Experiences - Asia

Special Chinese New Year Dishes

It’s that time of the year when all family members get together for a reunion dinner and rejoice the festive feasts that beckon them to the table.

It is also a time to honour the ancestors and make some of the traditional and authentic dishes at home. Although the dishes vary across different cultures the spirit of reunion dinner remains the same.

Each of these dishes have a symbolism of their own and signify something.

Let us look at some of the special dishes for Chinese New year across cuisines:


In Chinese, fish (Yu) sounds like abundance. Chinese people prefer to have joys in abundance and hence fish is eaten on Chinese new year. Fish can be cooked in various ways such as boiling, steaming, and braising. It is also used to make the prosperity toss Yusheng. Here are some of the best fish recipes for Chinese New Year.

chinese new year fish recipes

Chinese Dumplings

Dumplings are an authentic Chinese food, and are traditionally eaten on Chinese New Year’s Eve. Chinese dumplings can be made to look like Chinese silver ingots (which are brought together and tied into a knot) which symbolises wealth. It is believed that the more dumplings you eat during the New Year celebrations, the more money you can make in the New Year.Check out our dumpling recipes here.

Special chinese new year dish - Soup dumplings
Image Courtesy: gravity_grave used under the Creative Commons Licence

Vietnamese Traditional Dishes

The Vietnamese, generally prepare traditional foods like Banh Chung/ Banh Tet (steamed square cake) made from glutinous rice, mung bean and pork, added with many other ingredients. Banh Chung is wrapped in banana leaves is known to symbolise the Earth and how everything that we eat grows on earth.

A Vietnamese Tet meal (New year Meal) must have Xio (sticky rice) and Steamed chicken during the New Year as a mark of respect to the ancestors and to pay homage to them with these offerings.

A sweet treat is the Mut Tet (Tet jam) which is offered to guests and friends as a welcome treat. They are an assortment of dried fruits, seeds and vegetables such as ginger, carrot, coconut, pineapple, pumpkin, lotus seed, star fruit and sweet potato along with pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and watermelon seeds that are candied and had over a cup of tea.

Tet - Vietnamese Chinese New Year Dishes

Image courtesy: Google Royalty Free Images

Korean Traditional Dishes

Rice cakes with soup known as Tteokguk is prepared on Korean New Year and is customarily eaten on this day with the family. The Korean New Year is similar to a birthday for Koreans, and eating Tteokguk signifies that they turn older by an year. Other dishes like pancake (Jeon) are also prepared along with rice cakes.

Tteokguk-korean Chinese new year dishes

Image Courtesy: Google Royalty Free Images

Japanese Traditional Delicacies

The Japanese celebrate New Year in January. However, they also make a special selection of dishes during the New Year celebration called osechi-ryōri or osechi which consists of boiled seaweed, fish cakes, mashed sweet potato and sweetened black soybeans. The Japanese also make a sweet called Mochi, made from glutinuous rice flour and sugar Mochi, made from glutinous rice flour and sugar.

Delicious Japanese Desserts for chinese new year

Image Courtesy: Yuichi Sakuraba used under the Creative Commons Licence

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