Traditional Lunar New Year dishes are not only delicious, but are also eaten for their symbolic meaning. Lucky foods are served during the festival season, especially on New Year's Eve and New Year’s Day, which is believed to bring good luck in the coming year.  The most common foods enjoyed for Chinese or Lunar New Year include rice cakes and balls, fish, chicken, dumplings, noodles and citrus fruits. The symbolism of these traditional Lunar New Year foods is based on their pronunciation or appearance. Also, the way these dishes are prepared, served and eaten all have a very important meaning. Below is a list of some of the traditional new year dishes for you to create at home or try at a local restaurant.


For over 1800 years, Dumplings have been a staple in Asian diets. They are especially popular on New Year’s Eve, as they represent money and prosperity to many people. Dumplings come with an assortment of fillings, each with their own special meaning. Those filled with cabbage or radishes are said to grant one a good mood in the year to come. Sauerkraut filling is to be avoided, or one can expect a difficult future. Legend has it that the more dumplings one eats during the New Year celebrations, the more money one will make in the New Year. 



Spring rolls get their name from the Spring Festival, which is when they are traditionally prepared and served. Fillings include meat, vegetables or sweets that are wrapped in thin dough and then fried, giving the spring rolls their golden-yellow color. A traditional wish for "a ton of gold" is often made before sharing or serving these delicious rolls. 


Longevity noodles symbolize a wish for a long life. They are longer than normal noodles and by being uncut they symbolize the long life of an eater.  The noodles are enjoyed fried and served on a plate, or boiled and served in a bowl with their broth. However you choose to serve yours, take care not to cut them or shorten them in any way.



In some Asian countries, glutinous rice cakes, known as “Niangao”, are eaten as a way to ensure professional success and prosperity in the new year and to wish the same for others. This dish is also a popular choice for school children to celebrate with their classmates. While there are several variations of this popular dish, glutinous rice cakes are typically made with sticky rice, chestnuts, dates, sugar and lotus leaves.


Lunar New Year 2015 Flyer


Citrus fruits such as tangerines, oranges, and pomelos are popular treats during the Lunar New Year because they are considered very lucky. The fruits' juiciness and sweetness are symbolic of wealth, prosperity and bounty. They are also easily split and shared among friends. The more of them you eat during the new year celebrations, the luckier you’ll be in the year to come. Citrus fruit displays are also considered to be very auspicious, so pile them high in decorative bowls and place them around your home to usher in good luck.


In Chinese, the word for fish sounds much like the word for surplus. For that reason, fish are a popular part of new year feasts. Steaming the fish is the most popular method of preparation, however, some prefer to boil or braise their fish. Fish pickled with cabbage and spicy chilies is another delicious option. Traditionally, the fish dish is served last as a way to start the year off properly.


Sweet rice balls known as Tangyuan (tang-yoo-an), are the main dish for the new year's Lantern Festival, and are also eaten during the Spring Festival. The pronunciation and round shape of these delicious desserts are associated with family reunions and spending time together, which makes them a favorite during the Lunar New Year celebrations.