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Chinese New Year

Chinese Spring Festival culinary traditions, food and recipes

Jump to:-    Chinese Lucky Foods  |  Chinese New Year Menus & Recipes  | Chinese Astrology

 

8th February 2016 - year of the Monkey

 

Food has played a major role in Chinese New Year celebrations for centuries, and "lucky" foods are traditionally served throughout the two week Chinese New Year celebration, known as the Spring Festival - the most important festival in China when families come together to celebrate in as grand a style as they can afford.

The Chinese belief that different foods symbolize good things in different ways manifests in various forms.

 

Chinese Good Luck Foods for the New Year

 

The quantity of food prepared signifies prosperity and wealth of the household and there is an old custom of serving a platter which made up of five meats or five vegetables, referred to as "the five blessings of the new year" representing longevity, peace, righteousness, wealth and wisdom.

Individual foods and recipes also have specific meanings and are widely served during the Spring festival. Examples include, Chinese dumplings which have the appearance of the old Chinese silver ingots (the legend is that the more dumplings you eat, the more money you will make in the coming year);  spring rolls which resemble gold bars;  and noodles which represent long life.

But it’s not just the appearance of the food which counts. Sometimes the name of the foods served are the significant factor.

For instance the Chinese word for fish sounds like the words “wish” and “abundance” which has led to the tradition of serving a whole fish (head and tail in tact) thus ensuring good fortune from the beginning to the end of the new year;   the name Nian Gao (a glutinous rice cake) sounds like "getting higher year by year" the Chinese believing the higher you are, the better off you are;  the name for turnips also means "good luck”;  the word for lettuce in Cantonese sounds like “rising fortune” so it is very common to serve foods in a lettuce wrap especially if it’s another lucky food;   and tangerines and oranges are both given and eaten as their names sound like “gold” and “wealth”.

 

Another favourite is Sweet and Sour pork as the Cantonese word for sour sounds like the word for grandchildren, so serving this dish will help ensure the continuance of the family.

 

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Chinese New Year Menus and New Year Recipes

 

Why not celebrate the Chinese New Year by whisking up an authentic Chinese meal.   Visit our Chinese Selection page for lots of  recipes. We've also got a special Canton Cooking by Country section if you want prepare a truly authentic menu.

 

To make things even easier, below are some full Chinese New Year menus.

 

 

Chinese New Year - Dim Sum Menu

As mentioned above, dumplings, spring rolls and lettuce wrapped foods and considered lucky dishes to eat during the Spring Festival. Coincidentally, they can all also form part of a Dim Sum menu - an excellent way of serving lots of different dishes which is especially useful when entertaining larger  gatherings at Chinese New year celebrations.

 

Here's a sample Dim Sum menu for 6 - 12 people (depending on whether it's for dinner or with drinks) which includes some good luck foods.

 

Crab Dumplings

Glazed Spare Ribs

Lettuce Wrapped Sesame Chicken

Vegetarian Spring Rolls

Potstickers

Jiaozi Dumplings

 

Serve fresh tangerines and oranges for dessert

 

Visit the Dim Sum page for lots more dim sum recipes.

 

* * * * *

 

Chinese New Year - Sweet and Sour Menu

To help ensure the continuance of your line, try this Serves 4 menu which features a sweet and sour dish.

 

Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup
 

* * *

Sweet and Sour Pork

Stir Fried Bok Choy

Bean Sprouts and Mushrooms

Simple Egg Fried Rice

 

* * *

Silky Apples

 

Click here for more Sweet and Sour recipes

 

 

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Chinese New Year - Luck, Life & Wealth Menu

Gold bullion (spring rolls), longevity (noodles) and year long luck (whole fish) - covers just about everything.

 

 

Prawn and Pork Spring Rolls

 

* * *

Whole Baked Snapper with Sesame

Braised Bamboo Shoots

Dry fried Green Beans

Noodles with Black Bean Sauce

 

* * *

Caramel  Bananas

 

 

Information about Chinese Astrology

 

In Chinese astrology each year is attributed to one of 12 animals and the year in which you were born partly determines your characteristics.  Well, it's a little more complicated than that, but it's still quite fun to compare yourself and those you know with the animal which presents the year of their birth.  See the chart below.

 

Find your Chinese Birth Sign in the chart below.

Simply find the year you were born and see which animal represents you.

 

Rat

1900

1912

1924

1936

1948

1960

1972

1984

1996

2008

Ox

1901

1913

1925

1937

1949

1961

1973

1985

1997

2009

Tiger

1902

1914

1926

1938

1950

1962

1974

1986

1998

2010

Rabbit

1903

1915

1927

1939

1951

1963

1975

1987

1999

2011

Dragon

1904

1916

1928

1940

1952

1964

1976

1988

2000

2012

Snake

1905

1917

1929

1941

1953

1965

1977

1989

2001

2013

Horse

1906

1918

1930

1942

1954

1966

1978

1990

2002

2014

Goat

1907

1919

1931

1943

1955

1967

1979

1991

2003

2015

Monkey

1908

1920

1932

1944

1956

1968

1980

1992

2004

2016

Rooster

1909

1921

1933

1945

1957

1969

1981

1993

2005

2017

Dog

1910

1922

1934

1946

1958

1970

1982

1994

2006

2018

Pig

1911

1923

1935

1947

1959

1971

1983

1995

2007

2019
 

 

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