10 Excellent Asian Dishes for a Lunar New Year Celebration

From dumplings to pork buns, here are 10 lucky dishes to ring in the Year of the Dog

Celebrated in many Asian countries, Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year is one of the largest celebrations in the world. As families gather to exchange wishes for good fortune and cash-filled red envelopes, they also enjoy a constellation of delicious, auspicious foods meant to bring prosperity and health in the year to come. From long noodles representing longevity to steamed fish representing abundance—and tons of dumplings in between—many festive Lunar New Year dishes are imbued with symbolic purpose. We've rounded up 8 of our favorite traditional Chinese recipes and Asian recipes that are perfect for ringing in the Year of the Dog.

Boiled Pork and Chive Dumplings

boiled pork and chive dumplings
Boiled Pork and Chive DumplingsHeami Lee

The go-to Chinese filling: juicy pork mixed with the fresh onion flavor of garlic chives. Try to find a fatty blend of ground pork; it will improve the filling's flavor and juiciness. Chopped garlic chives, which have a peppery raw-garlic flavor, and fresh ginger cut through the rich meat. Make sure the dumplings are completely sealed and devoid of air bubbles to prevent any leaks during boiling. This recipe is adapted from The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook. Get the recipe for Boiled Pork and Chive Dumplings »

Chinese Steamed Pork Buns (Char Siu Bao)

Steamed Pork Buns
Chinese Steamed Pork Buns (Char Siu Bao)Matt Taylor-Gross

Cornstarch adds a silkiness to bao dough, mimicking the bleached, low-protein flour commonly used in Chinese bakeries (but harder to find in supermarkets). Lard adds tenderness, richness, and a subtle porky finish. Get the recipe for Chinese Steamed Pork Buns (Char Siu Bao) »

Shanghai Stir-Fried Rice Cakes (Chao Nian Gao)

Shanghai Stir-Fried Rice Cakes (Chao Nian Gao)
Shanghai Stir-Fried Rice Cakes (Chao Nian Gao)Ingalls Photography

Chewy rice cakes bring delightful texture to this spicy vegetarian stir-fry. Get the recipe for Shanghai Stir-Fried Rice Cakes (Chao Nian Gao) »

Steamed Fish with Ginger and Scallions (Ging Zheng Yu)

Steamed Fish with Ginger and Scallions (Ging Zheng Yu)
Steamed Fish with Ginger and Scallions (Ging Zheng Yu)Christie Johnston

You can use a bamboo steamer instead of a wok or skillet to steam the fish for this simple Taiwanese favorite. For a Chinese New Year tradition, save some of the fish for the next day to represent an abundant year. Get the recipe for Steamed Fish with Ginger and Scallions (Ging Zheng Yu) »

Cong Bao Rou Si (Stir-Fried Pork with Leeks)

Cong Bao Rou Si (Stir-Fried Pork with Leeks)
Cong Bao Rou Si (Stir-Fried Pork with Leeks)Todd Coleman

This recipe employs a "reverse" stir-fry technique, in which the vegetables are cooked before the meat. It tends to be forgiving for a novice stir-fryer, since vegetables release water as they cook and won't stick the way that meat will if the wok isn't quite hot enough. Get the recipe for Cong Bao Rou Si (Stir-Fried Pork with Leeks) »

Vietnamese Lettuce Wraps

Vietnamese Lettuce Wraps
Vietnamese Lettuce WrapsMaxime Iattoni

A fragrant and satisfying appetizer (as well as an excellent use for leftover roast pork and poached or steamed shrimp), these flavorful bundles are great dipped in nuoc cham, a sweet and spicy Vietnamese sauce. Get the recipe for Vietnamese Lettuce Wraps »

Cold Sesame Noodles

Cold Sesame Noodles
Cold Sesame NoodlesMaxime Iattoni

Peanut butter, sesame paste, and chile-garlic paste combine to make a silky, savory sauce for these noodles—a Chinese-American restaurant staple. Chopped peanuts and a flurry of slivered cucumber and carrot add crunch. Get the recipe for Cold Sesame Noodles »

Chinese Tea Eggs

Chinese Tea Eggs
Chinese Tea EggsTodd Coleman

Cooked in a flavorful marinade of soy sauce, star anise, and cinnamon, these tea-stained eggs are a Lunar New Year staple and a favorite everyday snack in China. Get the recipe for Chinese Tea Eggs »

Daikon Cake with Garlic Hoisin Sauce (Luo Go Bao)

Daikon Cake with Garlic Hoisin Sauce (Luo Go Bao)
Daikon Cake with Garlic Hoisin Sauce (Luo Go Bao)Todd Coleman

A Chinese New Year treat, these daikon and rice flour cakes are flavored with savory dried sausage and served with a spicy hoisin sauce. Get the recipe for Daikon Cake with Garlic Hoisin Sauce (Luo Go Bao) »

Crab Spring Rolls

Crab Spring Rolls
Crab Spring RollsAndré Baranowski

For making spring rolls, most Vietnamese-American home cooks use the spongy, wheat-based wrappers called TYJ Spring Roll Pastry, which are made by the Spring Home company. They're available frozen at most Asian food stores. Get the recipe for Crab Spring Rolls »