Each year, the Chinese Lunar New Year (or spring festival) is associated with a different animal sign that coincides with the current year along a 12-year cycle. This year, 15 days of festivities will mark the Year of the Sheep (or Goat/Ram), which sits in the eighth spot on the Chinese zodiac.

The Lunar New Year—which is observed by those from Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and many other East Asian cultures—serves up an array of colorful costumes, delectable dumplings and steamed buns, awe-inspired multicultural performances (i.e., the lion dance), and intensely flavored lucky dishes.

Gong Xi Fa Cai (Mandarin)! Gong Hey Fat Choy (Cantonese)!

1. Steamed Bao Buns

Steamed Chinese bread rolls, or buns are considered a savory, spicy treat for special occasions, such as the Lunar New Year. Each delicious nibble of puffy, steamed dough encases succulent barbecue pork, plus an array of tangy pickled carrot and mooli (pickled daikon or winter radish). Pop one into your mouth while it’s still warm and your mouth will water.


Source: BBC Good Food


2. Jiaozi Dumplings

The word “jiaozi” is taken from the Chinese word for family/home (or jia), a central part of the Lunar New Year celebration in which generations, take care of one another and rejoice in their supportive communities during the holidays. Jiaozi dumplings are labor-intensive and so prepared in assembly line fashion with the entire family kneading, rolling, and stacking wheat dough; filling dumplings with pork or vegetables; folding and “crimping” (pinching the edges tight); and finally boiling dumplings for the feasting.


Source: Epicurious.com

3. Almond Cookies

It’s tradition to prepare batches of these delicate Chinese-Malaysian sweets in preparation for the Chinese Lunar New Year. Made only days prior to the big event, these nutty, crumbly, almond-infused cookies taste fresh, delicious, and just like home. Made with a sweet, powdery mixture of almond extract and almond slivers, these tiny treats will literally melt in your mouth.


Source: Rasamalaysia.com

4. Caramelized Scallop Miang

These dainty and oh-so-elegant Asian appetizers are a simple yet satisfying combination of caramelized scallops on a bed of miang (or betel leaves), a peppery, leafy green. The trimmings are the most impressive aspect of this app—a blend of shredded coconut, roasted peanut pieces, chili bean paste, brown sugar, fish sauce, chopped shallots, coriander, and kaffir lime.


Source: Taste.com.au

5. Money Bag Wontons

This tray of golden, fried dumplings is meant to symbolize dim sum purses—a token of luck, wealth, and prosperity for the Chinese New Year ahead. They are so pretty and delicious though, that I make them all year round. Prepared crispy fried wontons are filled with a mixture of savory veggies or meat and tied with soaked pandan leaf strips.


Source: NoobCook.com


6. Mama Ruthie’s Famous Chinese Egg Rolls

These crispy, never soggy, golden-fried egg rolls are directly from Mom’s kitchen…with love. Don’t be tempted to overstuff them with the delectable filling of ground pork, garlic, shredded cabbage, shiitake mushroom, soy sauce, carrot, fresh ginger, and rice wine. Keeping the filling thin will ensure a tight, paper-thin wrap and that memorable earth-shattering crunch!


Source: SteamyKitchen.com

7. Fortune Fruit Salad

It’s little wonder that this juicy mixture of fresh fruits—including pineapple, raspberries, lychees, kumquats, oranges, and sliced pomelo—would bring immeasurable luck for the year ahead. It’s healthy and delicious when tossed with a fruit-spiced syrup of unforgettable flavors, like Mandarin juice, cloves, star anise, cinnamon sticks, and maple syrup.

fruit salad

Source: Cooking Channel TV

8. San Yang Kai Tai

There’s no better way to celebrate the year of the goat (or sheep/ram) then with a goat-based stew that will warm your belly and bring you good luck for the upcoming lunar year. San yang kai tai is a traditional, slow-cooked stew that mingles the flavors of goat meat with fragrant ginger, cabbage, radish, and green onion. You’ll be interested to know that the phrase “san yang kai tai” was once used as a popular greeting of “good luck” in China.

San Yang Kai Tai

Source: Paste Magazine


Anna adores cooking, drinking wine, and listening to records, but she does a lot of yoga to balance things out ;) This explains the black bean brownie disaster of 2007 (don't bring that up). She's noshed in countries like Greece, Turkey, France, Ireland, Costa Rica, and numerous other weird, yummy places that will get her waxing all poetic about her favorite recipes.

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