Chinese New Year marks the beginning of the year in the Chinese calendar and comprises various days of celebrations and family gatherings. Many traditions to mark the occasion revolve around food and its significance in Chinese culture: food to thank the year that has passed, to welcome the new year, and to bring health, abundance, and happiness.
We compiled 10 dishes that are commonly consumed during these festive days so you can try a few when the next Lunar New Year arrives.
01 of 10
Fried rice is a quintessential food in Chinese tradition. This basic fried rice recipe is a good base for you to incorporate other ingredients, like animal proteins or additional vegetables.
Fried rice is best made with leftover rice and not fresh rice, which makes the final dish clumpy, so make a pot of rice a day in advance and leave in the fridge for a bowl of fantastic fried rice.
This simple recipe has eggs and green onions, but feel free to experiment and add strips of pork, beef, chicken or cooked shrimp. Don't forget about the oyster sauce, the perfect salty addition!
02 of 10
Potstickers are one of the must-have foods during the Lunar New Year and are eaten to bring luck and prosperity. Different than dumplings, potstickers are steamed and pan-fried, which gives them a unique combination of crunchy and doughy textures at the same time.
These vegetarian potstickers use a filling of tofu and vegetables. Pre-made gyoza wrappers make things easier.
Pan fry and then steam with water. Serve with soy sauce and minced ginger or one of these Asian-inspired dipping sauces.
03 of 10
Make this easy variation of the popular restaurant recipe with true lo mein noodles or thick long pasta if you can't find lo mein. This take on beef lo mein features marinated strips of flank steak, sesame oil, carrots, Chinese cabbage, noodles, and oyster sauce.
Because long noodles bring longevity, don't cut through them because you're cutting down your life span.
04 of 10
Believed to bring peace and abundance, pork is commonly prepared in the Lunar New Year. When made in a sweet and sour sauce, it's thought of as a good omen for bringing many grandchildren to a family.
Although this recipe calls for a lot of ingredients and has many steps in its preparation, it's very simple to make. Deep-fry marinated pork and then toss with a sweet and sour preparation of demerara sugar and black vinegar.
Preferably the pork should marinate for 2 hours. After just 40 minutes of cooking, serve this flavorful dish over steamed rice. Garnish with green onions.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
Kung Pao chicken is often served during the Lunar New Year season, and although it doesn't carry a special significance, it is well-liked. This stir-fry recipe has a little less heat than what is found in many restaurant versions of Kung Pao, making it easier to pair with wine, beer, or spirits.
Peanuts, symbols of longevity, are present in the dish and add an earthy flavor.
06 of 10
Consumed for luck and to guarantee a prosperous year ahead, spring rolls in all their variations are a staple of New Years celebrations. Our recipe uses Chinese barbecued pork and vegetable as the filling and premade spring roll wrappers to speed up the cooking process.
Once made, you deep-fried them in oil and after the extra oils are collected from the crispy roll, you can serve them hot with any dipping sauce.
07 of 10
This spicy Szechuan chicken recipe gets its heat from Tabasco sauce, cayenne pepper, and crushed chiles. And although Worcestershire sauce doesn't sound very Chinese, it brings a lot of depth to the flavor. It's a must-have in our take on this classic dish.
By coating the chicken with corn starch, and then parboiling or "oil poaching" it, the chicken gets a crispy texture and becomes softer inside. This dish is ready in under 20 minutes, so steam some rice while you prep and cook.
08 of 10
This noodle dish with chicken and shrimp has plenty of vegetables and a rich, spicy broth that you won't be able to stop slurping. Served to bring longevity, noodles come in many forms during New Year's celebrations. Our recipe is a take on some of the noodles prepared in the Szechuan province.
Skip the shrimp if shellfish allergies are an issue and double the amount of chicken for a hearty, protein-filled version.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
Eating whole fishes during New Year is one of the most common practices during the festivities. The Chinese word for 'fish' sounds similar to the Chinese word for 'surplus' so it's a tradition to eat a whole fish as a way to end or to start the new year with a surplus in your life.
The recipes are varied but they all use steaming as a way of preserving the delicate flesh of white fishes. We recommend walleye or red snapper, but use any white meat fish of your liking. Serve with steamed vegetables and rice.
10 of 10
This recipe with three vegetables, a lucky number that symbolizes prosperity, has a beautiful meaty texture thanks to the flank steak and mushrooms and has a lot of crunch thanks to the bounty of vegetables present.
A dark soy sauce with sherry binds together this flavorful combination of ingredients. After 10 minutes of prep, you need just 20 minutes to serve this hearty meal.