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Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.

Monday, February 8, 2010

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?

42 Responses to “What to eat for Chinese New Year”

  1. Big Boys Oven — 2/8/10 @ 12:46 am

    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 — 2/8/10 @ 1:24 am

    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. ravenouscouple — 2/8/10 @ 1:44 am

    Chuc mung nam moi! Vietnamese also celebrate the lunar new year but with slightly different items, some of which we posted:nem chua (cured pork), be thui (roast veal), gio thu (head cheese), cha lua (Vietnamese ham), in addition to several types of sticky rice, banh chung and banh day.

  4. Thanks for unveiling the feast menu, interesting! And happy chocoraty new year!!

  5. Tuty — 2/8/10 @ 2:44 am

    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.

  6. cakebrain — 2/8/10 @ 3:59 am

    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.

  7. Gay — 2/8/10 @ 7:32 am

    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 :)

  8. susan g — 2/8/10 @ 9:27 am

    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.

  9. Alta — 2/8/10 @ 9:39 am

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

  10. Bethany — 2/8/10 @ 10:23 am

    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?

  11. candice — 2/8/10 @ 11:25 am

    I’m going to a potluck party for Chinese New Year, so I’m not sure what’ll be there yet. That fish looks so good!

  12. Lynn — 2/8/10 @ 3:58 pm

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

  13. Trevy — 2/8/10 @ 5:23 pm

    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.

  14. Mowielicious — 2/8/10 @ 7:47 pm

    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.

  15. Asianmommy — 2/8/10 @ 8:29 pm

    Yum! Steamed fish is my absolute fav!

  16. Sean — 2/8/10 @ 8:35 pm

    Happy Chinese New Year. Those 100 blossoms look pretty good.

  17. uno — 2/8/10 @ 11:37 pm

    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

  18. Lauren — 2/9/10 @ 12:13 am

    How wonderful! I’ve never celebrated Chinese New Year, but it might be fun for my brother and I to do =D.

  19. Cookin Canuck — 2/9/10 @ 12:14 am

    That whole steamed fish looks so enticing! And yes, why mess with fortune? Everything on my list is more than welcome at my table.

  20. Rachelle — 2/9/10 @ 12:35 am

    Crispy Egg Rolls look delish! Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow! :o)

  21. Bobby — 2/9/10 @ 12:40 am

    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!

  22. J2Kfm — 2/9/10 @ 4:08 am

    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.

  23. wow, I didn’t know there was a meaning for each dish you eat for Chinese New Year. Nice video, I felt I could smell these wonderful bites :D

  24. keropokman — 2/9/10 @ 10:05 am

    Oh, not forgetting the Bak Kwa (do you all eat that in US?) and cookies!

    A very Prosperous New Year to you too!

  25. Chris — 2/9/10 @ 7:26 pm

    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!

  26. that’s great that you have a bunch of suggestions for us to make for chinese new year! i’ll probably do the whole steamed fish with the broccoli stir fry. yum!

  27. Alex — 2/10/10 @ 6:04 am

    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!

  28. The Healthy Apple — 2/10/10 @ 4:27 pm

    Great post! What delicious dishes; thank you for sharing…I love the steamed fish!
    Happy Chinese New Year!

  29. Cynthia — 2/10/10 @ 5:47 pm

    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.

  30. Kim Y — 2/12/10 @ 12:32 pm


    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!!!


  31. Anelle — 2/13/10 @ 5:54 pm

    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!

  32. lisa — 2/13/10 @ 6:36 pm

    heading to dim sum with friends to celebrate tomorrow!

  33. Spencer — 2/13/10 @ 10:36 pm

    Sun Neen Fai Lok!

    What a kickin gong!

  34. eliza — 2/14/10 @ 3:33 am

    Gong Xi Fa Cai Jaden! wishing you a prosperous year ahead and keep up the good work!

  35. Kathleen — 2/15/10 @ 2:38 pm

    Delicious!!! Being a Tiger, I am particularly excited about food and the year head :)

    Here are some other recipes that a friend of mine posted that look super yummy! http://www.zomppa.com/2010/02/14/year-4708-gung-hay-fat-choy/

  36. Charlotte — 2/16/10 @ 5:14 pm


    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!

  37. sammy — 2/1/11 @ 5:44 pm

    yeah i now

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

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