Taste of Chinese New Year
Symbolic well wishes are present in many dishes to bestow you with either wealth, luck, fertility, or even a long life through the upcoming Year of the Snake.
Buddha's DelightEaten on the first day of the new year, this traditional Chinese dish called Buddha's Delight or Jai is comprised of 18 different vegetables and symbolizes luck in the new year. A vegetarian diet is encouraged in the first 5 days of the new year in order to purify oneself, so ingredients in this dish may include bamboo shoots, bean curd sticks, black mushrooms, carrot, cellophane noodles, gingko, napa cabbage, snow peas, water chestnuts and peanuts. Seasonings include garlic, ginger, oyster and soy sauce. 960 1280
TangyuanThe round shape of these glutinous rice balls, called tangyuan, signify family togetherness and are eaten on the first full moon after the Chinese New Year, also known as the Lantern Festival. A traditional dessert in the South, it has changed color from white to multicolor based on new ingredients like chocolate, bean or pumpkin paste. In the North, the dish is filled with savory items and is called yuanxiao. 960 1280
Whole FishWhole fish dishes are highly popular during New Year celebrations as they are a symbol of prosperity -- the name for fish, yu, sounds similar to abundance in Chinese. They are served with their head and tail intact, which represents a good start and end to the new year. The fish should not be flipped while being eaten, because it is synonymous with a fisherman's superstition of flipping his boat. 960 1280
NiangaoChinese New Year cake is called niangao and eaten on New Year's Eve because the dish's name sounds similar to "higher year" and the glutinous rice flour from which it is made, puffs and rises while cooking. Eating this cake is believed to enable oneself to reach higher results in the coming year. 960 1280
JiaoziIn northern China, these round pork dumplings, or jiaozi, are symbols of wealth in the new year as their name is similar to an ancient currency called jiao. Sometimes, a small coin is placed within a dumpling to bestow extra good luck upon the recipient. Dumplings are prepared in bulk prior to New Year's Day because it is considered bad luck to use a knife or cook with fire in the beginning of the new year. 960 1280
Behind-the-Scenes Chengdu, China 13 Photos