10 Lucky Chinese New Year Foods

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hello A Very Sweet Blog friends! This is Chic 'n Cheap Living and I'm grateful that Kim has me over to share a few fun and favorite foods for the Chinese New Year holiday. I learned a lot as well while writing this piece and I hope that you can also appreciate the symbolism and treats for this celebration! What are the memories that you associate with the holidays? For many ethnically Chinese people celebrating Chinese or Lunar new year, it is the mix of voices old and new at a party, the clink of glasses (or mahjong tiles!), and the delicious smells of traditional New Year foods. There are similar traditions in Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and of course China. Since many people can no longer receive red packets full of money (only for the unmarried adults or kids!), their favorite parts of the holidays are gathering with family and friends and eating auspicious foods.

Chinese New Year decor by Chic n Cheap Living

There are several types of food that are considered especially lucky to consume during Chinese New Year and they all have different meanings. Here are ten of the most common Chinese New Year foods:  

1. Tangerines, Oranges, and Mandarins Oranges (or orange colored fruit in this case!) are readily given and received during Chinese New Year because "orange" sounds similar to "gold" while "tangerine" sounds like "lucky" in Chinese. My husband loves mandarins and we go through a box a week (so it's a good thing supermarkets are selling more varieties at this time of year!)

 Chinese New Year mandarins by Chic n Cheap Living  

2. Whole Fish. Fish is cooked and eaten on New Year's Eve because its leftovers signal abundance or surplus in the New Year.
3. Dumplings (my favorite, any time!). Did you know that dumplings are similar in form so silver ingot pieces of money? The preparation also symbolizes packaging luck! It is commonly eaten in Northern China.

4. Tray of togetherness. This appetizer dish consists of eight different snacks. Similar pronunciations are again key here since "eight" sounds similar to "prosper". Typical snacks may include preserved kumquats for prosperity, longans for sons, and red melon seeds for happiness.

 Chinese New Year snacks by Chic n Cheap Living  

5. Noodles. Long, uncut noodles represent long life and noodles may also be eaten on other occasions like birthdays.
6. Nian gao. Nian gao, which is literally year cake is popular because "gao" sounds like heights - achieve new heights in the new year!  

7. Sweets. Sweet treats also symbolize a sweet life. Bring on the pineapple cakes, red bean mochi and other goodies!

Chinese New Year love letter snacks by Chic n Cheap Living  

8. Long leafy greens. Long leafy greens indicate a wish for a long life for your parents.  

9. Bakkwa. This popular Southeast Asian snack is essential a pork or beef jerky. It is a popular treat to gift for those without a sweet tooth.  

10. Raw fish salad or yu sheng. Yu Sheng is also popular in Southeast Asia and eating it is supposed to bring good luck in the new year.

References from here and here. Pictures by Chic 'n Cheap Living taken in Singapore

I would like to thank Chic N Cheap Living for this yummy and beautiful post! I learned so much! Thank You!
I recently stocked up on oranges & tangerines. I'm cooking fish & greens. I have sweets! So I'm partly ready! HaHaHa
I'm not Asian, but it's fun participating in and trying new things :) Look for a sweet post tomorrow!

No Comments Yet, Leave Yours!

Mica T said...

I knew about some of these foods but not all, such a great list! :)

Hope you have lots of luck as a result of eating some of this yummy food you have already Kim! :)

Away From Blue

Natalia | Fashioned by Love said...

Thanks for sharing, Kim! I keep making lists. :)

Irene said...

Hehe so funny that yesterday I decided to cook Chinese noodles ( sort of). And I've also stocked on mandarins this week. Hopefully I'll have plenty of luck this year :)

Very interesting post, as always! I have one question though. All these traditions are general for the CNY but do you also have special traditions depending on which year is beginning, as for example this being the year of the horse? ... maybe it's a really stupid question hehe

Emmylou said...

Hahaha...Kim, you are so ready. And thanks for sharing, ChicnCheap:) The fish is definitely such an important dish in my family during special occasions.

Dusana Bozenkova said...

Thank you for sharing this with us. Lovely and informative post.
Dusana :-)


Rakhshanda Rizvi said...

So interesting post, I love Chinese food and they are my favorite! Hope you have lots of luck as a result of eating some of this delicious food you have honey! kisses <3

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

Thanks for having me over Kim! We have a box of mandarins now and are happily munching on them. Enjoy your treats! I will probably attempt to make dumplings this weekend and it should be fun!

Chic 'n Cheap Living

Lilli said...

So interesting to discover more about these kinds of food, actually I like Chinese kitchen so they must be very good. Great guest post!:)
Kisses dear Kim! xo

kim bim said...

Oh Kim! Love you,love chinese food so much. Love all these you have listed. Oh am so addicted to chinese special friend rice,It's taking too much of my money ordering it,I hope you teach me how to cook itand chilli oil too. I need a reciepe please...please..please...

Adeola Naomi Aderemi said...

I am a noodles addict ! Thanks for sharing!

Fashion Sky Fall said...

Love your post <3

Chiara T. said...

I know quite nothing about chinese new year so it's really ineresting learning more from your blog!
Facebook Page Bonjourchiara
Bloglovin Bonjourchiara

Sample Hime said...

I love these posts, but you're making me hungry LOL :)

The Dainty Dolls House said...

I will have all these :))) This was marvellous, I enjoyed reading about all of this. I love all of these foods and eat them regularly, so cool to read the purposes behind them for the new year!! Superb doll, well done!! Xxx

TheTinyHeart said...

I love mandarin oranges! That is so neat that they're associated with gold/luck. Time to eat more, hehe!

The Tiny Heart

Alicia Mackin said...

Oh yes dumplings are my favorite too. There was a wonderful dumpling shop here in NY that just went out of business, such a shame I was pissed.

Allie of ALLIE NYC

Always Maylee said...

Going out to dinner with my parents tonight and we'll probably eat a lot of this for good luck in the new year! :)

xo, Yi-chia
Always Maylee

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Long leafy greens? I didn't know that! So picking some up tonight.

Harlynn said...

Lovely post!
Very interesting too. c:


Alice said...

its so nice about knowing other traditions!

--> Invitation to my International Rosewholesale Giveaway!
I hope you will partecipate!!

Alita C. said...

I love chinese food! I like this list so much I'll try what I don't know!
Kisses Alita

Corinne said...

I've only just tried dumplings, my housemates got some from the Chinese the other week and they were lovely.

Corinne x

BerryBloomXO said...

I loved reading this! My friends who are also celebrating Chinese New Year said they'd have fish and lots of noodles! Great Post and Happy New Year for tomorrow!


nancy @ adore to adorn said...

I love this time of the year. It's so festive and I love re-visiting traditions. =)


Sara Gerard said...

Yes! Food post! lol. I have been obsessed with clementines lately, and we have been going through a box per week! My friend is bringing over dumplings this weekend, so I think we have some good luck headed our way. Well, at least good food.

Corinne said...

i absolutely love foods like this that bring good luck in the new year -- i wish we had something like this in the states!
xx Corinne

Kashaya said...

Fun to get to know.=)

Kate Sullivan Corpuz said...

How fun! I only knew about the oranges.

always, koru kate

Tanya W. said...

Oh I'm loving all your posts lately because, I have a bit of Chinese's, These foods are so familiar to me, I grew up with all those lucky foods, Yummy:).



Annie Sand said...

Everything sounds so delicious, I'll have all of these please! Haha. Thanks for a great guest post! xxx Annie

Christine Ly said...

Celebrating the Lunar New Year here Vietnamese style and I did not know the meaning behind these things. We also have many different foods. I agree with the tangerines, though. :)

~ Christine from Invisible Blush

Sam said...

So happy to see a CnC guest post! Well done hun. It was so exciting to learn more about the lucky foods, i need to incorporate some in my diet. noodles and leafy greens are always a main feature for me. The tray of togetherness, love that!

mysecretfashionpoison said...

I love discover yours traditions! Great post sweety!

Viky --- MySecretFashionPoison

jenn f said...

Happy CNY!!! and i love this post! holidays are all about the food and chinese new year food is so awesome. i especially love leen-go (or nian-goh as you say).
A Beautiful Zen

Rowena @ rolala loves said...

Chinese New Year has to be one of the most delicious times of the year! Fantastic job my dears! I have so many mandarins and oranges in the fridge now :)

Rowena @ rolala loves

his_girl_friday said...

I want to eat all the things!

Tina Bradley said...

Gorgeous pics! I had my leafy greens today via spinach in my green smoothie. :) Joy & hugs, T. http://tickledpinkwoman.blogspot.com

jo said...

Hey Kim, I eat most of these food especially dumplings. They are so good! We're going out tonight for our reunion dinner so that means MORE FOOD! Happy Chinese New Year!

xo Jo


Pamela RG said...

These are mostly my favourite food. Wishing you a healthy and prosperous New Year.

Prin Konakei said...

Makes me hungry~ ^^

Cee said...

Another wonderful and interesting post - I'm a sucker for all things food related! Although I'm not Chinese, I'll definitely have some noodles to celebrate the lunar new year this year :)

Julie (Little Pink Rain Boots) said...

Very interesting post. I love the Love Letter Cookies, such a cute name.


LyddieGal said...

I love oranges and tangerines and DUMPLINGS! I'd be happy to devour any of these lucky foods.

I love CNC's blog too!

Chic on the Cheap

Shreya Kulkarni said...

Awesome pictures dear !

Emma Henderson said...

Great post ladies - save a pineapple cake for me!

Richa Saxena said...

I knew very little about them! Very informative Post :)


Amicia Rai said...

I love dumplings so much! :D

Joie Fatale said...

Oooh! Love Letters! Those are so tasty...and too addictive!

oomph. said...

so interesting...i better eat noodles...haha!! and i'm sure i'll put lots of oranges in my sangria!

Svetlana said...

It's allwayss great to get to know other traditions :)
I want to wish you a happy new year :)

Svetlana from Lavender Star

IamSuperMelski said...

Ooooh we definitely had lots of dumplings on Chinese Year's Eve and Chinese New Year's day! Yummmmm!!!!

flysongbird said...

happy chinese new year...belated but still :)

May Loh said...

Happy Chinese New Year my dear! Love this post...and most of those yummy food too. Just had my tangerine and sticky nian gao yesterday...also sweet red bean soup. Wish they sold bakkwa in London though! Have a brilliant year of the horse...filled with good health and happiness!
May x

Diva In Me said...

Everything sounds great and the fun part was playing fire crackers before midnight. In fact, many places banned the sales of fire crackers but we can still find them in Malaysia. In fact, I learned something new through reading this post. I didn't know the fact about dumplings. Now I know =) If you had a chance, you got to try the pork jerky (Bakkwa). It's delicious and also the Love Letters. My sister brought some for her American colleagues to try. Lucky them!

Nails My Dreams said...

Happy Chinese New Year Kim! I love oranges and dumplings too! I hope we can play mahjong while eating those someday. Hihi.