7 Foods for a Happy Chinese New Year – Leite’s Culinaria

Welcome the Year of the Rabbit with this incredible collection of happy foods including dumplings, noodles, roast pork belly and more.

Four images: Chinese noodles in a bowl, fried pork belly on a black plate, a man's hands holding pork dumplings, chocolate-filled sesame dumplings.

Sunday, January 22 heralds the Chinese Lunar New Year 2023. In the Chinese calendar, the New Year is 4721, the year of the rabbit.

To celebrate, we feature some of the best Chinese recipes on the site from legends like Grace Young and Terry Tan – incredible dumplings, fish, shellfish, pork and noodles.

A red rabbit maker design with brush strokes;  in the corner" Year of the rabbit 2023."
: Lozz

In Chinese astrology, the rabbit is considered the happiest of all twelve animals. Born in 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, or 2011, rabbits are known to be calm, graceful, alert, quick, friendly, intelligent, patient, and responsible.

To all the Rabbits of LC (and the rest of the Chinese Zodiac), we can’t think of seven better dishes to start your year of happiness, prosperity and love.


The word "David" written in the script.
A person is holding a platter of fried pork dumplings and a bowl of dipping sauce.

Fried pork dumplings

These fried pork dumplings are filled with ground pork, bok choy, chives, soy sauce, fresh ginger and sesame oil. They are fried in a little oil and then steamed. A savory dipping sauce is served as an accompaniment.


A white bowl filled with fried salad topped with sesame seeds on a white wooden surface.

Fried Salad

Fried salad with soy sauce and sesame oil is unexpectedly and excitingly delicious. Chances are you already have a crock pot just waiting to be used so you can try it for yourself.


This was surprisingly delicious. tasted [like] a delicate but hearty Chinese green, but easy to find in American supermarkets. Will definitely do it again.–Bodi L.

An oval ceramic plate with Sichuan pepper shrimp and bamboo sticks crossed over it.

Sichuan pepper shrimp

These Sichuan Pepper Shrimp are a quick and easy authentic Chinese dish made with dry fried shrimp with just the right amount of numbing spiciness of roasted Sichuan peppercorns.


A metal pan with four pieces of steamed cod with ginger and spring onions.

Steamed cod with ginger and spring onions

This Steamed Cod with Ginger and Spring Onions is an easy, Asian-inspired weeknight dish featuring cod gently simmered in a simple yet flavorful sauce made from rice vinegar, soy sauce and ginger.


This recipe is delicious and highly recommended. The flavors are subtle but permeate the cod completely. Steaming helps the cod meat retain moisture. (If you’ve ever had the misfortune of trying overcooked cod, you know how tragic that can be.)

We served this as part of a dinner of fishhead soup, choy sum and steamed rice. Perfection!-Alena

Chunks of Chinese roast pork in a black bowl with chopped green onions next to it.

Chinese roast pork

This Chinese Roast Pork recipe yields crispy, crispy BBQ pork belly just like you’d find in Chinatown. Like most Chinese grilled dishes, it’s incredibly tender, slightly sweet, and surprisingly easy to make at home. Here’s how.


A bowl of Cantonese noodles with mushrooms and ham, garnished with cilantro.

Cantonese pasta with mushrooms and ham

Rice noodles are quickly fried with shiitake, soy sauce and sesame oil. A simple, filling weeknight meal.


These Cantonese noodles were delicious, very nice. I added some sugar snap peas to the bean sprouts for coloring, just nice and easy. Thanks!-Lynh

Three chocolate sesame balls in a colorful bowl, one broken open to reveal the melted chocolate inside.

Chocolate Sesame Balls

Warm, delicious chocolate sesame balls made with rice flour and dark chocolate, coated with sesame seeds and deep fried are a traditional Chinese dessert. Think Chinese profiteroles.


Chinese New Year Dinner Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any unfavorable foods to avoid for Chinese New Year?

Because white is considered an unlucky color, white foods such as tofu, rice, cauliflower, and eggs are generally not served during New Year celebrations. Squid and crabs are also avoided.

How long is the lunar new year?

The Lunar New Year begins with the appearance of the new moon on January 22, 2023 and ends on the full moon day, February 5. The first day is known as the “Spring Festival” and the last day is known as the “Lantern Festival.”

Why are oranges so popular for Chinese New Year?

Oranges and tangerines are often exchanged between friends and family at New Year’s as symbols of good luck. Foods with bright colors like orange or red and round foods are considered good luck charms.

Curious about the history of other happiness foods? Find out all about it in this article on the happy foods to eat at New Year’s and the ones to avoid.

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