Chinese New Year Lucky Foods Explained: 10 Auspicious Dishes And Why They’re Said To Bring Health, Wealth And Happiness


Two fresh fish, dumplings, clams and scallops, kumquats, noodles, puddings – all these and more you should eat for a happy 2018.

Chinese people are practical food lovers. The dishes and ingredients served over Chinese New Year are meant to bring wealth, health and happiness in the coming year (along with some babies, too) – but they’re also delicious. There are far too many auspicious foods to list, so here are some basics.

Tangerines, mandarins and kumquats

During CNY, in the lobbies of businesses and apartment buildings, you will see potted miniature trees with these round, small orange fruit.

The fruit is said to resemble gold, so having this in your house or place of business is supposed to bring in wealth. I wouldn’t consume the fruit on these trees, which will be wilted by the time the holiday is over (and they’ve probably been sprayed with pesticides); instead, if you want fruit to eat, buy it from a market. Other citrus fruits such as oranges and pomelos are also plentiful at this time of year; the former are said to bring luck, the latter plenty.

Chuen hup

This is a round or octagonal box kept filled with sweets over the entire new years celebrations. Usually, there’s room for eight (the number symbolises wealth) types of sweets around the perimeter, with another section in the centre.

The selection varies, but there are usually wrapped candies (Sugus and/or White Rabbits, gold foil-wrapped chocolate coins), roasted melon seeds (to bring children) that have been dyed red (an auspicious colour), and an array of candied sweets: lotus seeds (more for children), lotus root (abundance), winter melon (good luck), and sesame seed-dusted glazed walnuts (wisdom and happiness).


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