part of the Chinese food in the new year just because you can eat it alongside other delicious meals. In addition, I like just how easy the recipe is to follow.
30. Char siu
This is basically a roast or barbecued pork meat that is also of Chinese origin. Consider serving this sweet, delicate, delicious, colorful pork alongside the other meals on the table.
One thing you’re sure to have is the depth of flavors in that it has both the salty and sweetness, but it usually has a hint of perfect deliciousness.
In most cases, they will pick the boneless pork, and of course, the secret is to make sure you cook it as it is without removing the fatty parts.
Then, when you want to make the most unique yet delicious choice, you need to make the enriching marinade just like they do in this recipe.
31. Crispy roast pork belly
Anyone who has made the pork belly knows that it’s not easy to get the tan let alone the color. However, if you do the preparations, then you will have it right in no time.
Generally, you aren’t making the regular pork belly because you want it to be crispy, and thus, you must pick the right pork.
Also, to reheat it when you want to is much easier, and it will get you making the perfect meal that may not finish at once. Check out the recipe we have here today for ideas on the best way to make this one.
32. Chinese sausage fried rice
One of the major meals this day is rice, but instead of just serving it as rice, you can go on and make it into a fried rice version. To make these delicious meals, you will need just a few ingredients, including sausage, eggs, onions, and some soy sauce.
This kind of rice is popular because it features a single pot to cook meals. So if you even have the leftover rice the morning after, you can make it into this fried rice to make it healthy and full of flavors as though it’s new.
With this, then you’re going to pack in nutrients and deliciousness of another greater level. So check out this recipe, and it will astonish you how easy you can make it.
33. Plain rice
You can use rice as a side dish to many of the meals you already have chosen. This is one of the major side dishes you will never lack because it goes with any veggie and protein.
Some people choose to make the sticky rice, but you can also choose it in the image. Plain rice is versatile and, therefore, the perfect choice too. When you want to make it at home, consider this recipe.
34. Kung pao shrimp
You can eat the shrimp in different ways of your choosing, and this is just one of the major methods you could use. Remember, shrimp is a lucky food when it comes to Chinese new year foods.
Shrimp will bring you good fortune but also wealth. So I like to make it keenly and even saucy, like most people who want just to choose the shrimp, eat them and be on their way out.
You will like the shine it has now, and it all comes from the homemade kung pao sauce we have already. With the veggies combo, then you have the perfect choice to make the perfect meal in no time. Check out the recipe for ideas on how to make the perfect shrimp.
35. Sichuan boiled fish
Another easy way to enjoy fish is to eat the boiled fish. Using it will have fish soup and the different ingredients, making the fish edible and nice tasting.
Such fish will warm your heart, making you enjoy the whole meal with the different side dishes. So when you’re making Chinese new year meals, make sure you try this style of fish.
Remember, fish is a major when it comes to the new year’s food. So check out the recipe we have here.
36. Yee sang
Chinese new year easy make salad is also on the table. Of course, salads are also part of our major meals, especially if we know it brings prosperity.
It combines many ingredients in the recipe, including carrots, cabbages, veggies, and many other veggies. As you are eating, try to include this in your meal ideas for the perfect balanced meals. Always check the recipe choice to make it your way.
37. Fish maw Napa cabbage soup
Here is yet another traditional meal you could try, and of course, it’s great to use with the Napa cabbages. You simply have one of the uniquely amazing soups you can use to entertain your guest.
If you are going to have the meal to entertain your guests, you should use the soup. It also makes the perfect soups for you to use with all of your meals. First, check out the recipe on how to make it, though.
38. Chinese honey chicken
Here then, you will have the perfect recipe to use in making one of the best chicken to eat alongside other meals like, let’s just say, the rice and many other noodles and recipes.
It will surprise you that most people, though, will find it easy to make the chicken meal since it’s a rich, delicious option too. I enjoy the saucy nature of the chicken as it makes it nicely tasty. Check out the recipe ideas here.