Chinese New Year is the most important traditional Chinese holiday of the year and this year happens to be the Year of the Dog! Many people have been busy preparing to usher in the new year from cleaning the house to sweep away all of the bad luck from previous years to decorating with red lanterns and firecrackers. Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, is the time to usher in incoming good luck and prosperity and gather together with families in celebration. While everyone has their own traditions in commemorating the holiday, the food is where many find their common ground. Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner is the most important gathering among family members and is not only a reunion but also a way of welcoming good fortune. From noodles to dumplings to spring rolls, all of the food eaten during this special dinner holds significant meaning and symbolizes prosperity, health and good luck. For this week’s blog post, we’ve gathered together ten auspicious traditional Chinese recipes that are sure to bring you great fortune in the new year to come. And for even more wonderful Asian-inspired ideas, be sure to check out our Chinese New Year recipe menu.
Fried spring rolls, also known as egg rolls, are an especially popular item during the New Year because of their resemblance to gold bars. They represent money and wealth and are the perfect excuse to eat plenty of these delightful fried goodies. This recipe is our take on a classic fried spring roll recipe with a pork, Napa cabbage, carrot and mushroom filling. Before Chinese New Year festivities kick off, make a big batch of these ahead of time or as a fun party idea, allow your guests to roll their own and eat them fresh.
Eating long noodles during Chinese New Year represent longevity. Noodles are such a staple during the celebration of the new year with so many different ways to enjoy them. Just remember, do not cut the noodles as the noodles are symbolic and represent the length of the eater’s life. This recipe calls for rice stick noodles but simply replace them with longevity noodles for a festive, auspicious dinner! Yu Choy Sum takes the spotlight in this dish and has a pleasantly bitter taste and can be steamed, boiled, or sautéed and topped with a little butter and salt and a squeeze of lemon.
This year, we’re adding to our list of lucky recipes with this Chinese Turnip Cake, also known as Lo Bak Go. Turnip cake is a delicious savory cake made from daikon, steamed and then pan-fried until golden and crispy on the outside. Although commonly found in dim sum restaurants, turnip cake is special during Chinese New Year because it symbolizes prosperity. Throw on a few slices of this simple yet scrumptious dish into a hot pan for breakfast and store the rest to eat all throughout the holiday.
While some may balk at the idea of serving chicken with the head, eating a whole chicken during Chinese New Year is especially important because it represents good health and family unity. When it comes to a family dinner, what could be more comforting than a roasted chicken? This special Cantonese Roast Chicken recipe, developed by Chef Martin Yan, is perfect for ushering in the Year of the Ox and will surely bring the family together.
Another must-have for the holiday are dumplings, also known as jiaozi. Dumplings are eaten in excess for breakfast, lunch and dinner because of their resemblance to gold and silver ingots and their representation of wealth and good fortune. While potstickers are usually filled with pork and shrimp, we’re going down a healthier route and stuffing them with Napa cabbage, organic carrots, shiitake mushrooms and more. These delicious little pockets of gold are incredibly simple to make and get crispy on one side and succulent on the other from being seared in a hot wok and left to finish steaming.
Another type of dumpling you may want to try during Chinese New Year are these mouthwatering fried wontons. Wontons differ from potstickers in their shape and texture as you can tell from the last photo. Preparing and folding wontons are incredibly easy and can be even made with the entire family as part of a fun tradition. This recipe by Chef Martin Yan utilizes Melissa’s Won Ton Wraps and features a delectable filling of shrimp and pork. While wontons are delicious boiled or in soups, they just may be even better fried, especially for any upcoming party.
Like noodles, eating long beans on Chinese New Year has come to represent leading a long life. Similar to regular green beans, long beans hold up quite well in high heat making them ideal for stir fry. A simple seasoning of minced garlic, green onions, fresh chile, soy sauce and sugar really helps to draw out the natural savoriness of the long beans. And double frying the beans helps keep them extra crunchy yet moist.
Lucky for you, Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps are not only healthy but also part of the traditional Chinese New Year foods. The word “lettuce” in Cantonese is similar to the words “rising fortune” and symbolizes prosperity. In turn, foods eaten in lettuce cups are popular at this time of the year. Though our Chinese Chicken Lettuce Cups look simple, they’re packed full of flavor with juicy, marinated chicken and a sweet and savory sauce. Say hello to the Year of the Dog with this tasty and symbolic dish and welcome in a fresh start!
Citrus season could not be a better time for Chinese New Year! Fresh tangerines are abundant this time of the year. With their round shapes and golden color, they symbolize wealth and prosperity. This Lucky Fruit Salad by Chef Martin Yan is a fun and delicious way to serve these fruits and gets extra flavor from a homemade zesty orange-lime dressing. Serve in a scooped-out coconut bowl for an extra festive decoration.
Chinese New Year is known for its many festive, symbolic dishes but we can’t forget about one of the best parts of the meal–dessert! Chinese Walnut Cookies, also known as Hup Toh So, are adorable bite-sized cookies that may be small in size but big in flavor. They’re not cloyingly sweet and instead, get a fantastic nuttiness from the generous amount of chopped up walnuts in the dough. Top them off with an extra walnut and you’ve got yourself the ultimate Lunar New Year cookie!