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[2024] Chinese New Year Food Ideas

Shanoon Cox
Shanoon Cox
Originally published Jan 19, 22, updated Jun 12, 24
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Chinese New Year is almost upon us. It's almost time for our friends and family to gather around us. In that mad scramble, it's important to have your menu planned out in advance. You can also include certain dishes with auspicious ingredients for dinner.

We've compiled a list of Chinese New Year food ideas for you. These Chinese New Year menu ideas are a must-have for the Spring Festival. Whether you're looking for Chinese New Year food ideas for preschoolers or adults, they work well for all. Let's dive into these delectable dishes, desserts, and snacks you can share with your loved ones.

Part 1. Chinese New Year Menu Ideas

We've organized our menu ideas according to what you can serve. The appetizers can be served anytime during the two-week-long Chinese New Year festival. The main courses are suited to being the centerpieces of any meal you serve. Let's dive into this juicy list of lunar new year menu ideas.

1.1 Appetizers

When done right, these appetizers can be the best Chinese New Year gifts

for your family.

1.1.1 Cha Guo Savory Rice Cakes

The Cha Guo glutinous rice cakes are a sumptuous savory treat. They're made of shiitake mushrooms, pork fillings, shrimp, and daikon radishes. Once you perfect the texture and chewiness of the cha guo, you can have an unbeatable new year dish on your hands.

cha guo savory rice cake

1.1.2 Cantonese Spring Rolls

The crunchy wrapper with its delicious filling of mushrooms, pork, and assorted vegetables is the highlight of your day. They can be eaten with an assortment of dipping sauces like soy sauces, chili oil, chili garlic sauce, or vinegar.

cantonese spring rolls

1.1.3 Shandong Pork and Fish Dumplings

Shandong dumplings are known for their seafood fillings. You can include ingredients like mackerel, ink-fish, croaker, or uni. You can vary the ratios of vegetables, pork, and fish to make your fillings. The delicate taste of mackerel and the savory bite of pork is unrivaled when combined.

shandong pork and fish dumplings

1.2 Main Course

Dishes for the main course can be served individually. You can also mix and match these ideas to create a sublime dining experience.

1.2.1 Lions Head Meatballs

You can use Chinese pork meatballs that are light, juicy, and bursting with flavor for this recipe. It's easy to make when making in large batches. The flavors are a comforting and mouthwatering mix.

lions head meatballs

1.2.2 Chinese Fried Squab

This special dish is not one you often see on the menu. Squab or pigeon meat might be rare and expensive in some places in the world. It’s a delicacy and a rare treat in China. If you want to add a rare recipe to your repertoire, then the fried squab is the way to go.

fried squab for chinese new year

1.2.3 Sour Plum Duck

The sour plum duck is a classic dish beloved by kids and adults alike. This recipe is incomplete without the sour plum sauce with a tender, juicy duck. It can be part of hit Chinese New Year dinner ideas for your family.

sour plum duck

1.2.4 Shanghai Braised Pork Belly with Arrowhead Root

This red-cooked pork is a healthy alternative to the famous dish. You can add in some bean curd to complement the unique flavor of arrowroot in the dish. With just eight ingredients, this dish can be a hit with your family.

1.2.5 Red Braised Fish

Out of all possible fish dishes, you can use the Red Braised Fish to welcome new years eve or new year's day. The fish represents abundance in Chinese culture. You can see at least one fish-based dish every lunar new year.

red braised fish

1.2.6 Lobster Sticky Fried Rice

This succulent dish is not a traditional new year offering. Lobsters are a bit labor-intensive to prepare and serve. You can, however, reap the rewards by having a decadent meal with lobster fried rice on the menu.

lobster sticky fried rice

Part 2. Chinese New Year Potluck Ideas

You should probably bring a host gift if you're visiting family for Lunar New Year. If you're stuck on Chinese New Year gifts Amazon can be a good resource. They have an algorithm that helps you find appropriate gifts for the Chinese New Year. If you're planning to get gifts for the whole family, then a Chinese New Year gift bag can help. If not, here are some potluck ideas.

2.1 Longevity Noodles

Longevity Noodles are made to be unbroken. The Chinese culture has it they represent a wish for long life. They're considered lucky if eaten in a single bite. They can be thoughtful Asian New Year's gifts if you wish for someone's long life and well-being.

2.2 Nian Gao Rice Cakes

In Chinese culture, sticky rice cake signifies "rising year after year." In the eyes of people in China, the above suggests blessings for higher grades, lucrative business, or a child's growth. Sticky rice, chestnuts, dates, sugar, and lotus leaves are the most important ingredients in Nian Gao.

nian gao rice cakes

2.3 Tang Yuan Sweet Rice Balls

The Tang Yuan symbolizes harmony and togetherness. The chewy texture of the rice balls is a lovely contrast to the silky smooth broth. You can add in colored rice balls for a striking visual appeal. Adding black sesame seeds can sprinkle a unique crunchy texture into the dish.

tang yuan sweet rice balls

2.4 Dumplings

Dumplings are at the heart of a potluck because they are versatile. We've already recommended the pork and fish Shandong dumplings. You can also make soup dumplings, gyoza, or pan-fried dumplings. Popular ingredients include pork, fish, shrimp, crab meat, and mushrooms. Dumplings are easy to make and can be sweet or savory depending on how you prefer to make them.

Part 3. Chinese New Year Dessert Ideas

To those who are looking for appropriate gifts for the lunar new year. Why not consider bringing in Chinese New Year snacks? Here is a list of popular Chinese New Year dessert ideas for you.

3.1 ChineseTaro Balls:

These delicious purple chewy balls are made from mashed taro and sweet potato. They're served chilled in the summer and warmed with syrup in winter.

chinese taro balls

3.2 Sesame Peanut Brittle:

A peanut brittle is a rarely seen treat for Chinese New Year. It used to be the go-to candy in times when sugar was too expensive. It can still hold a place on our new year table. Here's one for unusual Chinese New Year menu ideas.

3.3 Almond Cookies:

The sweet round almond cookies can symbolize coins and wealth. They are said to bring in good fortune. The surface is crisp with a crumbly bite. It has a delicate flavor and the nuttiness of almonds.

almond cookies for chinese new year

3.4 Eight Treasures Rice Pudding:

Known as Babaofan, it's a must-have snack for Chinese New Year. This sticky rice pudding is sweet and can have different textures depending on the ingredients. It's commonly topped with fruits, nuts, and seeds. Fillings can include red bean paste and a side of chrysanthemum syrup.

Part 4. Chinese New Year Snack Ideas

Another way you can help when visiting friends and relatives is by bringing snacks. They're also good as a Chinese New Year-appropriate gift for hosts. Here are some Chinese New Year snack ideas for you. You can also turn them into a lunar new year gift basket if you can't decide on a single snack.

4.1 Red Dates:

Red dates can be eaten as dried fruits or brewed into tea. Dates have a pronunciation that means a head start. Red Dates are always welcome at celebrations like weddings, birthdays, and the Spring festival.

red dates for chinese new year

4.2 Peanuts:

They symbolize vitality, wealth, and longevity, sometimes known as longevity nuts. Remember to present the peanuts unshelled on new year's. You can eat them raw or steam them with a little salt.

4.3 Glutinous Rice Dumplings:

These dumplings are also known as Zongzi and are served as a new year's snack. They're made from ingredients like chestnuts, peanuts, and pork. They're often steamed when wrapped in bamboo leaves.

4.4 Longans:

Dried longans have long been associated with reunions. This is due to their homophonic association with 'round' and 'expensive.' Dried longans, according to traditional Chinese medicine, can boost one's energy. Dried longans are usually served unshelled. You can consume the flesh raw or use it to create tea.

dried longans for chinese new year


These Chinese New Year menu ideas are a way to bring your family together. No lunar festival is complete without a sumptuous spread of delicacies. This article attempts to provide conventional and unconventional Chinese New Year food ideas. The dishes are an assortment of appetizers, main dishes with seafood options.

If there is one thing you can carry with you, it's the cherished memory of food and loved ones. The year of the tiger indicates the opportunity for great energy and industry. These Chinese New Year menu ideas can sustain you throughout the coming year.

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