Chinese New Year Menu Ideas

While attending an elaborate 12-course banquet at a Chinese restaurant is a great way to celebrate the Chinese New Year, it's also fun to host your own Chinese New Years’ party at home. Here are a number of menu ideas to celebrate the lunar holiday. Each menu includes at least one recipe that symbolizes good fortune or has other lucky connotations in Chinese culture. The menus call for Chinese tea, but feel free to serve alcohol as well—after all, this is a celebration!

  • 01 of 05

    Peking Duck

    Peking Duck
    The Spruce

    Peking duck is Beijing's most famous dish. Before cooking, a whole duck needs to be hung up in a cool, windy place so the skin gets dried thoroughly to assure a crispy skin, making for an impressive centerpiece to the meal. The perfect accompaniments are jiaozi (Chinese dumplings), which can be filled with pork and cabbage, sweet and sour shrimp with pineapple and red pepper, cold sesame noodles, and sweet red bean dessert soup made with azuki beans. 

    The jiaozi symbolizes good luck, and sometimes cooks add extra good fortune ingredients like peanuts to the dumplings. During New Year's, these dumplings are called yuan bao, referencing ancient Chinese currency and signifying prosperity. 

  • 02 of 05

    Sichuan Cuisine

    Szechuan Eggplant in Garlic Sauce

    The Spruce

    Sichuan cuisine is known for its spice and bold flavors, and Kung Pao chicken is a perfect example of this. Made with deep-fried or stir-fried diced chicken, along with peanuts and chili peppers, this traditional southwestern China dish is a favorite for those who like a little heat. Serve along with Szechuan noodles, spicy Szechuan eggplant, and some fortune cookies for dessert—they may be American-Chinese, but they sure are fun! 

    The food that will bring you good luck in this menu are the noodles. When making the Szechuan noodles, keep them as long as possible since long noodles will bring you a long life.

  • 03 of 05

    Cantonese Cuisine

    Sweet and Sour Pork

    The Spruce

    Cantonese cuisine is known for its balanced flavors and fresh ingredients and may be the type of Chinese cooking you are most familiar with. Start off this meal with spring rolls filled with pork and shrimp, then move on to sweet and sour pork and white cut chicken, which represents happiness and purity. Stir-fried bok choy is the perfect vegetable for this menu, and traditional Chinese almond cookies round out the meal. 

  • 04 of 05

    Shanghai Cuisine

    Yangchow fried rice
    bugking88 / Getty Images

    Emphasizing the use of seasonings, raw ingredients, and unique flavors, Shanghai cuisine features some simple but interesting dishes. Begin the meal with West Lake beef soup, a humble soup with common ingredients, yet a rich flavor. Follow with a cold asparagus salad drizzled with a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and garlic. A traditional Shanghai dish is lion's head meatballs, a casserole with pork meatballs (the lion heads) and shredded greens (the lions' manes)—in China, the lion represents power and prestige. Complete the menu with a simple fried rice dish like Yangchow fried rice.  

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Begin With Egg Drop Soup

    Chinese Egg Drop Soup
    The Spruce

    If you are cooking for a crowd, this menu is sure to please. Begin with egg drop soup, a simple soup of chicken broth, egg, and spring onion. Then wow your guests with Cantonese lobster, which includes ground pork, fermented black beans, and seasonings such as soy sauce, ginger, and sherry. Stir-fried garlic broccoli is the ideal side dish for this menu. Finish off with nian gao, a traditional Chinese sticky cake that represents prosperity.