5 traditional foods for Chinese New Year

5 traditional foods for Chinese New Year

The monkey king is finally arriving as we approach the Chinese lunar New Year. Everything is all about good fortune and positive meanings. Exploding colorful fireworks drive away bad luck and evil. Hanging good luck scrolls and fai chun spread prosperity and good wishes to families and friends. Red packets are given to each other to share the joy of health and longevity. But importantly, good old CNY traditional food and delicacies are enjoyed to celebrate togetherness. Did you know that a lot of food ingredients which are eaten during Chinese New Year have special positive meanings? So if you want your year filled with prosperity, good fortune and money, take a closer look on this vibrant festival and some of the traditional food that locals eat to celebrate the arrival of a new year.

Year Cake

Year cake, or Nin Gou in Cantonese, is a sweet, slightly chewy glutinous rice cake which is very popular among households and dim sum restaurants during CNY. Nin gou, which in Chinese, is a homonym of ‘a taller year’, symbolizes a better and greater year to come. Try the ones with coconut milk or, best of all, fry slices of it with scrambled eggs. However you eat it, consuming this wonderful sticky sweet treat ensures you will be blessed with a prosperous year ahead.

Chinese New Year Cake


If you go to a Chinese restaurant during the CNY, you will see a lot of menus offering a big steamed fish for groups of families to enjoy. Fish, yu in Chinese, is celebrated especially at CNY, because its pronunciation is similar to ‘surpluses’. So by eating fish you will have ‘leftover yearly’, and will always have more than you need.

Sunflower and watermelon seeds

Seeds usually are symbolic of fertility and offspring. So naturally during the lunar New Year, people crack these black and red seeds to celebrate the meaning of life and continuation.

Sesame Cookies

Behold, Cookie Monster of the Sesame Street, you sure will have a competition when it comes to eating these sugary sesame balls. ‘Siu Hao Jo’ in Chinese, means you will always have a smiley or laughing mouth. By offering these to guests on Chinese New Year, you are simply wishing them a happy, joyful life. Just be careful not to laugh too much while eating them, or you will machine-gun your host with seeds.

Chinese New Year Fish

Black moss

Don’t worry, this black, curly hair-like moss has nothing to do with supermodel Kate; black moss is in fact a delicacy served on Chinese New Year. Its texture and taste are much better than you would expect. Of similar consistency to vermicelli, fat choi is a type of algae served in a traditional dish, usually accompanied by dried Chinese mushrooms and dried oysters. Why? The name says it all: ‘Kung Hei FAT CHOI!’

Chinese New Year Black moss

Follow this link to check a list of foodpanda’s top Chinese restaurants if you need to order Black moss and other delicious Chinese dishes.

Azure Lorraine |
Contributing Editor

Azure Lorraine is an adventurous food and life lover from sunny Cali. She enjoys writing about anything from food, lifestyle to mindfulness. Follow her scrumptious and vibrant journey around the world on Instagram @azuyuzu852.

azure sig

Article Written By foodpanda

Join the discussion!

Share this story