Delightful Eats: The Best Chinese New Year Dishes for a Festive Feast

Delightful Eats: The Best Chinese New Year Dishes for a Festive Feast

Some dishes are very much liked during the Chinese New Year, each showing the color of tradition. One of the most anticipated days of the year is celebrated not only in China but also in numerous other Asian countries. It is also known as the spring festival. The season is marked by an ample variety of foods on the table.

During the Chinese New Year, lucky food is served, especially on New Year’s Eve. It symbolizes the desire for prosperity in the upcoming year.

Some Chinese New Year dishes carry specific symbolic meanings associated with luck, prosperity, and longevity while others are simply part of the traditional culinary routine.

Which traditional foods grace the table during the vibrant celebration of Chinese New Year? We’ve rounded up the best Chinese New Year dishes to consider for the upcoming Chinese New Year in 2024.

Best Chinese New Year Dishes:

1) Tangyuan / Yuanxiao:

Tangyuan is normally called by the southern Chinese, while northern Chinese call it Yuanxiao. In places like Shanghai and Jiangsu, it’s traditional to eat this dish on Chinese New Year mornings. In China, this dish has a very rich and long history. 

Tangyuan, a culinary gem, has graced tables since the Ming Dynasty, retaining its timeless charm to this day.

Tangyuan is typically made from glutinous rice flour and water, shaped into small round balls resembling the moon in the sky.

Lucky saying about tangyuan:

This dish symbolizes the propitious meaning of reunion due to its round shape, reflecting a wish for togetherness within the family.


2) Chinese Dumplings:

This Chinese dish has a rich history of more than 1,800 years. It is one of the widely popular and classic lucky foods for Chinese New Year. Eating dumplings on the lunar new year’s first day is a tradition followed by nearly every family in northern China. It’s a long-standing habit passed down from generation to generation.

Chinese dumplings are typically made of minced meat and chopped veggies that are wrapped in thin dough skin. It is typically eaten at midnight. 

The popular fillings of the dumplings are diced shrimp, minced pork, fish, beef, ground chicken, and veggies. This can be cooked in several ways such as frying, boiling, steaming or baking.

Lucky Saying about Eating Dumplings:

Eating this dish symbolizes good fortune in the new year, ushering in wealth and abundance. It’s an essential centerpiece on the dinner table in the north, irreplaceable by any other dish.


3) Fish:

Fish is known as one of the best Chinese New Year dishes on the dinner menu. It is good to have extra money or resources left over at the end of the year, according to Chinese culture. Their belief is that if they can save something at the end of the year, they will be able to earn even more in the coming year. It is the symbol of future success.

In Chinese culture, the fish is considered lucky to be the last one left on the table. Having the leftover fish symbolizes abundance in the coming year.

In various regions, the fish head and tail are specifically reserved for the first day of the lunar new year. This symbolizes the desire for a surplus throughout the entire year, from beginning to end.

Typically, fish is a common dish in our daily meals, but during the Chinese New Year, special emphasis is placed on the selection of fish types. Each fish represents unique symbolic meanings, adding significance to the celebration. 

One of the most popular Chinese New Year recipes is steamed fish. Nevertheless, to achieve auspicious homophonics, the choice of fish becomes paramount, offering a tantalizing blend of tradition and symbolism.

  • Chinese mud Carp: According to the Chinese people, eating mud carp is a symbol of auspicious wishes for good fortune.
  • Crucian Carp: Consuming crucian carp symbolizes inviting good luck for the forthcoming year.
  • Catfish: Eating catfish symbolizes a hopeful yearning for prosperity and abundance.

Lucky Sayings About Eating Fish:

Eating fish in the new year symbolizes success and prosperity. May there be abundance every year.


4) Sticky Rice Cake:

Sticky rice cake is known as the lucky good for Chinese New Year’s Eve. Chinese people believe that sticky rice means getting higher year by year. There is not only one recipe to make sticky rice cakes. Every place has its unique recipe whereas the main ingredients to make this cake are sugar, sticky rice, chestnut, lotus leaves, and Chinese dates.

In Fujian province, red and white sticky rice are very popular whereas, osmanthus sugar Sticky rice cakes in Suzhou, Shuimo Sticky rice cakes in Ningbo, Baiguo Sticky rice cakes in Beijing etc.

rice cake

Lucky Saying About Eating Niangao:

During the Spring Festival, sticky rice cakes are eaten as a symbol of good luck, prosperity, and positive changes in one’s life. They symbolize growth, progress, and advancement in various aspects of life. This tradition can imply aspirations for improvement in areas such as business success, children’s growth, career advancement, academic achievements, and other positive developments.

5) Spring Rolls:

The name of the spring roll is chosen because they are traditionally eaten in the spring season. Spring rolls are popular all over the globe, particularly in East China, including cities such as Shanghai, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Fujian, and more.

The popular filling of Spring rolls is meat, veggies, or something sweet. 

Spring rolls are typically fried with ingredients such as bean sprouts, shredded meat, leeks, shredded chicken, tofu, mushrooms, and more.

Then they’re wrapped in pancakes, symbolizing that goodness can endure from start to finish. Some Chinese places prefer fried spring rolls,

which resemble gold bars and are often seen as symbols of prosperity and abundance.

Lucky Saying About Eating Spring Rolls:

In Chinese culture, eating spring rolls is believed to bring good fortune and prosperity due to their resemblance to gold bars. The popular phrase associated with this belief is ‘A ton of gold,’ expressing the wish for prosperity in one’s life.

spring rolls


Enjoy enchanting flavors and traditions as the vibrant tapestry of Chinese New Year unfolds. From tangyuan to spring rolls, each dish serves as a symbol of prosperity and togetherness. Embrace not only the tastes but also the rich tapestry of culture they represent around tables adorned with these cherished delicacies. Wishing you a wonderful new start filled with tantalizing delights!

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