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Symbolism of Traditional Chinese New Year Foods

Do You Know the Significance of Chinese New Year Foods?

Lunar New Year celebrations usher in the Year of the Dragon on Monday and, with them, a buffet-full of culinary delights. If you've been lucky enough to partake in a traditional Chinese New Year feast, you also may have learned the significance behind each dish. I hope you took notes because today we're testing you on your knowledge of Chinese New Year dishes and foods!

Source: Flickr User avlxyz

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You might know them from take-out menus as dumplings or pot stickers, but jiaozi are a staple of Lunar New Year meals. What do these little meat purses signify?

Source: Flickr User [cipher]

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Tradition states that you should never cut a noodle because the strands symbolize what?

Source: Flickr User avlxyz

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Down a plate of Buddha's Delight, and you'll cash in on more than just a belly full of stir-fried vegetables. The Cantonese word for the dish's thin black mushrooms (fat choy) also sounds like the word for what auspicious quality?

Source: Flickr User FotoosVanRobin

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In spite of the head staring back at you from the plate, a whole chicken represents good things in the coming year, including:

Source: Flickr User Noonch

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Nian gao are sweet sticky-rice cakes whose name also sounds like "getting higher year by year." What are people hoping to increase?

Source: Flickr User Ju-x

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Tea eggs are simmered in a savory soy sauce broth and cracked halfway through cooking so that the liquid can infuse the egg. Why are eggs such a popular addition to a Chinese New Year banquet?

Source: Flickr User FotoosVanRobin

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During Lunar New Year, tangerines are handed out like candy on Halloween. The word for tangerine (jin ju) sounds like what favorable gift?

Source: Flickr User Gary Soup

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A celebratory meal would not be complete without a whole fish. Keeping the head and tail intact provides a beneficial beginning and end to the New Year, especially because the word for fish (yu) also sounds like the word for what?

Source: Flickr User avlxyz

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