8 Chinese New Year Foods You’ll Need to Eat for Good Luck in 2017

You don’t need to be Chinese to celebrate.

Welcome to the year of the rooster! If you want to usher in good luck for the rest of the year, make sure you include these eight lucky foods in your diet this month. Gung hee fat choy!


1. Dumplings

Chinese New Year dumplings.



Order eight dumplings (chicken or pork) instead of four. The lucky number eight symbolizes good fortune. The shape of the dumplings resemble gold ingots, symbolic of wealth, so eat up! 

$11, Little Village Noodle House, 113 Smith St., 545-3008



2. Jai

Chinese New Year jai.
Photo: Diane Lee 


Don’t be fooled by the looks of this vegetarian stew known as “jai” or “Buddha’s delight,” it’s quite flavorful and filling. You’ll find this dish served at most Chinese family dinner tables during the new year. Mei Sum provides a generous serving at least eight ingredients (a lucky number in Chinese culture), including bean curd (wealth and happiness), bamboo shoots (wealth), tofu (wealth and happiness—do you see a pattern here?), water chestnuts (unity), rice noodles (long life), snowpeas (unity), black mushrooms (longevity) and wood ear (longevity).

$12.95, Mei Sum Chinese Dim Sum Restaurant, 1170 Nu‘uanu Ave.



3. Noodles

Chinese New Year noodles.


Want to live longer? Eat uncut noodles as they symbolize long life. Water Drop Vegetarian House’s fried noodles might be void of char siu, but definitely not lacking in flavor. 

$6, Water Drop Vegetarian House, 801 Alakea St., 545-3455



4. Whole Fish

Chinese New Year fish.



The Chinese often eat whole fish (with the head and tail intact) for dinner. Whole fish is symbolic of a good year from start to finish. Pick up a whole fish from the Chinatown fish market and ask them to clean it for you. You can pan fry the fish or steam it with ginger, green onions and soy sauce. You’ll start off your new year right, plus get your dose of vitamins D and B-12.



5. Gin Dui

Chinese New Year gin dui.
Photo: Diane Lee 


Coconut, red bean, char siu—yum! The gin dui from Mei Sum is fried just right—perfectly round and not too oily.

$2.75, Mei Sum Chinese Dim Sum Restaurant, 1170 Nu‘uanu Ave.



6. Gao

Chinese New Year gau.
Photo: Diane Lee


This mochilike dessert, also known as “nian gao,” is made from simple ingredients: water, oil, brown sugar, glutinous rice flour, red date and sesame seeds. The rising of the dough during the steaming process is symbolic of achieving heights in the new year. You’ll want to eat gao when it’s fresh, especially since it gets moldy within a few days.

$2.99 each, Sun Chong Grocery, 127 N. Hotel St. 



7. Chinese New Year Candies

Chinese New Year candies.



Add these candies to your tea. It’ll sweeten your tea and the rest of your year. Sing Cheong Yuen Bakery has the widest selection of candies, including water chestnuts, dried coconuts, peach and apples. 

Prices vary, Sing Cheong Yuen Chinese Bakery, 1027 Maunakea St., 531-6688



8. Tangerines




Tangerines represent luck, so pick up fresh ones from Chinatown or your nearest grocery store. Place two tangerines accompanied with a red envelope or “li-si” by your pillow for double the luck! 


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