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10 Lucky Foods for Your Chinese New Year Feast

These lucky Chinese New Year foods are said to help bring good fortune—here's a guide to their symbolic meanings.

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Chinese new year ornaments and candy box.; Shutterstock ID 65268727fotohunter/Shutterstock

Tray of Togetherness

Often divided into either six or eight compartments, the round Tray of Togetherness represents peace and family harmony. Fill the tray with an assortment of small treats like dried fruit, nuts or candy, like this strawberry Lucky Candy. You could also include these homemade Chinese Almond Cookies.

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Crispy Sriracha spring rollsTaste of Home

Spring Rolls

Resembling bars of gold, spring rolls are said to bring wealth and good fortune. You can stuff these deep-fried rolls with various fillings, including pork, bean sprouts, shredded carrots, cabbage and assorted other veggies. Make your own version at home with this Crispy Sriracha Spring Rolls recipe.

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Eating Chinese pork lo mein noodles with chopsticks; Shutterstock ID 1212481024; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHEzume Images/Shutterstock

Longevity Noodles

Known as changshou mian (which means “long-life noodles”), these noodles are up to 2 feet long. (Longevity noodles are also common at birthday celebrations.) According to Chinese tradition, the longer the noodle, the luckier you’ll be. Just be careful not to accidentally break one while you’re cooking—that’s bad luck because it represents a life cut short.

Be sure to serve these if you host a Chinese New Year party!

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A tray of chicken pot stickers with dipping sauce.Taste of Home

Dumplings

According to ancient legend, the number of dumplings you eat during the Chinese New Year predicts the amount of money you’ll make in the upcoming year (the more, the better). While pork is the most common dumpling filling, you can also opt for shrimp, chicken or vegetables. When it comes time to cook the dumplings, you can either boil them or pan fry them. Here’s how to make dumplings step by step.

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tangyuan, sweet rice ball, chinese new year food made from glutious rice flour; Shutterstock ID 244071862bonchan/Shutterstock

Sweet Rice Balls

These sweet rice balls are common during the Chinese New Year for good reason: Their round shape signifies unity. These gooey balls also represent harmony and family togetherness because their name (tang yuan) sounds like the word “reunion” in Chinese (tuan yuan).

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Deep fried red snapper fish served with rice; Shutterstock ID 380180623; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHKika Mika/Shutterstock

Fish

A whole fish (known as dayu darou or “big fish”) signifies abundance and family unity. The fish is often steamed and served with a simple sauce on the side, such as soy sauce or sweet-and-sour sauce. You could also try it with this Sweet-Hot Asian Dipping Sauce.

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Mandarin oranges and Chinese new year red packet with text "Good luck and Great fortune" and smaller text "All the Best" printed placed on rustic wooden background.; Shutterstock ID 361980683Peiling Lee/Shutterstock

Oranges and Other Citrus

Oranges, kumquats, tangerines and pomelos are common Chinese New Year gifts because they’re believed to bring good luck and happiness. The Chinese words for “orange” and “tangerine” closely resemble the words for “luck” and “wealth.” The gold color of these fruits also symbolizes prosperity.

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Nian Gao or Chinese new year's cake or year cake, Nian Gao is a food prepared from glutinous rice and consumed in Chinese cuisine.; Shutterstock ID 470810750Nor Gal/Shutterstock

Year Cake

The Chinese word for this cake—nian gao—is pronounced exactly like the word for “higher year,” which is what makes this dessert so lucky. The sticky rice flour cake was originally used as an offering during ritual ceremonies. Now, it’s eaten on the first day of the year to bring better health, wealth and happiness.

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Eight Delicacies Rice; Shutterstock ID 417353473HelloRF Zcool/Shutterstock

Eight Treasure Rice

This traditional dish is made with sticky rice and adorned with eight “treasures”—a variety of seeds, nuts, and fruits like plums, jackfruit and raisins. Eight is a lucky number in Chinese culture, and eating desserts on this holiday represents sweetness for the year ahead.

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Rice Cake; Shutterstock ID 566788243Carlos Huang/Shutterstock

Prosperity Cakes

These steamed rice flour cakes (fa gao) are known for their split tops. According to tradition, the more segments the top of your cake has, the luckier you’ll be in the new year. Fa gao translates to “prosperity cake,” so it’s no surprise that these treats are popular during the Chinese New Year.

Amanda Tarlton
As both a freelance lifestyle writer and editor for a national teen magazine, Amanda spends most of her time creating #content. In those (rare) moments when she's not at her desk typing furiously, she's likely teaching a hot yoga class, reading the latest chick-lit or baking a batch of her famous scones.

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