Chinese New Year Food

During Chinese New Year, the most important activity is eating, eating and eating. Traditionally dinner is usually a feast of seafood and dumplings, symbolising prosperity and good wishes. Each dish has special meaning like prawns mean liveliness and pleasure; dried oysters mean all things good in life, raw fish will usher in good luck and prosperity.

There are so many dishes served on the tables, the following are the most popular ones:

Dumplings or Jiao Ji

Dumpling is a very popular dish in northern China. Dumplings in boiling water mean a long-lost good wish for a family.

New Year Cake

New Year cake is a very important sweet dish for CNY. It is a solid cake made with glutinous rice flour together with some sugar. There are many ways to cook the cake, you can steam it or fry it. Cake is similar to “Gao” in Chinese, which means higher.

Laba Porridge

The porridge is a mixture of rice, nuts, and beans cooked together. It is usually served at the LaBa festival, which is the eighth day of the twelfth lunar month. This month is usually the coldest month of the year, is commonly referred to as Laba. After that day, it is not long until the Spring Festival and so preparations for the big celebration soon begin. People from Southern China don’t have this tradition.

Rice Balls or Tang Yuan

Tan Yuan is another sweet dish for new year. Tang Yuan is small ball made from glutinous rice flour. Glutinous rice flour is mixed with a small amount of water to form balls and is then cooked and served in boiling water (“Tang” in Chinese). Tang Yuan can be either filled or unfilled. It is traditionally eaten during the Lantern Festival (the last day of Chinese New Year). Because the shape of Tang Yuan is round (“Yuan” in Chinese), it symbols “Whole piece without missing part” from the family and career prospective.


Fish is an indispensable dish on the New Year dinner. Fish in Chinese pronounces as ‘Yu’, which means surplus. In China, there is a blessing greeting as ‘Nian Nian You Yu’, which means ‘May you have surpluses and bountiful harvests every year.’