To say that 2020 was an overwhelming year is an understatement. Having said that, it’s no surprise that it’s a year most of us need to bounce back from. That’s why for Chinese New Year 2021, we’ve compiled a list of lucky food dishes to have on your table for a better year ahead. Read on and follow this guide to the luckiest Chinese New Year dishes, and get ready for a lucky Year of the Ox.
1. Long Life Noodles (Shou Mian) for Luck and Longevity
May it be the traditional pansit or your favorite pasta dish, noodles are a staple in any Chinese celebration. According to Chinese tradition, longer noodles means a longer and more prosperous life.
Traditionally, changshou mian which literally means “long-life noodles” is served during Lunar New Year celebrations. Curious to know why? These Chinese noodles stretch up to 2 feet long! You can get these from Classic Savory, Hap Chan, or North Park.
However, be careful when cooking your noodle dishes. It’s said that when a strand breaks, this represents a life cut short.
2. Tikoy (Nian Gao) for Career Growth and Salary Increase
Glutinous rice cake or tikoy is a common dish you’ll find in any Tsinoy’s table on Chinese New Year. In fact, it’s so ingrained in Chinese New Year food traditions that they often just opt to give some away to their non-Tsinoy friends because they just have that much tikoy at home.
Pro tip: when your Tsinoy friend offers you tikoy, take it! This traditional lunar new year food is linked to rise in career as well as an increase in salary. So if you’re looking into getting a raise or a promotion, add some tikoy into the equation for that extra push for luck.
3. Spring Rolls (Chun Juan) for Wealth and A Fresh Start
Based on the year that was, it’s safe to say that we could all use a fresh start. What better way to inspire this than fresh spring rolls?
This is perhaps the best good luck food for 2021. As its name suggests, spring rolls are fresh, which represents a fresh start. Additionally, its golden appearance is reminiscent of gold bars, representing wealth and treasure.
But perhaps most importantly, it’s a staple in every Filipino gathering as well. This makes it the perfect dish to serve at a Chinese New Year party.
4. Fish (Yu) for Surplus and Fortune
There is a blessing speech in Chinese that goes, “Nian Nian You Yu“. This translates to “May you have surpluses and bountiful harvests every year.”
Coincidentally, fish in Chinese is pronounced ‘Yu‘, which literally means surplus and fortune. It is also believed in ancient China that fish have a hand at casting out evil spirits. This further supports the idea of fish being one of the most popular lucky dishes for Chinese New Year.
Following Chinese New Year food traditions, here are some rules to observe when eating fish during this celebration:
- Turning over the fish after finishing off one side is a no-no. Doing this is said to be unlucky, and may negate the supposed prosperity and harmony the fish would otherwise bring.
- Tilt the head of the fish towards a distinguished guest or elder in the family to show your respect.
- More popularly observed in Southern China, some choose to eat only the middle parts of the fish. This leaves the head and the tail for consumption the following day, symbolizing completeness.
5. Tray of Togetherness for Peace and Family Harmony
Typically housed in a red container for prosperity, the Tray of Togetherness is a platter filled with small treats shared with the family. This traditional lunar new year food box is usually divided into eight compartments that represent family and completeness.
With the number ‘8’ associated with prosperity and eternity as part of Chinese New Year traditions, the Tray of Togetherness should be filled to the brim. You can fill this with nuts, candies, cookies, and an assortment of dried fruits as you please. It’s really all up to you!
No matter what you fill it with, however, what’s important is the harmony it represents between you and your family members.
6. Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao) for Wealth
Yup, that cute little XLB you keep eyeing in that popular Chinese restaurant is more than just a delicious trend. It’s also considered a lucky dish for Chinese New Year.
Because of its shape which is similar to the ancient Chinese gold ingot, Chinese dumplings are seen as a symbol of wealth. Legend has it that the number of dumplings you eat during the Chinese New Year is equal to the amount of money you’ll be getting that year.
Can’t think of a better excuse to chow down on these yummy (and cute) XLBs. Excuse me, coming through!
7. Oranges and Citrus for Good Luck and Happiness
It’s common knowledge that oranges and other citrusy food make us squint our eyes with their flavor. But for our Tsinoy friends, these make them squint their eyes with happiness.
According to lunar new year traditions, oranges, kiat kiats, pomelos, and tangerines symbolize good health and wealth. This stems from the words “oranges” and “tangerines” which resemble the words “luck” and “wealth” in Chinese, respectively. Moreover, the golden hue of these sweet, juicy oranges symbolize prosperity and happiness – which, really, is all we need this 2021.
With a pretty strange year behind us, we’re all hopeful for a better 2021. We can all probably agree that we deserve a more prosperous and happier new year, after all. One way to ignite this prosperous and more positive flame is to explore new experiences that spark joy. Check out SHOOR’s experiences to find the perfect fit for you to start this Chinese New Year with the best of luck.