As the Lunar year draws to a close, and families begin to prepare for the welcoming of the Year of the Ox, we’ve decided, this year, we need as much luck as we can.
So to sweep out the bad luck and to welcome in the new, we’ve curated a list of 8 (a lucky number in Chinese culture), delicious dishes you have to have on Lunar new year eve.
1. Dumplings (and coins)
A classic, you have to eat dumplings on Lunar New Year Eve. But, some may not know about the cheeky tradition of hiding a coin in a dumpling when you are making it.
The person who finds or bites into the coin is deemed to be extra lucky this year!
Why are dumplings considered ‘lucky’ in general? The shape of a dumpling is similar to gold ingots, which symbolises wealth.
2. Longevity Noodles
The longer the noodles, the longer the life! Well, that’s what they say anyway. Longevity noodles are longer than normal noodles as they are ‘uncut’.
Add your favourite broth, or toss it in some sauce and you’re good to go!
3. Assorted Candy & Nuts
As the family gather’s round to their wealthy Aunt’s house there will no doubt be a red tray of Chinese New Year candies to share around.
If you haven’t seen these before, just know, that every type of candy found inside the tray has a meaning!
Each tray will contain the following:
- Candies (red pocket or White Rabbit candies as seen above) symbolises the sweetness of life
- Sugared coconuts represent strong family ties
- Sesame balls represent happiness
- Kumquats symbolise prosperity
- Sugared lotus roots symbolise fruitfulness
- Sugared lotus seeds represent fertility
- Peanuts symbolise longevity
- Sugared winter melons mean good business
- Roasted sunflower seeds represent good fortune
- Gold chocolate coins also represent good fortune
4. Steamed Fish
The saying “年年有余” (Niánnián yǒu yú) translates to “May you always have more than you need”. The word for fish in Chinese is 鱼, which is also pronounced, yú.
Now, if you put two and two together, you realise, puns are elite during Lunar New Year celebrations.
But, it doesn’t end there – the way you eat the fish is crucial during Lunar New Year Eve.
Here are a few rules so you don’t offend the Aunties and Uncles:
- The head of the fish needs to be placed towards elders as a sign of respect
- The person facing the head of the fish is the first to eat at the table
- Leave the bones, tail and head intact at all costs – it represents the year will be a winner all year round!
5. Nian Gao
Nian Gao, which translates to Year Cake in Chinese is a sweet sticky rice cake. Often served by pan-frying with a little bit of egg.
It’s a delicious chewy sweet treat that all the kids and adults love. You can’t fault it!
Nian Gao symbolises a higher income, position, or if you’re a kid, wishing you to grow tall and strong.
6. A Whole Chicken
Serving a whole chicken on Lunar New Year symbolises wholeness and prosperity.
There are many ways to eat chicken on Lunar New Year, baked or roasted with soy sauce, steamed or boiled in broth. The choice is yours!
7. Tang Yuan
Tang Yuan. Glutinous rice balls either plain, or filled with black sesame, red bean or peanut paste. Black sesame filling is our personal favourite, but they are all delicious really.
Having Tang Yuan on Lunar New Year symbolises togetherness and the gathering of families.
8. Turnip Cake
Turnip cake is a classic Yum Cha dish, however, it is also commonly eaten during Chinese New Year as it represents good fortune.
Slightly crisp on the outside, and delicious dried shrimp flavour on the inside. Yum!