15 Excellent Asian Dishes for a Lunar New Year Celebration

From dumplings to pork buns, here are 15 lucky dishes to ring in the Year of the Ox

While often referred to as “Chinese New Year” for its connection to the Chinese lunisolar calendar, the Lunar New Year is actually observed throughout much of Asia, including Korea, Singapore, and Vietnam, just to name a few, making it 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 wide range of delicious and auspicious foods intended to usher in prosperity and health in the year to come, like long noodles representing longevity and steamed whole fish, which signify abundance. We’ve rounded up 15 of our favorite lunar new year recipes, including traditional Chinese recipes and Asian recipes, that are perfect for ringing in the Year of the Ox.

Boiled Pork and Chive Dumplings

boiled pork and chive dumplings
Boiled Pork and Chive Dumplings Heami 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 Whole Fish with Dried Tangerine Peel and Fennel

steamed whole fish
Steamed Whole Fish with Dried Tangerine Peel and Fennel Katherine Whittaker

At Nom Wah Tu restaurant in New York City, chef Jonathan Wu removes all of the bones from whole fish before steaming and serving it family style. Bones or not, remember to transport the fish carefully once cooked, since the meat will be very delicate and flaky. “It’s also important to leave leftovers for the next day,” Wu says, “because this signifies that prosperity will overflow [into the new year].” Get the recipe for Steamed Whole Fish with Dried Tangerine Peel and Fennel »

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

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

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 Wraps Maxime 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 Noodles Maxime 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 Eggs Todd 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 Rolls André 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 »

Momofuku Ginger Scallion Noodles

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Momofuku Ginger Scallion Noodles Thomas Payne

In Japan, China, and many other Asian countries, tradition calls for eating long noodles, which signify longevity, on New Year’s Day. This ginger scallion sauce from NYC restaurant Momofuku is the perfect bright and spicy condiment for a bowl of lucky noodles. Get the recipe for Momofuku Ginger Scallion Noodles »

Sticky Rice and Almond Cake (Nian Gao)

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Sticky Rice and Almond Cake (Nian Gao) Matt Taylor-Gross

This chewy steamed cake, with flavors of almond and caramel, is traditionally eaten for the Lunar New Year. Eat it warm or let the cake cool completely, then cut into slabs, batter with beaten egg, and fry them until crisp. Get the recipe for Sticky Rice and Almond Cake (Nian Gao) »

Pork Riblets Simmered in Caramel Sauce

Pork Riblets Simmered in Caramel Sauce
Pork Riblets Simmered in Caramel Sauce (Xu’o’n Kho) Christopher Testani

Originally from rural northern Vietnam, this dish was traditionally cooked in a clay pot. Get the recipe for Pork Riblets Simmered in Caramel Sauce (Xu’o’n Kho) »

Rice Cakes Stuffed with Coconut and Brown Sugar (Yi Bua)

Rice Cakes Stuffed with Coconut and Brown Sugar (Yi Bua)
Rice Cakes Stuffed with Coconut and Brown Sugar (Yi Bua) Jason Lang

Like a tropical version of mochi, these chewy rice cakes, often eaten on sweltering Hainan days with a tall glass of coffee, hold a brown sugar and coconut filling. Get the recipe for Coconut and Brown Sugar Rice Cakes (Yi Bua) »

Cantonese Wonton Noodle Soup

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Cantonese Wonton Noodle Soup Zachary Zavislak

To form single-bite wontons, be sure to restrict the filling amount to 1 teaspoon. (This recipe includes a few extra wonton wrappers in case of breakage or dryness.) Keeping the pork well-chilled will help you cut it into the required fine texture for the filling. Get the recipe for Cantonese Wonton Noodle Soup »