What Do They Eat in Taiwan On Chinese New Year’s Day?

In Taiwan, Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is a significant celebration, and families gather to enjoy special meals together. The dishes prepared during this festive time often carry symbolic meanings associated with good luck, prosperity, and family unity. Some traditional Taiwanese New Year dishes include:

  1. Radish Cake (蘿蔔糕 – Luóbo Gāo): Symbolizes prosperity and progress, as the word for radish sounds like “good fortune.”
  2. Oyster Pancake (蚵仔煎 – Ô-á-chian): Represents good luck and wealth.
  3. Braised Pork Knuckles with Sea Cucumber (海參燜豬腳筋 – Hǎishēn Mèn Zhēn Jīn): Symbolizes wealth and prosperity.
  4. Fried Nian Gao (炸年糕 – Zhà Nián Gāo): Nian Gao, or sticky rice cake, is sliced and fried, symbolizing advancement and growth.
  5. Eight Treasures Rice (八寶飯 – Bā Bǎo Fàn): A dish made with glutinous rice and various sweet ingredients, symbolizing good luck.
  6. Fish (魚 – Yú): Just like in other Chinese cultures, fish symbolizes abundance and surplus.
  7. Stir-Fried Longevity Noodles (長壽麵 – Chángshòu Miàn): Long noodles are associated with longevity, and stir-frying them is thought to bring good luck.
  8. Jiǎozi (餃子 – Jiǎozi): Dumplings are a popular dish during the New Year and are believed to bring prosperity.
  9. Sesame Oil Chicken (麻油雞 – Máyóu Jī): Represents good health and is often served to mothers post-pregnancy.
  10. Stuffed Glutinous Rice Chicken (鳳梨酥 – Fènglí Sū): Pineapple cakes, or fènglí sū, are popular snacks and are often exchanged as gifts during the New Year.
  11. Peng Cai (盆菜 – Pén Cài): A rich and elaborate one-pot dish containing various premium ingredients, symbolizing wealth and abundance.
  12. Bamboo Shoots and Dried Fungus Stir-Fry (香菇竹筍 – Xiānggū Zhúnsǔn): Represents prosperity and unity.
  13. Sliced Abalone with Shiitake Mushrooms (鮑魚香菇 – Bàoyú Xiānggū): A luxurious dish symbolizing abundance and good fortune.
  14. Stir-Fried Rice Cake (炒年糕 – Chǎo Nián Gāo): Rice cakes are stir-fried with various ingredients for good luck and happiness.
  15. Sweet Rice Balls (湯圓 – Tāngyuán): Similar to Tangyuan, these glutinous rice balls are often enjoyed as a dessert during the Lantern Festival.

These dishes, with their symbolic meanings and cultural significance, contribute to the festive atmosphere during the Chinese New Year in Taiwan. Keep in mind that specific customs and regional variations may influence the types of dishes served in different households.

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