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Food & Drink

Lucky Food for Chinese New Year

By Yimeng Zhong

January 19

As part of the Spring Festival celebration, Chinese families gather together for a hearty feast. Different dishes are served from around the country to bring good luck for the coming year.

As part of the Spring Festival celebration, Chinese families gather together for a hearty feast. Different dishes are served from around the country to bring good luck for the coming year.

Northern China

Northeast: Dongbei Stew

With the extremely cold weather in Dongbei, or “northeast,” it’s no surprise people in northeast China make stews for New Year. They include braised pork with silk noodles, braised chicken with mushrooms, and pickled vegetables with pork belly.

Braised chicken with mushrooms [Image Credit: www.douguo.com]
Shandong: New Year Dish

In the past, people rarely threw away leftovers, but reheated them for next meals. This tradition has created the so-called New Year Dish, made with leftovers from the past year that often include pig blood, tofu, pork, cabbage, and vermicelli. 

New Year Dish [Image Credit: mt.sohu.com]
Beijing: Mustardy Cabbage Mounds

In Beijing, people like to have mustardy cabbage mounds to complete New Year Eve’s dinner. You cut cabbage into sections and top them with powdered mustard, sugar, and salt. This dish, a palate cleanser, is served cool.

Mustardy Cabbage Mounds [Image Credit: blog.sina.com]
Southern China

Hubei: Three Steamed Dishes

The Three Steamed Dishes refers to three kinds of steamed meat, three types of meatloaf, and three different meatballs. People in Hubei eat chicken for Chinese New Year’s Eve and drink chicken soup for the first meal. Students eat chicken wings, signifying them spreading their wings. Adults eat chicken feet, which for some represents getting more money.

Hunan: Spicy Fried Rice Cake

People in southern China have rice cakes to celebrate the New Year because they signify yearly improvement. Different from other parts of China, where rice cake is cooked with meat or sugar, Hunan cakes have spicy black bean sauce. The province’s cuisine is famous for being spicy.

Shanghai: Spring Rolls, Eight Treasure Rice Pudding

The golden color of spring rolls represents fortune and wealth, while eight-treasure rice pudding signifies happiness of reunion. Eight treasure pudding is made from sticky rice and a combination of eight fruits.

Spring Rolls [Image Credit: mt.sohu.com]
Eight T-treasure Rice Pudding [Image Credit: mt.sohu.com]

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