Ready to get lucky? Preparations to usher in another Chinese New Year is in full swing as the Year of the Rooster approaches swiftly. In addition to the usual time-honoured traditions that surround this holiday (like giving out ang baos!), certain foods and treats associated with luck should also be on hand for family, friends and other guests to munch on when they visit. Read on to find out what good luck food items should be on the dining table come January 28:
1. Oranges or Tangerines
You can’t start the year without gobbling down some oranges. These auspicious fruits are said to bring wealth and good luck. That’s because the Chinese word for orange and gold sound similar, while the word for tangerine also sounds like the Chinese word for luck.
2. Sweet Rice Cake (Nian Gao)
Made of glutinous rice flour, the sweet dessert is supposed to help the person that eats it climb the social ladder as the Chinese word nian gao is a homonym for “higher year.” In other words, the cakes symbolise achieving new heights in the coming year.
3. Long Noodles
If you are serving noodles, make sure they are as long as possible. The longer the noodle, the longer the lifespan of whoever consumes them, or so the belief goes. Be careful not to cut or break the noodles you are using when preparing them for Chinese New Year.
(Try this recipe: Stir-Fried Hokkien Noodles With Chicken, Chilli And Beansprouts)
4. Leafy, Green Vegetables
We all know that vegetables are great for our state of health but did you know that they can bring you prosperity too? If you are planning to cook some leafy vegetables to increase your luck, remember that all veggies should be served in whole to symbolise a long life for your parents.
5. Whole Fish
Fish is an auspicious Chinese New Year symbol, associated with wishing for abundance or wealth. How you prepare you fish doesn’t matter – you can steam it, fry it or bake it – but make sure the head and fin are still intact when served as this represents a good beginning and a good end for the coming year.
If you love dumplings then here’s your chance to indulge. Based on Chinese tradition, the more dumplings you eat during the New Year, the more money you’ll have in the upcoming year. This is because the shape of dumplings are said to resemble old ingot-shaped coins or yuan bao.
(Try this recipe: Pork And Vegetable Dumplings)
7. Pineapple Tarts
Serving any kind of sweet dessert is encouraged during Chinese New Year because it symbolises bringing a sweet life into the new year. But pineapple tarts are particularly ideal because its Hokkien pronunciation Ong Lai actually means prosperity is arriving.
8. Bak Kwa
Bak Kwa, that sweet barbequed jerky made of the stuff of dreams, is particularly popular during Chinese New Year. Why? Because it’s deep red colour is considered auspicious in Chinese tradition and symbolises luck, wealth and prosperity. Plus, it just tastes so darn yummy!
This large citrus fruit is popular because it is thought to bring “continuous prosperity and status”. The tradition comes from the way the Cantonese phrase for pomelo sounds similar to the words for “to have”. It is also symbolic of good health, fertility, and family unity.
(Try this recipe: Pineapple Tarts)
10. Tray of Togetherness
Put out for visiting relatives to snack on, or given as a gift, this tray is filled with things such as preserved kumquats for prosperity, coconut for togetherness, longans to bring many sons, and red melon seeds for happiness. The tray should have eight compartments, the number for good luck.