Top 25 Chinese New Year Recipes

Top 25 Chinese New Year Recipes | omnivorescookbook.com

Chinese New Year traditions can vary greatly across the different parts of China. The landmass of China is almost as large as the US, but its cultural diversity is as dense as in Europe. As a Beijinger, if you drive a car from the center of Beijing in a single direction for four hours, you will find the local dialect difficult to understand. If you fly from Beijing for three hours, you won’t be able to understand the local dialect at all. Just like a French person in Germany, you don’t need to travel very far to experience culture differences.

It’s the same idea when it comes to food, especially at Chinese New Year.

Every time I browse a web page or chat with friends about Chinese New Year, it consistently amazes me how the traditions around the most important festival in China can be so different between families.

I’m creating this delicious roundup today, to share some cooking inspiration based on my understanding of Chinese New Year, as a Northerner and as a Beijinger. You might find some of the dishes unfamiliar or very different from the ones you know. I believe there is no right or wrong. It’s merely the manifestation of different backgrounds, traditions, and habits of individual families. And these differences make the topic of Chinese New Year recipes even more interesting.

Chinese New Year Food That We Eat in China

I am changing it up from the standard menu order and will go into the main dishes first. Because the main dishes are the only ones that matter. To nail down a New Year’s menu for the whole family, the host will choose the main dishes first and plan out the rest of the dishes around the mains.

To cook a proper feast for the whole family to celebrate the beginning of the year, we always include chicken, duck, fish, and a few types of meat.

Traditional Chinese food culture is not protein-based (we cook with rice, flour, and vegetables most of the time). Up until just 20 years ago, meat and fish were considered luxury items and couldn’t be served on a daily basis. It is for this exact reason that we serve every single type of meat for the New Year’s feast, no matter how much it costs. Because it represents that the coming year will be one of abundance and wealth for the family.

Main

The list of main dishes is largely based on the food my grandma used to serve on the first day of the New Year. You will find a lot of braised meat because it can be prepared ahead of time and reheated right before serving. I’ve mentioned it in my previous posts that an oven is not standard equipment in the average Chinese kitchen, so we generally don’t consider roasting meat at home. (We do serve roast chicken that we buy from the market.) That’s why the main dishes are usually steamed or braised. And we serve them with steamed white rice.

Mom’s Best Braised Chicken with Mushrooms

Braised Chicken with Mushroom (小鸡炖蘑菇) | omnivorescookbook.com

The Best Cantonese Roast Chicken (广式烧鸡)

This Cantonese roast chicken tastes even better than one at a good restaurant. The skin is truly crispy and the meat so moist and tender. Want to to cook a perfect Asian style chicken in the oven? Look no further!| omnivorescookbook.com

Authentic Chinese Steamed Fish

Authentic Chinese Steamed Fish | omnivorescookbook.com

Suan Cai Yu (酸菜鱼, Sichuan Fish with Pickled Mustard Greens)

Suan Cai Yu (酸菜鱼, Sichuan Fish with Pickled Mustard Greens) - The fish is sliced thinly and poached in a rich broth made from chicken stock, fish stock, and Sichuan pickles. | omnivorescookbook.com

Mom’s Best Braised Pork Spare Ribs

Mom’s Best Braised Pork Spare Ribs | omnivorescookbook.com

Chinese BBQ Char Siu (叉烧肉)

Chinese BBQ Char Siu - The perfect main dish to serve at a party. It’s also a great staple to have in your fridge because it’s so versatile and can be used in a variety of other dishes. | omnivorescookbook.com

Chinese Lion’s Head Pork Meatballs

Chinese Lion’s Head Pork Meatballs (狮子头) - Enjoy a healthier version of the tender and moist meatballs | omnivorescookbook.com

Uyghur Lamb Pilaf (Polo, 羊肉抓饭)

Lamb Pilaf - a western Chinese treasure | omnivoerscookbook.com

Mom’s Best Beef Stew with Tendon

Mom's best beef stew with tendon | Omnivore's Cookbook

Hardcore Chinese – Braised Pork Feet

Mom's Best Braised Pork Feet | omnivorescookbook.com

Mom’s Best Braised Duck Leg

Mom’s Best Braised Duck Leg | omnivorescookbook.com

Appetizer & Side

Appetizers and sides are much less important than the mains.

Dishes like egg rolls and pancakes are quite important, but they take longer to make. We usually buy frozen ones from the market for such an occasion. Sometimes we make them ahead of time and reheat them on the day of the feast.

A few dishes of cold vegetable salad and stir fried vegetables are usually served along the main dishes. Their main purpose is to balance the meal, so your stomach won’t feel too heavy afterwards. We always prefer the quick and easy ones.

Bang Bang Chicken

Bang Bang Chicken | Omnivore's Cookbook

Cantonese Chicken Egg Roll (广式鸡肉春卷)

Cantonese Chicken Egg Roll (广式鸡肉春卷) - This recipe is from a famous Hongkongese dim sum chef. A must-try if you’re into real Chinese food. | omnivorescookbook.com

Mom’s Best Duck Pancakes (春饼, Mandarin Pancakes)

Mom’s best duck pancakes (春饼, mandarin pancakes) - Learn the secrets to cooking paper-thin duck pancakes that are moist, light, and tender! | omnivorescookbook.com

Moo Shu Vegetables

Moo Shu Vegetables - A quick and delicious dish that you can serve as a side or enjoy as a main | omnivorescookbook.com

Golden Needle Mushroom Salad (凉拌金针菇)

Golden Needle Mushroom Salad | omnivorescookbook.com

Green Onion Tofu Salad (小葱拌豆腐)

Green Onion Tofu Salad | omnivorescookbook.com

Buddha’s Delight (Jai, Chinese Vegetarian Stew)

A classic and festive vegetarian dish made easy. The vegetable stew is great tasting, very flexible, and quite practical for home cooking on a daily basis - Buddha’s Delight (Jai, Chinese Vegetarian Stew) | omnivorescookbook.com

20 Quick and Easy Asian Side Dishes

20 Quick and Easy Asian Side Dishes - https://omnivorescookbook.com/20-asian-side-dishes

Staples

These are some of the dishes we serve at the end of the meal. Strictly speaking, boiled dumplings do not belong on this list, because they’re the main dish (and the only dish) we serve on New Year’s Eve (you can read a bit more about it here). I added it here because it’s a very important part of the Chinese New Year food culture. Also, we do freeze the leftover dumplings from New Year’s eve and serve them over the following days.

A noodle dish is a must because it represents longevity. We eat long noodles to pray for a long, happy life for a family. The first two noodle dishes below are classic Northern style. My family always chooses one or another.

Mom’s Best Lamb Dumplings

Mom's Best Lamb Dumpling - These soupy lamb dumplings are irresistible! The recipe can be used for cooking boiled dumplings and potstickers | omnivorescookbook.com

San Xian Potsticker with Pork, Shrimp and Shiitake Mushroom

San Xian Potsticker with Pork, Shrimp and Shiitake Mushroom | omnivorescookbook.com

Mom’s Best Chinese Gravy Noodles (Da Lu Mein, 打卤面)

Mom’s Best Chinese Gravy Noodles (Da Lu Mein, 打卤面) - the timelessly satisfying mother of all comfort foods | omnivorescookbook.com

Mom’s Best Zha Jiang Mian (炸酱面) – Fried Sauce Noodles

Zha Jiang Mian (炸酱面) - the pork and onion is cooked in a mouthwatering sweet savory sauce, a classic noodle dish of Beijing| omnivorescookbook.com

Biang Biang Noodles (Chinese Hot Sauce Noodles)

Biang Biang Noodles - With a spoonful of savory seasoned soy sauce and fresh, nutty hot sauce, the thick and meaty handmade noodles will bring you to foodgasm! | omnivorescookbook.com

Chinese Beef Meat Pie (牛肉馅饼)

Beef Meat Pie (牛肉馅饼) - A classic northern Chinese pastry. It has a moist savory filling and a crispy crust. It’s a large version of the potsticker and tastes even better! | omnivorescookbook.com

 

Sweets & Dessert

The reason you find this list surprisingly tiny is because dessert is not as important as the main dishes of the New Year culture. We do serve some cookies and chocolate during the festival, but we buy them from the market. In the past 10 years, many Chinese families have converted, and serve Western cookies and desserts now that they’ve become affordable.

Sticky Rice Cake with Red Bean Paste

Sticky Rice Cake with Red Bean Paste | Omnivore's Cookbook

Hawthorn Berry Juice

Hawthorn Berry Juice - a healthy and delicious treat in the winter. The juice is so rich, sweet, and fruity in flavor | omnivorescookbook.com

15 Delicious Chinese Cookies

Quinoa Sesame Brittle - Only 150 calories per serving, full of nutrition, and just 10 minutes active cooking time. | omnivorescookbook.com

What are the dishes you serve on the day of Chinese New Year? Leave a comment below to share your story 🙂

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Meet Maggie

Hi I'm Maggie Zhu! Welcome to my site about modern Chinese cooking - including street food, family recipes, and restaurant dishes. I take a less labor-intensive approach while maintaining the taste and look of the dish. I am originally from Beijing, and now cook from my Austin, Texas kitchen.

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7 thoughts on “Top 25 Chinese New Year Recipes

  1. Helen @ Scrummy Lane

    Oooh, how I would love to go to your mom’s Chinese New Year feast, Maggie! What a beautiful collection of recipes.
    The biang biang noodles look absolutely incredible … I remember those when you first posted them!

    Reply
  2. Monica

    What a showcase of great Chinese New Year recipes. Your pics are fantastic and I see so much I’d love to eat, any day! Happy upcoming year of the monkey! : )

    Reply
  3. Mona

    It’s the best Asian food blog. Thank you Maggie. I have always liked having Asian dishes at restaurants but preparing them at home has been a great experience in cooking as well as personal prefernces, although some of the ingredients aren’t easily available in a tier two city in India, I do try to make them in the best possible way!

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Mona, I’m glad to hear you like Chinese food! I believe Chinese and Indian cooking shares quite a few spices, so hopefully it’s not too difficult to find the ingredients. Do let me know if you have a question about certain ingredient. I might able to suggest alternatives.
      Happy cooking and hope your dishes turn out great 🙂

      Reply
  4. Aadya

    Its and awesome list of Recipes to try this Chinese new year! Especially Moo Shu Vegetables.. and the methods to Prepare it very simple and easy.. I have found an interesting news for all foodies! i came across that there is a Recipe cooking contest for Australians Can find more details Here Chinese Recipe cooking contest

    Reply