Chinese New Year, which is based on the lunar calendar, is an occasion steeped in rich traditions and meaningful celebrations. However, the Chinese don’t turn to resolutions to change their futures, they turn to food! During Chinese New Year celebrations, each specific food you eat is said to bring specific types of good fortune in the coming year.
For this Chinese New Year, which marks the Year of the Goat (or sheep—whichever you prefer) and begins on February 19th, try some of these delicious dishes to help make your wishes come true.
Noodles: Long Life
We all want to be forever young, right? Could noodles be the missing key to eternal youth? Probably not (sorry, Jay-Z), but according to Chinese tradition, noodles might help extend your time on Earth. Especially when served uncut—long noodles represent a long life. Tradition mandates that they be served to the eldest members of the family first. For a quick, easy and healthy noodle dish, try: Weeknight Noodle Stir Fry
Spring Rolls: Wealth
This appetizer, when cooked to golden perfection, is said to resemble a gold brick and therefore brings wealth in the coming year. Bonus: Cabbage, a popular filling in spring rolls, is said to bring you extra wealth. While most spring rolls are vegetarian, we suggest you try these Chicken and Vegetable Spring Rolls for a filling and unique start to your meal!
Are you on the pursuit of happiness? Then it might be time to stretch your culinary taste buds a bit and try duck. For duck served in its most famous Chinese form, look no further than roasted Peking duck. Here’s a lighter twist the classic: Asian Duck Salad with Watercress and Georgia Pecans
Chicken: Family Unity
There’s nothing quite like coming home after a long day to a peaceful house—no fighting, the kids are doing their chores, and your spouse offers a foot rub just because it’s Tuesday. Does that sound nice to you? Then consider serving chicken for your Chinese New Year meal. For a simple meal that the whole family is sure to enjoy, try General Tse’s Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken.
Fish: Surplus & Prosperity
The word “fish” in Chinese sounds very close to the word “abundant.” Fish is the most common food eaten on the Chinese New Year as almost everyone wishes for prosperity and surplus. Traditionally, fish is to be served with the head and tail in tact—but if you’re not feeling quite that adventurous, try this delicious Asian-inspired dish instead: Honey Glazed Salmon with Ginger
Eating pork for the Chinese New Year will bring you extra strength in the coming year and there are lots of ways to prepare your pig. However, if you’re ready for something a little special and extra delicious, try these Chinese Spareribs.
A cornerstone in Chinese cuisine, rice often symbolizes the link between man and the gods. During the Chinese New Year, however, rice takes on another symbol and is said to bring you extra luck. For a fabulous rice dish with a rich twist, try Enlightened Fried Rice.
Dumplings: More Wealth
Served pan-seared or boiled, these delicious treats are always a crowd pleaser. Many Chinese people choose to put a coin into one dumpling before cooking—whoever gets the dumpling with the coin in it will be the wealthiest in coming year! Whether you are looking for another fortune-brining appetizer or a main-course-worthy portion, try these Chinese Pork and Vegetable Dumplings for a little extra pocket change this year.
Lettuce Wraps: Family Prosperity
Hoping to grow your family this year? Or maybe you’re just hoping for an all around good year for everyone? Try a lettuce wrap. This light food has gained popularity in the US in recent years and can be served in a variety of ways. For a more traditional wrap, try these Chinese Lettuce Wraps.