What are some of the top food that are associated with Chinese New Year and what do they mean?

The Chinese believe in eating food that has auspicious homonym when ushering the Lunar New Year.
Warm homonym greetings are often exchanged upon visiting and food are happily shared with all loved ones and families.

Find out what are some of these food that the Chinese loved when celebrating the Chinese New Year.

Tangerine 桔
– Good Fortune

The Chinese word orange or tangerineis 橙 (chéng), sounds like “success” (成).
As for the Chinese tangerine (桔 jú), it contains the character, which means good luck (吉 jí ), so symbolizing good fortune and success.
That is why the Chinese uses tangerines when paying visits to their families and friends during this special occasion.

Fish 鱼
– Having Surplus and Increase in Wealth

In Chinese, “fish” (鱼 Yú) sounds like the word “surplus'”or “excess” (余 ).
The auspicious proverb or saying of 年年有余 (Niánnián) used when greeting means:
“May you always have surplus and more than you need!”

Abalone 鳆 or 鲍鱼
– Prosperity and Good Fortune

Abalones (鳆) has the same pronunciation as the Chinese word “福”, which means good fortune.
As it is expensive, the food is often cooked and served for the whole family or a group of diners to enjoy and feast together.

Spring Rolls 春卷
– Symbolizing Golden and Wealth

Spring rolls (春卷 Chūnjuǎn) were consumed during the Spring Festival traditionally. They are a dim sum dish, wrapped into cylindrical-shaped rolls, filled with meat and vegetables and then fried to give a golden-yellow color. After which one can dip into various sauces to eat. Because of its outlook of golden brown, it symbolizes gold and means wealth and prosperity.

Glutinous Rice Cake 年糕
– Greater Heights in Wealth, Income, Position and Grades

Glutinous rice cake in Chinese (年糕 Niángāo) sounds similar to “attaining greater heights year by year” (年高).
It sounds auspicious and it can mean doing better in business or better grades in studies, promotion at work or an improvement in life generally. The main ingredients of niangao are glutinous rice, chestnuts, red dates, sugar and lotus leaves for wrapping.

Rice Balls in Sugar Water or Tang Yuan 汤圆
– Family Togetherness and Peaceful Harmonious Relations

The pronunciation of tangyuan (汤圆 Tāngyuán) sounds like reunion (团圆) in Chinese, and are often associated with reunion.
That is the reason why they are favored by the Chinese during festive seasons like the New Year celebrations, Winter Solstice Festival and Lantern Festivals. It can be eaten with no fillings in hot sugar water or with fillings of sesame or peanuts. Often served as a form of dessert as it is sweet and also symbolizing the sweetness of harmonious relationships and togetherness.

At Goldleaf Restaurant, we serve ours in a special Taiwanese Rice Wine.

We offer some of these delicious food in our restaurant. Do ask our serving staff for more information if you are interested to consume them.