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12 Lucky Foods for Your Chinese New Year Feast

These Chinese New Year foods are said to help bring luck and good fortune. Here's a guide to their symbolic meanings.

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Chinese restaurant Chinese New Years celebration dinner meal with multiple courses and dishes served at the table. Lo Mein. Noodles. Beef Dish. Rice. Classic family style meal.rebeccafondren/Getty Images

In China and other Asian countries, Lunar New Year is the biggest celebration of the year. In 2023, the holiday starts on January 22 and continues for two weeks, culminating in the Lantern Festival. Each year, the calendar aligns with an animal in the Chinese zodiac. 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit, a lucky animal that embodies elegance and beauty.

This holiday is connected to the start of the Chinese lunar calendar and is an opportunity to celebrate family and success in the coming year. Like any holiday, Lunar New Year has many traditions. Dragon dances and fireworks displays are essential parts of the celebration—as is food! Discover which recipes are essential for this holiday.

Homemade Pork DumplingsTMB studio

Dumplings

According to ancient legend, the number of dumplings you eat during the Chinese New Year predicts the amount of money you’ll make in the upcoming year (the more, the better). While pork is the most common dumpling filling, you can also opt for shrimp, chicken or vegetables.

When it comes time to cook the dumplings, either steam them or pan-fry them. Here’s how to make Chinese dumplings from scratch.

chinese longevity noodlesTMB studio

Longevity Noodles

Be sure to serve these if you host a Chinese New Year party! Known as changshou mian, which means “long-life noodles,” these noodles are up to two feet long. According to Chinese tradition, the longer the noodle, the luckier you’ll be. Just be careful not to accidentally break one while you’re cooking—that’s bad luck because it represents a life cut short.

Tray of Togetherness with a variety of dried fruits and nuts for a Chinese new year celebrationDragonImages/Getty Images

Tray of Togetherness

Often divided into six or eight compartments (the number six often symbolizes luck, while eight symbolizes fortune), the round Tray of Togetherness represents peace and family harmony. Fill the tray with an assortment of small treats like dried fruit, nuts or candy. You could also include these homemade almond ginger cookies.

Crispy Sriracha spring rollsTMB studio

Spring Rolls

Resembling bars of gold, spring rolls bring wealth and good fortune. You can stuff these deep-fried rolls with various fillings, including pork, bean sprouts, shredded carrots, cabbage and assorted other veggies.

Learn how to make spring rolls at home with this Crispy Sriracha Spring Rolls recipe.

Chinese new year food and drink still life with a gold plate of little orangestwomeows/Getty Images

Oranges and Other Citrus

Oranges, kumquats, tangerines and pomelos are common Chinese New Year food gifts because they’re believed to bring good luck and happiness. The Chinese words for orange and tangerine closely resemble the words for luck and wealth. The gold color also symbolizes prosperity.

Far from family for this year’s celebrations? You can still send them a gift of oranges.

china Sweet Green Rice Ball with willow branchzhikun sun/Getty Images

Sweet Rice Balls

These sweet rice balls are a common Chinese New Year food for good reason: The round shape signifies unity. These gooey balls also represent harmony and family togetherness because their name (tang yuan) sounds like the word “reunion” in Chinese (tuan yuan).

Chinese fish dishTMB studio

Fish

In Mandarin, the pronunciation of the words for fish and abundance is the same. To ensure success in the coming year, steamed fish is a regular dish on the Lunar New Year table.

Traditional Year cake or ChineseArisara_Tongdonnoi/Getty Images

Year Cake

The Chinese word for this cake—nian gao—is pronounced exactly like the word for “higher year,” which makes this dessert lucky. The sticky rice flour cake was originally used as an offering during ritual ceremonies. Now, people eat nian gao on the first day of the year to bring health, wealth and happiness.

Eight Delicacies RiceHelloRF Zcool/Shutterstock

Eight Treasure Rice

This traditional dish is made with sticky rice and adorned with eight “treasures”—a variety of seeds, nuts and fruits like plums, jackfruit and raisins. Eight is a lucky number in Chinese culture and eating desserts on this holiday represents sweetness for the year ahead.

Kue Mangkok (Chinese fa gao) known as fortune cake, usually for Chinese New Year.Tyas Indayanti/Getty Images

Prosperity Cakes

These steamed rice flour cakes (fa gao) are known for their split tops. According to tradition, the more segments the top of your cake has, the luckier you’ll be in the new year. Fa gao translates to “prosperity cake,” so it’s no surprise that these treats are a popular Chinese New Year food.

Chinese Almond CookiesTMB studio

Almond Cookies

Chinese almond cookies, also known as almond moon cakes, are thought to bring financial luck into the new year. Their round shape resembles that of a coin which symbolizes wealth and good fortune.

Food to pay respect to the Chinese New Year.Samathi/Getty Images

Whole Chicken

Serving an entire chicken (head and feet included) celebrates wholeness and prosperity in the new year. The Chinese word for chicken, , is a homophone for good luck and great wealth and also symbolizes family unity.

Amanda Tarlton
As both a freelance lifestyle writer and editor for a national teen magazine, Amanda spends most of her time creating #content. In those (rare) moments when she's not at her desk typing furiously, she's likely teaching a hot yoga class, reading the latest chick-lit or baking a batch of her famous scones.