nian gao

10 Lucky Spring Festival Foods

Monday, January 25, 2016 | By:

Whether you’re trying to increase your luck for the New Year or just need an excuse to stuff your face, these auspicious Spring festival foods will leave you pretty satisfied.

1. Tofu (豆腐) used to symbolize a happy family, and eating it this year could reduce the number of family arguments you find yourself (inevitably) falling into against your will.

2. Lettuce (蔬菜) is a homonym for earning money, so eating a bit of greenery might get you some extra RMB in your pocket to start off the season.

3. Fish (鱼) is a homonym for 裕 (abundance, wealth, and happiness). Chinese cuisine is chock-a-block with options depending on whether you want to be lucky in love or money.

4. Citrus fruit (橘子), both tangerines and oranges, are lucky fruits due to their similarity to the word for wealth.

5. Chicken (鸡) is perhaps your best bet for an auspicious dish. The word for chicken sounds like 吉, for luck or auspiciousness.

6. Spring Rolls (春卷), aside from being delicious, are shaped like gold bars and are believed to be a good way to improve your odds for an affluent year.

7. Noodles (寿面), you can’t go wrong with noodles. Noodles are good for your health, but if you really want some of that longevity luck on your side, try longevity noodles.

8. Sticky rice dumplings (汤圆) traditionally eaten on the 15th day of the New year, these glutinous rice balls are a must-have treat for the day of the Lantern Festival.

9. Sticky rice cakes (年糕), or New Year’s cake, is a traditional food for all your South China fans out there—a sticky cake made out of sugar and rice flour. They also kind of sound like 年高, meaning a “better year”.

10. Dumplings (饺子) are a ubiquitous dish in North China, but the first day of New Year is the time to eat these delicious snacks. Shaped like silver ingots, they are supposed to bring you more wealth and are a homonym for change, something we could all use as the holiday approaches.


Need something now to stave away that cold? Try out some of Beijing’s hot street food.

Cover image from 智农公社

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