8 Chinese New Year Food Symbols for Happiness, Prosperity and Health

“Lucky” Chinese New Year symbols are an important part of

celebrating the Spring Festival.

Afterall, it is the start of spring — a perfect time to

have your New Year wishes come true!

And what better way to usher in happiness, prosperity and

health than to enjoy “auspicious food” with family and


Here are the Top 8 auspicious food symbols for Chinese New


Top 8 Auspicious Food Symbols for Chinese New


1. Hot Pot

A steaming hot pot (or chinese fondue) with meat, seafood

and vegetables) is a must.

Huo3 in hot pot huo3 guo3 火锅 is the same word as huo3 in

hong2 huo3 红火 “prosperous and booming”.

2. Fish

Another must-have dish if you want to experience abundance

in the new year.

Fish yu2 鱼 is the most popular dish served during Chinese

New Year.

In Chinese fish has the same sound as “surplus” and

“abundance” 余.

A whole fish is served on Chinese New Year’s eve for the

reunion dinner.

Usually the fish is steamed.

It is a good omen to leave the bones and head and tail


This symbolizes surplus/abundance and a good beginning and

end in the new year.

Best served whole.

3. Shrimp

Shrimp xia1 虾 in Mandarin and ha in Cantonese sounds

like someone laughing.

Eat shrimp for happiness and well-being.

4. Boiled dumplings

A Chinese New Year tradition is eating boiled dumplings.

These are shaped like gold ingots.

Dumplings jiao3 zi 饺子 sounds like jiao1 zi3 交子which

means the hour of transition into the New Year.

Hence, in northern China, dumplings filled with meat are

eaten on Chinese New Year’s eve to usher in good luck and

wealth in the New Year.

Sometimes a coin is placed in one of the dumplings. Whoever

bites on it will have plenty of wealth in the new year.

When dumplings and yellow noodles are cooked together they

mean “golden threads through gold ingots”.

In the eastern cities of China, like Shanghai, Hangzhou and

Suzhou, egg dumplings are eaten as they look like gold


5. Oyster

Hao2 sounds like hao3 shi4 好事 which means “good


In southern China, it is served with thin rice


6. Green vegetables

For close family ties, serve some greens.

Qing1 cai4 青菜 sounds like qing1 亲 as in qin1 re 亲热 mea

ning “close/intimate”

7. Sticky rice cake

Nian2 gao1 年糕.

Nian2 means year and cake gao1 sounds the

same as high gao1 高.

So eating this steamed cake made of rice flour and topped

with red dates has the meaning of attaining greater

prosperity and rank in the new year.

8. Noodles

Known as chang2 shou4 mian4 长寿面 meaning “longevity


A wish for good fortune — Good Luck, Prosperity, Longevity,

Happiness and Abundance — is central to the Chinese way of


Even more so during Chinese New Year!

For more auspicious Chinese food symbols and DIY Chinese recipes, visit www.living-chinese-symbols.com.