8 Most Popular Chinese New Year Food

Food is a very important part of Chinese New Year celebrations. People prepare many dishes during the day to day celebrations, and some of them have symbolic importance.

Here are 8 food that people commonly have during the festival with the best wishes of family union, being rich and long life.

01. Dumplings (饺子)

The most common food during Chinese New Year is dumplings, which is made of a piece of dough wrapped with fillings. The appearance of dumplings is close to the gold ingot (元宝, yuán bǎo), which is the currency used in Imperial China.

Eating dumplings in Chinese New Year represents wealth and gold ingots pouring in the new year. Some families may hide one or several coins in the dumplings, and the persons who get them are the luckiest persons in the new year.

02. Tang Yuan (汤圆)

Tang Yuan (汤圆, tāng yuán) is a ball of glutinous rice flour, which can have fillings like sesame paste, red bean paste, chopped peanuts or chocolate paste etc. The name of the dish is a homophone for union (团圆, tuán yuán) and eating Tang Yuan during the festival means the family happiness and reunion.

03. Fish (鱼)

The word of fish (鱼, yú) in Chinese has the same sound as the word of "surplus (余, yú)". Having fish during the Chinese New Year is a good wish to have surplus in the new year.

Not only people have the dish of fish in the New Year, people also write the words "年年有余 (nían nían yoǔ yú)" on spring couplets or pictures, which means to have surplus in every year.

04. Long-life Noodles (长寿面)

Noodles are the typical food for Chinese New Year and birthdays. Having noodles signifies a long life for whoever eat them. It is believed that the longer the noodles, the longer of the life will be, so it is very important not to cut them into short pieces when you cook or eat them.

05. Spring Rolls (春卷)

Spring rolls (春卷 chūn juǎn) are made of two words: spring and rolls. It was a seasonal food people eat in the spring. Having spring rolls during Chinese New Year means the beginning of the spring season. Because the appearance of spring rolls look like gold bars, having spring rolls during the new year also means being wealth.

06. Glutinous Rice Cake (年糕)

Glutinous Rice Cake (年糕, nián gāo) is also known as rice cake, or New Year's cake, it is made of sticky glutinous rice, and it is one of the popular food during the new year in many places in China.

The sound for the glutinous rice cake (年糕) in Chinese is the same as the English words of "High" or "Grow". Having glutinous rice cake during the festival is to wish being "higher and successful" in every aspects like career, income, health every year.

07. Lettuce (生菜)

Lettuce (生菜, shēng cài) in Chinese has the same sound as the fortune (生财, shēnɡ cái). Having the lettuce (usually lettuce wraps) during the festival symbolizes being rich in the new year.

08. Fat Choy (发菜)

During Chinese New Year, people say greetings of "恭喜发财 (gōng xǐ fā cái)", which means "wishing you prosperity". The sound of the last two characters (发财, fā cái) is the same as the sound of Fat Choy (发菜, fà cài), and for this reason, Fat Choy (发菜, fà cài) is a popular ingredient in Chinese New Year dishes, symbolling to stuck it rich in the new year.

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