Chinese New Year is here and of course, as with every celebration, it involves food… lots and lots of food!! 

Many countries with Chinese influence start their new calendar according to the lunisolar calendar, so it’s not the same date every year. In 2022, the celebration begins on the 1st of February and will last for three days.

One of the world’s most popular cuisines is Chinese and what people eat during the festival is very important. According to Taoism, the country’s primary belief, the food they eat will determine their fortune that year.

Each food has its meaning, and here is a short guide to what each one means for you:

Side Dishes (According to Asian eating culture)



This sea creature is considered a rare delicacy and can be rather expensive. Back in the day, Abalone was food for Chinese emperors and aristocrats. Because of its association with the people of the ruling class, the ingredient became the symbol of wealth.

Meaning: Wealthy

Dishes: Braised Abalone and Steamed Abalone with Tangerine Peel


The chicken crows when the sun rises, making it the symbol of a hard worker in many cultures, including Chinese culture. Common and affordable, this is a few popular dish this time of year.

Meaning: Getting Promoted

Dishes: Chinese Drunken Chicken and Boiled Chicken


Another poultry in this list, duck, is a slightly less common ingredient than chicken; however, duck became a staple on Chinese New Year during the reign of the Yuan Dynasty through Peking Duck. This dish used to be a medicinal dish to cleanse the body.

Meaning: Purity

Dish: Peking Duck


The word fish in Chinese, both in Mandarin and Cantonese pronounce yu, which sounds similar to the surplus or extra in Chinese. It is often used to bless people for extra fortune.

Meaning: Surplus or extra

Dish: Soy Sauce Steamed Fish


Chinese Roasted Pig-2

The pig symbolises wealth and strength in Chinese culture due to its physical appearance. In Chinese New Year, they roast a whole teenage pig for the feast. 

Meaning: Wealth and strength

Dish: Roasted Pig

Red King Crab


Red king crab is also an expensive ingredient. Red king crab has to be preserved with care after catching. The red king crabs live in cold water, so if the crab body temperature changes, the meat won’t be the best quality.

Meaning: Having an excellent career

Dishes: Chinese Steamed Egg with Red King Crab Meat and Red King Crab Soup

Nian Gao

Some people may be familiar with the sentence “Nian Nian Gao Sheng”, which means “Wishing you in advance toward higher positions and prosperity step by step.” The “Nian Gao ” in the middle of that sentence puns with the Chinese dessert Nian Gao, making it the Chinese New Year staple.

Meaning: Blessing for higher positions and prosperity

Dish: Chinese Sticky Rice Cake



According to Chinese folklore, there was a Peaches of Immortality. These peaches ripen every thousand years and grant humans immortality when consumed. To bless people with long life, Chinese people make this dessert to imitate this mythical fruit.

Meaning: Longevity

Dish: A lotus seed paste stuffed in Bao shaped of peach

Now you know about some of the key foods and their meanings it’s time to enjoy the festivities, eat plenty and celebrate the year of the tiger! Be sure to head over to our directory to find the best Chinese restaurants in Bangkok.

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