Traditional Dishes

The New Year’s Eve dinner is called “the reunion dinner”.

Traditionally, on this occasion, the Chinese people prepare many dishes, that are considered to bring luck.

Dumplings, spring rolls, fish and a jelly rice cake are served. Other popular dishes are fruits, noodles and tangyuan – sweet rice balls.

The “reunion dinner” dishes have a certain symbolism: the “whole chicken” ensures health, the fish meatballs, shrimp and meat ensure success in academic studies, while the vegetables – intelligence.

Among the specialities served during the New Year’s meal are dry oysters, sea cucumber, bamboo shoots, duck gizzards, belly fish, pork tendon, molluscs, pigeon eggs, mushrooms and many others.

Chinese people don’t drink champagne on such occasions, but Mao Tai, a kind of brandy made of rice, beer or red wine.

The citrus fruits, namely the oranges, have a special significance in the their culture. They represent health, prosperity, harmony and the positive energies of the universe. During the New Year’s evening, the first man that enters the house must bring 8 oranges and throw them on the floor.

The fruits are then placed in a bowl, and the spoiled ones are replaced immediately with fresh oranges. The oranges are to be kept for 15 days before they get eaten in order to attract the prosperity god.

It is a tradition to have a family dinner and duck, chicken or pork dishes are never missing from the table. A Chinese dish goes great with wine. Here are a few ideas:

Aromatic white wines, such as Riesling or Pinot Gris are excellent, especially with sweet-sour dishes. Gewürztraminer is wonderful with the duck. A rosé wine, a bit sweeter, with fruity aromas, is great with a platter made of many different dishes.

Spicy or heavily seasoned, very flavorful dishes, such as beef in black sauce require a rich red wine: Manto Negro, Merlot, Cabernet or Syrah.

In China, during this period meal ginger flavored drinks or jasmine or Chrysanthemum tea are also consumed.

There are few dishes specific to this period. Read below to find out which are the traditional dished.


On the day of New Year, the Chinese eat a lot of noodles, as long as possible, so they can enjoy a long and prosperous life. The longer the noodles, the longer their life is going to be, therefore, during that day, noodles that get cut during the cooking should not be served.

Leek Stir Fried

The people believe that leek can attract wealth, especially when is consumed on the New Year’s Eve. Warm up oil in a wok, add 4 cloves of cut and minced garlic, gently blend, then add only the white part of the leek, mushrooms, corn, and carrots.

Mix for 1 minute at high heat. Next, pour a spoon of soya sauce and ½ spoon of sesame oil. Mix for 2 more minutes, until the leek is cooked. Add leek leaves and pour a small quantity of  wine or white, dry wine.

Stir-Fried Shrimp with Xo Sauce

In the Chinese culture, shrimps are associated with happiness and cheerfulness. XO sauce is a seafood sauce, very popular in the Cantonese kitchen. Warm up oil in a wok, mix 4 cloves of cut and minced garlic.

Next, add small cut pepper and mix for 1-2 minutes. Add the shrimp (10 pieces for two helpings), let it cook for a while, after which add the XO sauce and blend until the shrimps are completely fried and well soaked in sauce.

Chinese Dumplings

A very popular dish, especially in the northern part of China, the dumplings can be prepared out of ground pork, chicken or beef, shrimps cut in small cubes, fish or mix of vegetables. All these can be wrapped in a thin sheet of dough, prepared in advance.

The dumplings can be boiled, baked or steamed. According to the tradition, the more dumplings you eat, the wealthier you will be in the following year.

Spring rolls

When cooked, the spring rolls get a golden color, so they are associated with material wealth. This type of Cantonese dish can be prepared with vegetables, fish, mushrooms or meat.

Warm up two spoons of oil in a wok or a bigger frying pan, add garlic, ginger, green onion and chilly. Mix for 1 minute, until it becomes flavored. If the mixture is too dry, pour a bit of water.

Next, add small pieces of boiled meat, mushrooms, tofu or shrimps. Pour two spoons of soya sauce, fish oil or any kind of Chinese sauce. Mix for 1-2 minutes, until the vegetables soften. Remove from the heat, add 2 cups of bean sprouts and blend again.

Place the rolls for wrapping on a dry surface, add a spoon of the blend, making sure not to include too much sauce from the pan. Sprinkle coriander or basil over the mixture, and roll. Fry at high heat for 1 minute on each side, until the rolls get a golden color.

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