11 Mandatory Special Dishes during the Lunar New Year And Their Meaning

Chinese specialties

In 2022, the Lunar New Year celebration falls on February 1. This year’s shio is a Water Tiger that is believed to bring a positive aura to career, finance, romance, prosperity and health for other shio-shio.

This year seems different from previous years. Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, people of Chinese descent cannot celebrate the Lunar New Year freely, should not crowd, and should not visit relatives.

Nevertheless, people can still celebrate this Chinese new year by worshiping at home, getting together and sharing angpao with the nuclear family only. In addition, there is something else that is most awaited, namely the typical Chinese dishes that must exist. What are the foods that must be there during The Lunar New Year? Let’s take a good look at it.

Basket Cake

Chinese Cupcakes specialty dishes
Photo of basket cake

The Chinese people call the basket cake Nian Gao. According to the community belief, this cake symbolizes that the higher the life will be more prosperous. This typical Lunar New Year cake is made from rice flour and brown sugar that is printed round but somewhat flattened. During the Lunar New Year celebrations, this cake is arranged in a box and served for guest banquets and prayers.


Chinese cupcake specialty dish
Photo of a cupcake

In addition to basket cakes, cupcakes are also one of the dishes that exist during the Lunar New Year celebrations. This cake can be placed at the top of the basket cake arrangement. Its shape that blooms like a rose symbolizes the sustenance that will continue to be blessed every year.

Siu Mie

Chinese specialties
Photo Siu Mie (Longevity Noodles)

Siu Mie is also called longevity noodles. The name is not without reason. Presenting Siu Mi during the Lunar New Year celebrations has a philosophy in it. The long strands of noodles become the epitome of health, abundant sustenance and long life.

Therefore, when eating the noodles are tried from the end of the noodle to the end without breaking so that what is obtained in life is abundant and will never break. Usually chinese people use chopsticks to eat the noodles.


Chinese chinese dishes
Photo of fish as a special Chinese dish

Fish becomes one of the typical dishes that must be there during Chinese Lunar Celebration. Chinese people believe that fish symbolize profit. On Lunar New Year’s Eve, fish are like those who manage to keep something until the end of the year, then in the following year will get abundant benefits. In addition, fish also became a symbol of repulsion of reinforcements believed by the Chinese.

The type of fish chosen for the Lunar New Year dish is based on favorable homophonics such as gurame fish that are considered to provide benefits in the following year, krucian goldfish that symbolize hope for luck, bandeng fish can be a symbol of smoothness obtained for businesses and businesses that are being developed, and others.

The most famous fish dishes during Chinese New Year are West Lake fish with pickled cabbage and chili, steamed fish vinegar sauce, and spicy broth boiled fish.

Please note that when eating fish dishes at the time of Chinese Lunar Celebration there are some special rules including:

  • Fish must be faced with a guest or a respected master. This is done as a form of respect for them.
  • Fish cannot be removed from their place.
  • People who are right in front of the head and tail position of the fish should drink together because it is considered to provide luck.
  • New families may enjoy a fish dish after respected people eat it first

Jiaozi (dumplings)

Chinese specialties
Photo Jiaozi (Chinese dumplings)

According to history dating back more than 1,800 years, Jiaozi or known as dumplings is considered a lucky food during Chinese New Year. This special dish is very popular especially in Northern China.

There are many philosophies about eating Jiaozi or dumplings during Chinese New Year. Chinese people believe that the more dumplings at Chinese New Year, the more sustenance they get in the following year. When one finds a piece of white thread in Jiaozi or dumplings, then that person is believed to have a long life.

Meanwhile, if someone finds a coin, then that person is believed to get abundant wealth. Jiaozi or Special Chinese dumplings should be made with special folds shaped like curved boats. If made straight then it is believed to be a symbol of poverty.

Lumpia (Spring Roll)

Chinese lunar lumpia dishes
Photo Spring Roll (chūn juǎn)

Lumpia or in Mandarin is called chūn juǎn, a special dish that is very popular in Eastern China. During the Lunar New Year celebrations, spring rolls become a mainstay dish that is considered as a symbol of wealth for those who eat it. The emblem is obtained from the golden color of lumpia after frying. In addition, lumpia also symbolizes the hope of the family to always be united and get along well.

Ronde (Tangyuan)

Photo Ronde (tangyuan)
Photo Ronde (Tangyuan)

The round in Mandarin is called Tangyuan which includes dessert during Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations. This dish is made from ball-shaped glutinous rice flour served with ginger water. For chinese society, the pronunciation and round shape of the round is believed to be a symbol of togetherness.

In addition to being a typical dish during Chinese New Year, ronde is also the main food for the Chinese Lantern Festival. In Southern China, people always eat rounds when the Spring Festival arrives.

Mandarin orange

Mandarin orange
Mandarin orange

One of the typical fruit-shaped dishes that are always presented during Chinese Lunar Celebrations is oranges, especially mandarin oranges. This type of orange is considered a symbol of prosperity and sustenance that is always abundant. Eating or displaying mandarin oranges during Chinese New Year is believed to bring good luck to the person displaying them.

Yee Sang

Yee sang (Chinese Salad)
Photo Yee Sang, a typical Chinese salad.

Yee Sang is known as a typical Chinese salad made from fine slices of salmon or tuna, turnips, and carrots that are still raw but have been soaked and mixed in sesame oil. The sauce for this signature dish is made from a mixture of cooking oil and sesame oil added with plum sauce, sugar, and cinnamon powder.

How to eat Yee Sang has its own philosophy. The whole family sat in one table and together stirred Yee Sang with chopsticks. Then he was raised high while saying “Gong xi fa cai Yee Sang”. The higher Yee Sang lifted is considered to be the better, all that is climbed will be granted and get lucky in each following year.

Duck or roast chicken


Duck or roast chicken becomes a typical dish that is usually present at every Lunar New Year celebration. The Chinese people believe that duck or roast chicken as a symbol of togetherness and warmth. So, serving duck or roast chicken during Chinese New Year is very suitable.

Lapis legit

photo of legit layer cake
Photo of legit layer cake

Lapis legit is from the Netherlands. This cake is considered important during Chinese Lunar Celebrations, especially in Indonesia. Some of the layers on the legit cake are believed to be the symbol of hope to get a multilayer.

Well, those are some of the typical dishes that are always there during Chinese Lunar Celebrations. Gong xi fa cai for those who celebrate The Lunar New Year in 2021. May this year be blessed for those of you who celebrate.

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