Chinese Lucky Foods

Chinese Lucky Foods by Lillian Bridges:

Licensed acupuncturist and leading authority on Chinese face reading and diagnosis

Chinese New Year is the biggest holiday celebrated by Chinese people around the world.  Here’s a list of lucky foods to eat during the Chinese New Year celebration period from New Year’s Eve to 15 days after New Year’s Day, which culminates in the Lantern Festival. The traditional Chinese New Year celebration begins with a New Year’s Eve Reunion Dinner, bringing together family and friends and of course eating lucky foods.  Then, what’s eaten on New Year’s Day is also very important.  You have 15 days to eat these lucky foods to bring you good fortune in the coming year, but of course you can enjoy them anytime!

Abalone – definite good fortune

Apple – wisdom, peace

Apricot, dried – gold, wealth

Arrowhead Roots– a good life

Bamboo Pith – long life

Bamboo Shoots – wealth, a new start, long life

Banana – brilliance at school or work

Bean Curd/Dried or Pressed Tofu – fulfillment of wealth and happiness

Bean Curd Sticks/Dried/Tofu Skin – blessings on the house

Bean Sprouts – positive start for the New Year, get your heart’s desire

Black Moss – growing wealth

Napa Cabbage – much prosperity and luck

Carrots – good luck and money

Cashew Nut – gold, money

Celery – good hard work

Chinese Chives/Garlic Chives – something good lasts forever, longevity

Cilantro/Coriander Leaves – serendipity

Chicken – happiness in marriage and togetherness

Chicken, whole – prosperity, togetherness of the family, joy

Chinese Garlic Chives – long life

Clams/Scallops – opening of new horizons, wealth

Coconut – promotes togetherness and family bonds

Corn – growth

Daikon Radish – good omens

Daylily Buds/Golden Needles – wealth

Duck – creativity and fertility

Dumplings – wealth and abundance and bringing in the new. Steamed and boiled represent silver, fried represent gold. Round Dumplings mean togetherness and heavenly blessings.

Eggs  – creativity and fertility

Egg Rolls/Spring Rolls – money, wealth and gold

Greens/Green Vegetables – abundance and longevity for parents

Fish, whole – an increase in prosperity and an abundance of extra wealth. The head and tail symbolize a good beginning and end of the year

Fish Balls – reunion

Five Vegetable Stir Fry – gives the Five Blessings of Longevity, Riches, Peace, Wisdom and Virtue

Gingko Nuts – wealth and good fortune

Glass Noodles/Bean Thread Noodles – silver chain

Grapes – wealth, abundance, fertility, creativity and family harmony

Greens – abundance

Jujubes/Chinese Dates – wealth, prosperity, fertility and creativity

Kumquat – gold, wealth and fortune

Leek – clever with money

Lettuce – prosperity and growing wealth, good for a fresh start. When used as a wrap, it means a baby may be conceived soon or creative inspiration will occur.

Longan – many good children or a lot of new creative ideas

Lotus Root – continuing wealth

Lotus Seeds – a lot of money in your wallet, many children

Lychees – close family ties

Meatballs – close family ties and reunion of family members

Melon – family unity and when candied, it also means growth and good health

Mu’er/Tree Ear or Wood Mushroom – longevity

Mung Bean Thread Noodles – Long Life when served uncut

Wheat or Rice Noodles – long life when served uncut

Onion – cleverness

Oranges and Tangerines – luck, wealth and gold. They are even better with the leaves attached, as this means longevity

Oysters – receptivity to good fortune, good business and when dried, it means good things are coming and good luck

Peach – immortality and brings increased beauty. A pair of Peaches means wealth, abundance, long healthy life and great fortune for many generations

Peanuts – health, long life, birth of prosperity, continuous growth, multiplication in wealth, good fortune and stability

Pineapple – wealth, luck, excellent fortune, gambling luck
Pistachios – happiness

Pomegranate – many offspring, increased creativity

Pomelo – continuous abundance, prosperity and status

Pork – strength, wealth, abundant blessing

Pumpkin – prosperity, abundance, descendant’s luck, illustrious children, enchantment, fruit draws the earth energy to manifest gold

Radish Cake/Turnip Cake – Good Omens

Rice – abundance, fertility, luck, wealth. Rice symbolizes the link between Heaven and Earth and when sticky means the family will stick together

Rice Cakes, both sweet and savory – increasing prosperity every year and higher position

Scallions/Green Onions – brings intelligence

Seaweed – prosperity, good luck and increased wealth

Seeds – lotus seeds, watermelon seeds, sesame seeds – many children and more creative ideas

Shitake Mushrooms/Dried Black Mushrooms – longevity, seizing opportunities

Shrimp – happiness and good fortune

Snow Peas– unity

Sweets – safety, good fortune and a sweet life in the New Year

Walnut – happiness for the entire family

Water Chestnuts – unity


  •       For fun, the Chinese will often add a small coin inside one of the New Year’s Dumplings so that the person who finds it is showered with good fortune and wealth. If you decide to do this, warn everyone to bite into his or her dumplings carefully!
  •      Often 8 snacks are served together and called the Tray of Togetherness. Eight is a lucky number and also is symbolic of wealth
  •      Tray of Togetherness – 8 snacks served together
  •      Serve Bean Curd fried, dried or marinated so that is not white in color
  •      Fresh Fruit symbolizes life and new beginning
  • The round shape of Chinese New Year’s foods symbolizes family reunions
  • Seeds of any kind enhance fertility and creativity

Visit Lillian’s Chinese Five Element Food blog ; she is the co-author of Chinese Divine Cuisine and founder of Lotus Institute


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