Posted 04 Feb, 2021
Traditional Chinese New Year Meal Ideas
The Chinese New Year is filled with tradition and symbolism, and also with food! So much amazing food. Foods that are considered lucky, foods that are said to bring good fortune, foods with names that sound similar to other positive words – there are a multitude of reasons for different dishes to be included in your Chinese New Year’s feast. The challenge is finding a balance between having an abundance of food with ample variety and not going so overboard that you have more leftovers than even the most bountiful new year can handle.
There are as many variations on traditional Chinese New Years meals as there are different regions that celebrate it, but to help you with your own lunar new year feast we’ve put together a list of some of our favourite dishes for you to choose from. Discover some new, delicious dishes and rediscover some of your old favourites this year. We’ve divided up our list of recommended dishes by appetizers, meat and poultry dishes, fish dishes and desserts.
Spring rolls are usually eaten during the Spring Festival (which is another name for New Years) in China, which explains the name. Eating spring rolls welcomes the arrival of spring, and the shape of them is reminiscent of gold bars, which symbolizes wealth.
These are a personal favourite, and very easy to prepare. They only need to be fried in oil to puff up and turn into a delicious treat for the new year, but they are a specialty item that needs to be bought in advance. If you can find them at your local asian grocer we highly recommend you pick them up for your spring festival meal.
Meat and Poultry Dishes
Tangerines are a very popular ingredient during the new year because they symbolize auspiciousness, since the word for “orange” sounds like the word for success in Chinese, and the word for “tangerine” sounds like the word for luck. They’re also delicious, adding both sweetness and a nice zing to the beef and working wonderfully with some heat from the chilis.
A beautiful dish of oversized meatballs with bok choy “manes”, this dish makes you think of a lion, which represents power and strength, and is also incredibly delicious!
It’s best to cook a whole chicken for the new year, if possible, since it symbolizes prosperity, togetherness, and completeness. But we’re going to suggest a simpler recipe here, and provide you with the option to make something slightly less traditional but just as delicious.
There are a lot of ways to make fish for the spring festival. We’ve picked out a great recommendation to get you started, but don’t feel like you have to go with this recipe in particular. Just make sure that when you choose your fish you get two whole ones so that you can have leftovers the next day to promote prosperity.
Tang yuan is a kind of round dumpling made of glutinous rice flour and filled with sugar and ground nuts. It’s slippery and chewy on the outside and sweet and nutty on the inside. Delicious!
Deep fried sesame balls are made of sticky rice flour dough and filled with a sweet paste, usually lotus paste or red bean paste. Then they’re rolled in sesame seeds and fried until they’re crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.