What to eat for Chinese New Year

The Chinese calendar isn’t as straightforward and predictable as the Western (Gregorian) calendar. The length of a month isn’t always 30…um…31…no…29…or 28 days.

Okay, okay, so both calendars are kinda screwy.

But what I meant was that Western New Years is always called January 1st. Chinese or Lunar New Year falls on a different day every year, anytime between January 20th to Feburary 19th, depending on the sun and moon cycles.

This year, it just so happens that that Chinese New Year is on Feburary 14th, 2010, which means you can take Valentine’s Day off as a paid holiday. Well, that is, if you celebrate Lunar New Year….but I promise….I won’t tell your boss.

The Chinese are highly superstitious, especially with food. Honestly it’s quite complicated, and rather than risk an entire year of good fortune (i.e. nixing the possibility winning $76 million in the lottery), I play it safe. I eat what’s on the list.

So wanna know what’s on the list?

Infographic: What to eat for Chinese New Year!

I know it’s V-day on February 14th, so if you’re celebrating the day of love with cutesy hearts and fondue, perhaps you can do a combo-dinner (Chinese fondue anyone?) or even celebrate Chinese New Year a little early. I’ve got a list of simple recipes for your Chinese New Year feast to ensure you a prosperous, healthy and happy year of the Tiger.

Chinese New Year Recipes

What to eat for Chinese New Year for maximum health, happiness and prosperity!

Chinese New Year Foods Mom’s Famous Crispy Egg Rolls or Vegetable Spring Rolls with video with an easy how-to video (egg rolls look like gold bars, which symbolize wealth) 
Chinese New Year Foods Chinese Whole Steamed Fish – for having “more than enough” this coming year
Chinese New Year Foods Garlic Brandy Prawns – for happiness
Chinese Tea Egg Recipe Chinese Tea Eggs – for wealth
100 Blossoms Vegetables 100 Blossoms – to wish you a blossoming and beautiful beginning in the new year.
Pork and Shrimp Potstickers Pork and Shrimp Potstickers – recipe from Andrea Nguyen to represent gold ingots.
Broccoli Beef Noodles Broccoli Beef Noodle Stir Fry – for long life (don’t cut the noodles – leave them long!)

And if you want more Chinese New Year recipes, head over to Rasa Malaysia and Lily’s Wai Sek Hong!

What’s on your menu for Chinese New year?

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Comments 42

  1. Big Boys Oven

    wow I want all those goodies and I was you here in KL too . . . . so that I can get an Ang Pow from you! heheheheh! Gong XI Fatt Cai to you and your family! form us the boys!

  2. Melinda

    Gong Xl Fatt Ca! Wishing you good fortune for the next year. Can it get better?
    I love pot stickers! How I wish there was a good place to get them here in a restaurant.

  3. Tuty

    Many Chinese in South East Asia and Taiwan will have Nastar (mini pineapple tarts) for gifts and snacks to symbolize gold. My version of Nastar pastry includes Gouda cheese for another layer of flavor.

  4. cakebrain

    gung hay faat choy! I’m going to the Olympics on CNY’s Eve. Speed skating! Go Canada Go! but we’ll probably head on over to the MIL’s for the traditional stuff later on in the evening. Your menu seems more appealing to me than her usual fare though. I’m kind of getting tired of the same old stuff! Don’t tell her that, btw.

  5. Gay

    This time of the year is the perfect excuse for me to visit Manila’s Chinatown. I’m going to miss all the goodies this year since I’m here in northern Illinois where the closest thing to Chinese food is Panda Express! Anyway, I hope I could find your cookbook here and console myself with all those delicious dishes 🙂

  6. susan g

    Back to Asia! Don’t get so lost…
    We LOVE to celebrate CNY whenever it falls (we’re used to a calendar that is consistent to itself, not the Western calendar; Rosh Ha Shonah, anyone? or Easter for that matter). A local restaurant has celebrated with “real” Chinese food, hope the new owners will continue that.

  7. Alta

    Oh right – tea eggs! I loved those things when I made them a few months’ back – I should make more for Chinese New Year!

  8. Bethany

    These all look wonderful! In addition to the noodles (for long life, as you say!), we will probably eat rice cake soup, the Korean tradition for New Years! I read somewhere (use real butter?) that this is because the chinese word for rice cake sounds like New Years…. true?

  9. Lynn

    Those Garlic Brandy Prawns would definitely bring me happiness! Happy Chinese New Year (and Valentine’s Day) to you and your family!

  10. Trevy

    Hi Jaden. I was married on a number nine day, so now I know it’s a good number. Recipes looks delicious, and loved the gong video. I think my photo skills are starting to improve, so thanks for your help.

  11. Mowielicious

    Oh my! These all looks so good. Great post! I really thought long and hard about writing a Chinese New Year’s post this year, but opted for Valentine’s macarons instead.

  12. uno

    Look Jaden,
    … your post is to fill your eyes and makes us smile with you, the foods must be an absolute delight, revenue elaborate, with all the Chinese taste and care, of course!
    It was a pleasure to see the video, all combining for the occasion, the small “Chinese Gong” (jiuyinluo?), Closed hilarious and perfect your intelligent, creative and wonderful video with gold keys!
    Her contagious joy and warmth that makes the line go into the happy, congratulations! You’re always overcoming, is very good to follow and admire it!
    Beautiful Chinese New Year to you and your entire family! Kiss

  13. Bobby

    I love TC Choy! If you ever make it to the St. Pete side of the bay Ha Long Bay is another excellent restaurant with a huge menu and great Dim Sum.

    I didn’t know that the number 9 was so special. I should tell my parents (who were married on Sept. 9. )

    Thanks for the great Recipes!

  14. J2Kfm

    Probably lots and LOTS of cookies and confectioneries. And some booze. Oh … probably a charcoal tablet or two, at the end of all the serious bingeing.

  15. Chris

    I have the exact same robe outfit, but don’t look near as good in it and everyone laughs at me for some reason.

    Happy New Year to you and your family!

  16. Alex

    Not that one needs an excuse to eat potstickers but, hey, if I can find one then Chinese New Year is as good as any!

  17. Cynthia

    Yummy ideas! I won’t be cooking, but I’ll keep an eye out for those foods when I go to the New Years parade. I’ll be eating lots of oranges and tangerines for good luck this year.

  18. Kim Y


    Did you know you can wok using your Big Green Egg? We do it all the time and it makes great oriental food. Give it a try sometime…you’ll love it.

    Happy Chinese New Year!!!


  19. Anelle

    We decided to celebrate Chinese New Year based on your post! I recently received your cookbook for my birthday, so I’ve been looking for an excuse to get at it anyway. We never really cared much for Valentine’s, so here we go! We’re having crispy egg olls (vegetarian style – I hope your mom doesn’t hate me), fresh summer rolls (because I bought the wrong wrappers the first time, oops!), and probably tofu in broccoli the beef and broccoli way. We’re very excited either way!

  20. Charlotte


    Going to a small neighborhood Chinese Restaraunt this Saturday for a Chinese New Year celebration. Am trying to decide what colors to wear. Are some colors of clothing more auspicious than others?

    Happy Chinese New Year!

  21. Pingback: Stir-Fry Pine Nuts with Corn and Peas (金玉满堂) | Easy Asian Recipes at RasaMalaysia.com

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