Five Flavor Shrimp
Five Flavor Shrimp brings together five quality ingredients to create one flavorful dish featuring large premium marinated shrimp, fresh cut red bell peppers, onions and green string beans. Photo: Courtesy Panda Express

While ever auspicious day in the calendar calls for a feast of delicacy to mark the day, when it comes to the Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner a lot of extra thought and care is devoted to deciding the menu, which also includes different fruits, as they are created to get blessings for the next year.

As legend goes, when the monster Nian would terrorize the villages, its people would hide in their homes to prepare him a feast with offerings to the ancestors and gods. And while we are not hiding from any monster per se, the preparation of a delectable feast is still one of the most important parts of the Spring festival. So, as a New Year present from us, here is a list of 8 lucky dishes that should be eaten during the Spring festival to be blessed with good fortune.

1. Spring rolls

A superb dinner dish, they can also be treated as an appetizer or snack. The ideal time to eat them is during the Spring Festival and they are eaten to celebrate the coming of spring. They are seen as a symbol of wealth and prosperity and the lucky saying "Hwung-Jin Wan-Lyang", which translates to mean "a ton of gold" is said while eating it.

2. Dumplings

Another well-known and significant Chinese New Year’s dish, dumplings are also associated with bringing good luck, as the wrapping of dumplings during their preparation is equated to wrapping fortune itself. So, when you eat the dumplings, a wealthy and prosperous life is what you get as a result.

3. Noodles

This is yet another dish to seek prosperity in life. They are also known as “longevity noodles”, as the longer the noodle is the longer life will be. So, basically, you can’t chew or cut the noodles and thus all you are allowed to do is slurp it all in.

4. Steamed Fish

Fish is pronounced as yú in Chinese and means “surplus” or “extra.” Thus, eating steamed fish is akin to having a surplus of food and money every year. Another tradition associated with this compulsory Chinese New Year’s dish is that half of the fish is eaten for dinner while the second half is kept for another day, which means you are prolonging surplus, which in turn is making your future prosperous as well.

5. Steamed Chicken

An entire family can feast on one whole chicken, which represents reunion and rebirth. The chicken is first offered to the ancestors for blessings and protection. In Hubei, the new year’s first meal is chicken soup as a wish for peace and the chicken’s feet are eaten by the working members of the family so that they have a better financial sense.

6. Nian gao

Also known as “rice cake”, Nian gao is another compulsory Chinese New Year dish. Nian gao is a wish to be successful and “higher” each year.

7. Vegetable dishes

A dish of stir-fried vegetables, you can combine your typical greens with mushrooms, jujube, and Chinese cabbage or other symbolic vegetables, which carry different meanings:

  • Seaweed: symbolize wealth and fortune
  • Lotus seeds: a blessing for many children and a healthy family
  • Bamboo shoots: represent longevity, as well as going onward and up
  • Muskmelon and grapefruit: symbolize family and hope. In addition, grapefruit symbolizes wealth and prosperity
  • Osmanthus flower petals: in Chinese, osmanthus is a homophone 贵, which means noble and precious
  • Leek/chives: leek sounds similar to 久, meaning long and everlasting
  • Poria mushrooms: another play on words, this mushroom sounds similar to fú lù or blessings and fortune

8. Salt and Pepper shrimp

Seen as the harbinger of good luck and happiness, this New Year’s dish includes shrimps with their shells intact, coated in tapioca starch, deep-fried, and then stir-fried in a salt and pepper mixture.

© 2023 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.