7 Chinese New Year Foods that will Bring You Good Luck
Mention Chinese New Year food, dumplings, fish, glutinous rice balls, and niangao may come into mind. Food plays an important role in Chinese New Year and certain foods which have symbolic meanings of luck and auspiciousness are especially popular and essential during the festival. Here are 7 Chinese New Year Foods that will bring you good luck. Every dish has its symbolism deeply rooted in Chinese culture, and expresses people's good wishes for a new year.
Chinese New Year Dumplings – Wealth
Dumplings are often eaten on the New Year’s Eve for its Chinese name ‘jiaozi’ has a meaning of changing of years.
– symbol of wealth for its shape like an ancient Chinese gold ingot.
– Lucky coins will be hidden in dumplings and someone who discovers them can get the best of luck and great wealth in the coming year.
Different fillings of dumplings have different meanings:
– Celery, qincai in Chinese, means hardworking leads to wealthy life.
– Leek, jiucai in Chinese, means everlasting affluence.
– Cabbage, baicai in Chinese, refers to a hundred ways of making a fortune.
Chinese New Year Fish – Surplus & Fortune
Fish has its Chinese pronunciation as ‘Yu’, which means surplus and fortune. So there is a blessing speech as ‘Nian Nian You Yu’ in Chinese which means that ‘May you have surpluses and bountiful harvests every year.’ What’s more, in ancient China, fish was also regarded having a function of exorcising.
Different kinds of fish represent different meanings:
– Chinese mud carp: Its Chinese name ‘li’ means gifts, so eating it can bring people good luck and blessing.
– Crucian carp: Its Chinese name ‘ji’ means very good fortune.
– Catfish: The Chinese name is ‘nianyu’, literally meaning 'year surplus' and standing for a rich life.
Some rules of eating fish in Chinese New Year:
1. Don’t turn over the fish after you have finished eating one side. In Chinese culture, it means unlucky.
2. To show respect, the head of fish needs to be placed toward elders or distinguished guests.
3. In southern China, some people just eat the middle part of the fish on the New Year Eve, leaving the head and tail to the next day to symbolize completeness.
Learn to Make:
West Lake Fish in Vinegar Gravy
Glutinous Rice Balls (Tangyuan or Yuanxiao) – Family Reunion
There are two kinds of Glutinous Rice Balls:
– Tangyuan in south China: Make the wrappers first, fill in the stuffing, and then knead them into balls.
– Yuanxiao in north China: Filling is divided into small balls first, and put into a sifter with flour. Shake the sifter to let the flour stick onto the balls.
Chinese New Year Noodles – Longevity
Flavor: salty; some sour and spicy
Wontons – Wealth and Treasure
Spring Rolls – Wealth and Fresh Start
Fresh vegetables or ingredients in spring time are wrapped inside and people eat it to welcome a new spring. Now it has also become a dessert in some places in the reunion dinner.
Flavor: both sweet and salty
Glutinous Rice Cake (Niangao)– Rise in Career and Salary
Widely eaten in different parts of China, it is made of glutinous rice powder but varies in ingredients and flavors – jujube Niangao and white Niangao in Beijing, yellow rice cake in Shanxi, water mill rice cake in Ningbo, Guangdong Niangao with brown sugar, and fried Niangao with ribs in Shanghai.
Flavor: both sweet and salty