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Chinese New Year triggers big celebrations since it’s the most important holiday in all of Chinese culture. Festivities include parties, parades, ceremonies, and so much more. One of the major focal points of Chinese New Year is the food — in particular the New Year’s Eve Reunion Dinner. It’s Chinese custom for all family members to return home and enjoy this meal together. However, food is part of the entire 15 days of Chinese New Year celebration — not just New Year’s Eve. Hungry yet? Here are 15 food ideas for Chinese New Year — for both the big New Year’s Eve dinner, as well as the entire celebration:
1. Popped Rice
This rice makes for a great snack. It’s similar to American-style popcorn, only healthier.
These tasty pockets are usually filled with minced meat and vegetables. They’re either boiled, steamed, fried, or baked.
3. Spring Rolls
A Chinese New Year meal would not be complete without some spring rolls. They’re typically filled with meat and/or vegetables, but can work as a dessert if filled with something sweet.
Whole chicken is a popular dish for Chinese New Year and represents good marriage between families.
5. Long Noodles
Long noodles got their name from being, well, long. And they represent longevity. How perfect, right?
6. Ginger Candy
Ginger candy dates back to the Ming Dynasty. It’s a taste treat — plus a remedy for colds and stomachaches.
7. Ox Tongue Pastry
No, this isn’t really made from an ox’s tongue. It’s Chinese bread that simply got its name from the shape. It can be eaten alone or filled with meat and onions.
Shrimp is a favorite for Chinese New Year — representing happiness and good fortune.
9. Whole Fish
Fish at Chinese New Year is served whole — including the head, tail, and yes, the eyes. It’s a symbol of wealth to come.
Citrus is a hit during Chinese New Year, and pomelos in particular. The Chinese word for “pomelo” sounds like “to have,” so this fruit is a sign of having more in the new year.
11. Chinese Prosperity Cakes
Known as “fa gao,” these cakes are baked until they “blossom,” signifying prosperity.
12. Persimmon Cakes
Persimmons represent things going your way. But they won’t go your way if you eat too many of them — watch out for stomachaches.
13. Sesame Balls
Everything tastes better when fried, right? Especially these little sesame balls — filled with red bean paste and covered in sesame seeds.
14. Radish Cake
These cakes aren’t meant for dessert — rather, they’re filled with vegetables and pan-fried. Radish cakes are a traditional good luck food throughout the holiday.
15. Rice Cake
Once, it was an offering only for ancestors, but today, rice cakes have become a traditional dish everyone enjoys during Chinese New Year. Made of either sticky rice or yellow rice, these dishes can come in many shapes and forms.