6 Dishes for a Lucky Lunar New Year

Article by: Jennye Garibaldi|@jennyegee

Thu February 16, 2017 | 11:00 AM

Chinese New Year is a celebration built upon a solid foundation of tradition, with a hefty dose of superstition thrown in for good measure. But it’s not all firecrackers (said to keep the mythical beast Nian away) and red envelopes (a color that is believed to bring luck and ward off evil spirits). Chinese New Year is a time of economic vitality and renewal, which comes in the form of feasting with family.

Here are six traditional Chinese dishes that will hopefully bring you prosperity in the New Year.

Kung Hei Fat Choy!

Nian Gao

Lunar New Year 2007 Wendy Flickr Creative Commons

This traditional steamed rice flour cake is flavored with almond extract and brown sugar. Eating it is rumored to bring you good luck, so don’t turn down dessert this New Year!

Long Beans

Lunar New Year 2012 Twisted String Knits Flickr Creative Commons

As far as symbolic food goes, this one is a no-brainer: long beans = long life. This tasty recipe is easy to make and pairs well with the other savory dishes on this list.

Tangerines and Oranges

Lunar New Year 2009 Kenny Louie Flickr Creative Commons

A staple in any Chinese household, these citrus fruits are said to bring happiness, abundance, and when the leaves and stems are intact, fertility. No recipe needed; place a brimming bowlful on your table for an edible—and lucky—centerpiece.


Lunar New Year 2010 Mills Baker Flickr Creative Commons

Like long beans, noodles are representative of longevity. While hand-pulled are always delicious, store-bought will also do the trick in this recipe . Superstitious tip: don’t cut the noodles! This will cut your chances of good luck.

Whole Chicken

Lunar New Year 2009 Alpha Flickr Creative Commons

As Chinese New Year is a time to celebrate and feast with family, it’s no surprise that a whole chicken would be symbolic of togetherness. Bonus: if you have any leftovers, it makes for a delicious Chinese chicken salad the following day.

Whole Fish

Lunar New Year 2008 Gan Med64 Flickr Creative Commons

Whole fish is a symbol of abundance, but there’s a method to eating this dish : Eat half the fish on Chinese New Year, and save the other half for the next day. Abundance, achieved. (Oh, and we suggest using real fish, not the kind pictured above.)

Don't forget the fortune cookies!