What to Eat: Chinese New Year Feast

Just when the holiday season was coming to an end, there’s one more excuse to drink, dine, and be merry.

Veggie and Pork Potstickers with Citrus-Soy Dipping Sauce by Dave Lieberman

The Food Network star shares his versatile recipe for a family favorite.

Dumplings made with pork, cabbage, or vegetables are classic Chinese New Year dishes, especially when they’re folded in the shape of silver ingots, or ancient Chinese money, to symbolize prosperity in the New Year. Making dumplings is a family affair, and so dumplings have also come to symbolize family unity. Often a golden coin or other little treat will be hidden inside the dumplings, bringing extra luck to the one who finds it.

Click here for the recipe.

Chinese-Style Steamed Bass by Victoria Blashford-Snell and Brigitte Hafner

Try cooking a whole fish, Chinese-style, with this recipe from two international culinary superstars.

The pronunciation of fish in Chinese—yú—is a homophone for “surpluses,” and so fish is traditionally eaten on Chinese New Year to symbolize the excess that people hope will come to them in the New Year. But not just any fish will do: The fish must be whole—eyes, fins, and all—to wish for completeness and good fortune in the coming year. (Using knives or other sharp objects to cut the fish is considered unlucky, as the cutting of meats and vegetables is tantamount to severing one’s good fortune.) Make sure not to eat the entire fish, though; Chinese families will always leave some of the fish on the plate as insurance for the “surpluses” they hope to receive.

Click here for the recipe.

Spicy Mustard Greens with Asian Noodles by Dave DeWitt and Nancy Gerlach

The king of spice will have guests asking for seconds with this hearty yet healthy combo.

Long noodles are eaten at Chinese New Year to symbolize long life, and the fact that these noodles are not only long but also totally healthy doesn’t hurt that claim. Leafy greens, such as the spicy mustard greens in this recipe, are eaten as a symbol of long life for parents, plus they’re high in vitamins and minerals. Feed this dish to Mom and Dad for double good luck.

Click here for the recipe.

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Oranges with Orange Blossom Sabayon by Pichet Ong

With roots in Southeast Asia and a hand in some of the hottest restaurants in New York, this distinguished dessert-er knows the perfect way to finish the meal.

Oranges are another Chinese New Year symbol derived from a homophone: The words for “orange” and “gold” sound nearly identical, and so oranges are eaten to promote wealth in the New Year. This dessert offers a double serving of oranges.

Click here for the recipe.

Lychee Martini by Susan Waggoner

The cocktail expert helps start the party with a new and delicious twist on the classic martini.

It wouldn’t be New Year’s without a cocktail, right? Even though drinking alcohol isn’t a big part of Chinese New Year, the sweet lychee nut is, as the food serves as a symbol of good relationships among family members, friends, and lovers. For fertility luck, place lychees under the bed…or just have a couple of these easy-to-drink cocktails, and see where the night takes you.

Click here for the recipe.

Plus: Check out Hungry Beast, for more news on the latest restaurants, hot chefs, and tasty recipes.