China's salty and sweet answer to beef jerky can be found all year round, but it's especially prevalent when the New Year rolls around in the mainland, Singapore, and Malaysia, and is often given as a gift. Bak Kwa is generally sliced thin and cut into squares. It can be made from beef, pork or mutton and while it traces its origins to Southern China. Often times the meat is grilled over charcoal to give it a smoky flavour, then blended with a combination of spices, soy sauce and sugar. It can be used as an ingredient in other dishes or enjoyed on its own. These barbequed pork slices are simply little slices of heaven, they’re also super addictive!
Translated as "prosperity toss,” yusheng is a salad of raw fish, veggies, and other ingredients that are popularly served in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and China as a communal dish, with everybody digging in family style. It’s a symbol of prosperity, as the name implies.
Chung & Tet Cake
These are the must-have Golden Due of “Tet” – Vietnamese version name for Lunar New Year . Banh Chung and Tet are traditional cakes made specifically for celebrating Lunar New Year. They are made of sticky rice, mung bean paste, black pepper, pork, and other ingredients. Chung cake is in a square shape, whereas Tet Cake is in a cylinder shape. Chung and Tet Cake represent happiness and prosperity. To cook them, it takes a lot of effort and time, but the result is totally worth it.
Dumplings are a staple of most Chinese feasts, but during New Year celebrations in China, they're very essential. Known as "jiaozi", they're served to represent money and prosperity. They can also be stuffed with other symbolic foods to bring good fortune, such as peanuts for health. Sometimes, there’s even a coin inside. There’s a saying that the more dumplings you eat during festivities, abundance of riches and wealth will follow in the coming year.
While Cambodia and Thailand actually celebrate Khmer New Year and Songkran, respectively, in April, we’d be remiss to not include this incredible snack. Kralan, or khao lam in Thailand, is a dessert made by stuffing a bamboo pole with rice, red beans, and coconut custard, and then roasting it over a fire. The resulting food is served in the bamboo.
You aren't gonna be finding a lot of bowtie pasta at these celebrations, mainly because they have no place in Asian cuisine, but also because noodles represent a long life. The longer the noodle, the longer the expectancy. Eating noodles during the New Year celebration is very important to Chinese, Korean, Japanese.
These Korean rice cakes come in about a bajillion different varieties, but during New Year celebrations you're most likely to find them in soup called tteokguk. During the Korean New Year, Seollal, Koreans enjoy the Tteokguk, which is also a celebratory soup for birthdays – since Koreans traditionally turn one year older during the New Year. Eating Tteokguk symbolizes prosperity and purity. Consisting of chewy and thinly sliced rice cakes, quality Korean beef and fresh oyster-based broth, Tteokguk is a comforting dish to satisfy any appetite.