Chinese New Year Food

Posted by Mollan Mo on 26/01/2016 2:00 AM 950

This year 2016, the Spring Festival falls on Mondy, Feb. 8th. For 15 days, which is the longest holiday in the whole year. However, generally Chinese people only get 7 days off. Chinese family members away from home would come back home to celebrate the most important festival.

Food is the cornerstone of the celebrations. When mentioning Chinese new year food, what would first come into your mind? In this article, we will introduce the most common Chinese New Year food includes dumplings, fish, tang yuan, spring rolls, and niangao.

1. Dumplings 饺子 jiǎo zǐ


The Chinese dumpling becomes quite popular all over the world. According to historical records, it was very popular to eat dumplings at midnight on Chinese New Year's Day in ancient times, not only in North China, but also in South China. Maybe it's because rice is becoming popular, very few people in Southern China ate dumplings in Chinese New year.

Having dumplings together expresses people's hope for a year of plent. 饺 consist of 饣and 交, radical 饣means food, 交 means 交替 change, so “饣”+“交” turns to be the food eaten at the turn of the old and the new year.

2. Fish 鱼 Yú

Chinese new year fish

Fish is a must-have dish in the reunion dinner for every family, regardless southern or northern China, as Chinese word 鱼fish is a homophone for the word for余, meaning surplus in English. That implies abundance. Because there is a Chinese saying associated with Chinese New Year fish, 年年有鱼,年年有余, which means 'May you have surpluses and bountiful harvests every year.' Chinese people believes eating fish will bring good luck in the coming new year.

There are various methods to cook fish, such as steaming, boiling, stir-frying and frying.

3. Rice cake 年糕 nián gāo

Chinese New Year Food-Rice cake

It is customary to eat rice cake, also called new year cake, during Chinese New Year in many areas in China. The cake is made of 年糕 sounds like the same as 年高,which symbolizes achieving new heights year after year. which gives people new hope. The cake is made of glutinous glutinous rice flour, brown sugar, and oil.

4. Rice Dumpling 元宵 (Yuán Xiāo) 汤圆(Tānɡ Yuán )

Rice Dumplings

Tangyuan is more likely a Southern Chinese custom, not nearly celebrated in Northern China. It is a small ball made by stuffing glutinous rice flour with a small amount of water. People would fill some sugar, fruits or nuts inside, makes it more delicious. It is traditionally eaten during the Lantern Festival (the 15th of the first month of the traditional Chinese calendar). Because the round shape symbolizes family reunion.

5. Spring Rolls 春卷 Chūn Juǎn

Chinese New Year Food-Spring Rolls

It was traditionally eaten during the Spring Festival, so it got the name 春卷 and is literally translated to Spring Roll. The history of spring roll can be dated back to Jin Dynasty. Spring Rolls is savory rolls with various cabbage and vegetables filled inside a wrapped cylinder shaped thin pastry. The dish represents the people's particular wish in the upcoming New Year.

Spring rolls are usually cooked by frying, makes it quite crispy and delicious.

6. 火锅 Hot Pot huǒ guō 

Chinese New Year Food

Hot pot is a necessary dish in some places in China. Eating hot pot in Winter makes people feel extremely warm.

There are many other Chinese desserts eaten during Chinese New Year, like "LaBa Congee"(腊八粥Là Bā Zhōu), "Eight-Treasure Pudding"(八宝粥Bā Bǎo Zhōu). Due to some regional difference in China, not all regions will have the tradition to eat those dishes.

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Mollan Mo

Mollan holds a bachelor’s degree in teaching Chinese as a foreign language. Experienced and skilled, she utilizes a variety of activities and methods to keep her classes lively. She loves her job and her passion to share her language and culture with others drives her to help her students succeed. Learn Chinese online with Mollan Mo >>