What Are You Cooking for Lunar New Year? We Asked 18 Chefs and Writers

What Are You Cooking for Lunar New Year? We Asked 18 Chefs and Writers

Billions of people across the globe celebrate the Lunar New Yr at the starting of every single lunar calendar. This year, on January 22, we will welcome the Yr of the Rabbit. Across diverse cultures, individuals rejoice in distinctive means. But whether or not you’re from Vietnam, China, Korea, or elsewhere, this holiday getaway revolves about festive foods shared with loved types. We stick to spouse and children traditions of cooking steamed fish to symbolize abundance dumplings to signal prosperity and noodles to ensure longevity. 

This calendar year, we asked 18 chefs, cookbook authors, and food stuff writers how they like to celebrate. Several recreate dishes they grew up with, like braised pork belly, sticky rice cakes, and walnut shrimp. Some observe a Buddhist diet and begin the vacation with a vegan dish to convey superior karma for the coming year. But the frequent thread is the great importance of household. 

Jian diu 

Jian diu are a single of my mum’s specialties—round, puffed glutinous rice balls with a savory filling, alongside with a sweet variation that is shaped like a finger and stuffed with a peanut and coconut blend. I also make a significant pot of lo han jai, if not regarded as Buddha’s feast, a vegan stew with origins in Buddhist cuisine: a melange of beancurd sheets, shiitake mushrooms, lily buds, black fungus, fats choy (black moss), h2o chestnuts, and additional. My mother observes a Buddhist diet plan on New Year’s Day, so lo han jai is a dish that encapsulates Lunar New Calendar year for me. —Hetty Lui McKinnon, author of Tenderheart and To Asia, With Adore 

Image may contain Food Sesame and Seasoning

The sesame balls will float to the area right before they’re performed frying. Use a spider or a slotted spoon to maintain them submerged until they are golden brown and puffed up. This recipe is from Mister Jiu’s in San Francisco, CA.

See Recipe

Kalbi jjim

John and I generally cook for Thanksgiving, Xmas, and Hanukkah, so Lunar New Year is a treat for us because John’s mom typically cooks. We acquire at his parents’ household and get pleasure from a feast, which is then followed by sebae, the classic act of kneeling on the floor and bowing to your elders to want them luck in the New Year. John’s mom prepares historically celebratory dishes such as tteokguk, a rice cake soup with oxtail, egg, seaweed, and scallions. She will ordinarily also have an array of banchan, like marinated spinach, ferns, mushrooms, and so on. Last year, she even built kalbi jjim—braised short ribs with carrots, mu (Korean radish), and potatoes in a mildly sweet soy sauce.—Katianna Hong and John Hong, chef-proprietors at Yangban Modern society

Fats goh 

I have a notice saved on my cellphone with all the Lunar New Year traditions and superstitions my mother has shared in excess of the years. My favourite tradition will always be steaming excess fat goh with each other. These celebratory cupcakes, typically referred to as prosperity cakes or fortune cakes, are steamed relatively than baked. Growing up we employed new rice flour from Chinatown in the batter and my mother would include in a couple of drops of dazzling pink food items coloring at the conclusion for a festive glimpse. She taught me the very best types will burst out of the cupcake liners and break up down the middle into a several sections. The puffier the cupcake, the far more affluent yr we had forward of us. —Calvin Eng, chef-proprietor at Bonnie’s

Hot pot

This yr my cousins and I have formally taken the reins from our moms and dads to host household gatherings. I am gearing up for Lunar New Yr in January to host my spouse and children at the restaurant on our off evening. I was scheduling on environment up a bunch of hot pots on the tables and arranging all of the components while persons start out arriving. I consider it’s a seriously festive way to have that abundant emotion banquet, but as a host all of the function is upfront, so it will allow me to truly invest some high quality time with my friends and family. —Brandon Jew, govt chef and owner of Mister Jiu’s

Hot pot filled with herbal mushroom broth
Natural Mushroom Sizzling Pot Broth

Umami-prosperous and flavorful all on its have, this vegan incredibly hot pot foundation is also a welcome palate cleanser when served together with a spicy broth.

See Recipe

Dace fried rice

A person of my go-to dishes for Lunar New Year is dace fried rice, the place the headliner is the dace, a variety of freshwater fish in the carp family members. There’s a firm out of Guangzhou called Eagle Coin that you can locate in most Chinese grocery stores—it’s in essence dried dace fish with black beans and oil it’s super savory and umami, and I adore it. It plays good with noodles and congee, but my preferred way to deploy it is in fried rice. —Jing Gao, founder of Fly by Jing

Honey walnut shrimp

I constantly glance ahead to tuen neen lover, the reunion meal with household and good friends the night time prior to the initially day of the new yr. We sit around a spherical desk to celebrate togetherness. We feast on dishes symbolic of needs for a joyful new calendar year. My most loved is the shrimp, which in Cantonese is ha. Ha ha—for extra happiness and laughter. The electrical power in Chinatown is also just really unique: the lion dancers, the persons purchasing bouquets, the decorations. —Louis Wong, proprietor at Uncle Lou

Poached chicken, steamed fish, and spring rolls

While the particulars of our Lunar New Year menu can adjust from yr to 12 months, poached chicken with ginger scallion oil (which signifies unity and family togetherness), two steamed fish (consume one and preserve 1 for the next day to represent surplus in the new calendar year), and spring rolls (wealth and prosperity) are the nonnegotiable recipes that have to be on the table. —Sarah Leung and Kaitlin Leung, co-founders of The Woks of Everyday living and authors of The Woks of Daily life

Image may contain Food Dish Meal Noodle Pasta Animal Seafood Sea Life Lobster Bowl and Spaghetti
Jessie’s Special Steamed Whole Fish

A showstopping full fish is a Lunar New Year staple. Assistant food items editor Jessie YuChen’s version is easy however spectacular, does not require any special devices, and did we point out it’s absolutely delicious?

Perspective Recipe

Bánh chưng

For Viet Lunar New 12 months, known as Tết, I always have sticky rice cakes referred to as bánh chưng. Mine are selfmade by me or my mom but most people obtain them at Viet markets and delis. Take in them smooth and warm or, pan-fry items of it into a crispy, chewy pancake. A dip in sugar brings the flavors alongside one another. I also braise pork ribs in caramel sauce, a family members recipe. There is a lot much more on my menu and it is all make-in advance food items due to the fact you are not meant to labor in the kitchen area. You’re intended to rest and have enjoyable. —Andrea Nguyen, founder of Viet Globe Kitchen area and writer of At any time-Environmentally friendly Vietnamese 

Cumin lamb

For our yearly Chinese New 12 months celebration, we obtain with family members and friends for an afternoon of playing mahjong and generating dumplings. We present newcomers how to shape them and have assorted fillings, ranging from classic pork and cabbage and veggie-tofu to my all-time beloved: tongue-tingling cumin lamb.—Diana Yen, recipe developer and meals stylist


I was not permitted in the kitchen area as a little one, and we weren’t a ideal household, but one exception was the New 12 months. The full extended family members would sit all over and make dumplings for hrs. Each surface was included with trays of dumplings. We’d chat and snicker and assess the designs of them, each individual of us professing to make the finest-seeking dumplings. Then we’d try to eat them steamed, pan-fried, or in the soup with rice cakes. I are unable to individual the dumplings from the new calendar year. —Ji Hye Kim, chef-operator of Skip Kim

Fried dumplings and soy sauce based dipping sauce
Pork and Kimchi Dumplings

These minimal parcels have a juicy pork and kimchi filling, crispy bottoms, and the phrases “weekend cooking project” prepared all above them.

View Recipe

Buddha’s delight

For a lot of people I know, Lunar New Year’s Eve customarily begins with a vegan dish, which delivers excellent karma for the coming yr. Some households observe a vegan eating plan for the entire working day. This is known as ingesting jai, or dedicating the 1st day to the animals. My mom’s go-to vegan dish is Buddha’s delight, a dish composed of glass noodles, veggies, fermented crimson tofu, and vegetarian oyster sauce. —Zhan Chen, govt chef at Potluck Club

Thịt kho trứng

My beloved dish has to be thịt kho trứng (caramelized Vietnamese pork belly and eggs). It is a super decadent dish that delivers me dashing back to celebrating Tết with my moms and dads. As very first-gen Vietnamese People in america, this holiday break seemed unique than these of our relations in Vietnam, but it was no considerably less unique. It was a time for us to be collectively, rejoice, rejoice for the new calendar year that was about to appear, and try to eat tons of tasty dishes. There is no a single “right” way to celebrate Lunar New 12 months in the kitchen—lots of various cultures celebrate it with various dishes and traditions. For me, I notably love the genius that arrives from bánh tét, a delightful mix of sticky rice, pork tummy, and mung beans steamed in banana leaves. —Kim Pham, co-founder of Omsom

Chả lụa

I certainly adore obtaining chả (Vietnamese sausage) all around Tết. My favored variety is chả lụa—a uncomplicated but aromatic type designed with pork, fish sauce, and floor black pepper, wrapped in banana leaves. Such a functional component, but I find it particularly delectable on savory sticky rice or in a vintage bánh mì with pate. —Vanessa Pham, CEO and co-founder of Omsom

Noodles and dumplings

There is a substantial record of lucky food items you can make and take in to give you the most luck and prosperity in the new 12 months, but noodles and dumplings are our favorites. Noodles are significant about Lunar New 12 months since lengthy noodles equivalent a extended lifestyle, so never minimize your noodles in any way or consume limited noodles. My husband Mike and I enjoy noodles so a lot that we even wrote an overall cookbook on them. Dumplings are exactly where it’s at if it is prosperity you’re hunting for in the new year. Earning home made dumplings is akin to creating income, simply because in Historical China gold ingots had been dumpling-formed. Our beloved dumplings to make are classic crispy pan-fried pork dumplings and silky, juicy wontons in soup. —Stephanie Le, founder of i am a food items website

Scallionoil noodles recipe

It’s astonishing how significantly scallion taste you get in these noodles. A garnish of crunchy fried scallion slices can take it splendidly about the prime.

View Recipe

Mei cai kou rou

Lunar New Calendar year generally provides a great excuse to go all out I delight in trying to make some thing new and challenging. This yr I’ll consider my hand at mei cai kou rou, pork stomach with preserved mustard greens. I introduced a offer of meigan cai (preserved mustard greens) dwelling with me from Taiwan a couple of weeks in the past expressly for this reason. —Lisa Cheng Smith, founder and CEO of Yun Hai

A Cantonese feast

For fairly a few years, we’d have a huge feast with all people from all our merchants and whip up some classics, which includes walnut shrimp, pork stomach and taro casserole, and Cantonese-type beef filet (all of which you can come across recipes for in our cookbook). But because the pandemic, we have been holding points extra minimal-crucial. I imagine this 12 months, it’s heading to be a food at property with the youngsters, educating them about the distinct auspicious dishes and what they all mean and represent. That is sort of tough to do when you’re in a substantial team setting—so much stimulation! —Wilson Tang, operator at Nom Wah Tea Parlor