Celebrate the Year of the Rabbit with These Chinese New Year Dishes

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Are you ready to ring in the Year of the Rabbit on January 22, 2023? This year, Joe and I will be celebrating Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) with some friends at a Chinese restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky. Although we decided to go out this year, I still plan on making a few of our favorite Chinese New Year dishes for a taste of the meal we would share with our families if we were together.

Whether you are going out or making a meal at home, below are some Chinese New Year dishes that we enjoy (and some you can order at a restaurant).

Chinese New Year Dishes

Chinese New Year dishes

Every family has their own traditions when it comes to celebrating Spring Festival and there are certain dishes that are eaten not just because they taste delicious, but we also eat them because of the special meaning. I hope you enjoy reading about them and the significance behind why we eat these Chinese New Year dishes.

Fish (鱼 yú)

Chinese new year dishes - whole fish

Fish represents having surplus for the following year making it an essential dish to eat on Chinese New Year. From whole fish with a soy glaze to fish balls in hot pot, there are many ways to enjoy fish on this holiday.

Meatballs (团圆 tuán yuán)

Chinese New Year Dishes - pearl meatballs

Meatballs represent being together with loves ones. There’s a reason traveling home for Chinese New Year has been called one of the largest annual human migrations in the world. Being with family is the most important aspect of Spring Festival and sharing a plate of meatballs together is very significant. Our family loves to make these pearl meatballs because they are simple and delicious. In fact, we usually plan to make this favorite Chinese New Year dish at least twice during the multi-day celebration.

Dumplings (饺子 jiǎo zi)

Chinese steamed dumplings

Dumplings represent wealth and prosperity making them another must have Chinese New Year dish. When we’re celebrating with my mom, she’ll make wrappers from scratch so we can have steamed dumplings. One of my favorite parts of making dumplings is we can have all types of fillings and it’s a fun activity that the whole family can participate in. Plus, we can play guess who wrapped this dumpling when it’s time to eat them. Can you tell the difference in folding style among the dumplings in the photo above?

Check out my pork and celery dumpling recipe.

Pork (五花肉 wǔ huā ròu)

Chinese pork belly

This sweet and savory braised pork belly is part of our family tradition and an indulgence on Chinese New Year. Pork belly is sometimes referred to as five layers of happiness and who wouldn’t want to start the year off right with a generous helping of happiness? Pigs are also associated with wealth and prosperity making it a key ingredient in many popular Chinese New Year dishes.

Shrimp (虾 xiā)

Chinese fried shrimp

Shrimp represent happiness and joy in Chinese culture. This plate of golden deliciousness is my family’s recipe for fried shrimp. I used to watch my grandparents make these in their outdoor wok and they would let me taste one before the plate made it to the dinner table. My mom and I have carried on this family recipe and continue to make it for the holiday.

I hope you enjoyed reading some of the Chinese New Year dishes we eat together as a family. Let me know what some of your favorite dishes are and whether there is a special meaning behind the dish by leaving a comment below.

Wishing you and your family happiness and good health in the New Year! (新年快乐! xīn nián kuài lè!)

If you are interested in learning more about Lunar New Year, look for events and activities in a city near you. We found this celebration hosted by the Buddha Blessed Temple in Louisville which included dragon dance and lion dance performances.

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10 thoughts on “Celebrate the Year of the Rabbit with These Chinese New Year Dishes”

  1. Please share the braised pork belly and fish recipe?
    We lived in Shanghai for a year, husband was a Fulbright Professor teaching at a law school. Everyone always asks us what we miss most about living in China and we answer, the FOOD!

    FYI – In December, we purchased our first Class B RV, 2018 Hymer Activ 2.0, with the power sofa. It’s winterized now since we live in Maryland. Looking forward to using it to attend our son’s college lacrosse games this spring in the Northeast US. Also, want to trek across the US to visit our daughters in Chicago and LA. We are not RVers, nor campers, but, after watching hours of your videos and reading your first book, I was inspired and excited about taking the plunge to RV life. And, I love the Hymer. Hubby, for now, is along for the ride, only I drive. Looking forward to reading your second book before we head out on the open road this spring. BTW-I am half Filipino so I have an affinity for Kait since we share an Asian background.

    • Hi Renae. I didn’t write down the recipe for those two dishes, but if we make them again I’ll make a note of the ingredients. Did you and your husband ever make it to Chengdu? It’s considered the “The Capital of Chinese Gastronomy.” Also, congrats on your camper and that’s awesome you’re driving! Enjoy your trip this spring and maybe we’ll see you on the road.

  2. Wow, that looks great. What a feast. Joe you are a lucky guy to have wait and her family to share their traditions. My wife started a 30 day Vegan challenge. I am trying to be supportive but it would be too drastic for me. Best of luck when you get your new rig. I can’t wait to see what you chose. Happy camping.

      • Hey Joe,

        I enjoy you and your wife Kate’s videos. I look foward to traveling around the country in 3 years. My wife has a son who is a sophomore in high school. Maybe after that I can talk my Chinese wife to see the country in an RV? (not easy to get a chineese women to really enjoy the RV life….with a dog, but I’m working on it)
        I see you guys sold your class A not to long ago and are waiting to recieve your class B unit. Good luck with it when it arrives. Im thinking 2 year old Super C. Anyway keep up the good work and happy trails.

        Mark from Elk Grove Ca.

        • Good luck working on changing her mind Mark! Kait was the one who came up with the idea to do this so she was the one trying to convince me!
          A Super C is a great choice in my opinion. We’re ready to get back on the road and hoping we have the new rig soon.


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