“Chi fan le mei you?” “Have you eaten yet?” Is a common greeting to guests as they enter your home to celebrate the Spring Festival, also known as the Chinese New Year throughout the west. Many of the traditions of Chinese New Year center around food either being cooked or eaten.
To all people who trace their roots back to China, the most important date in the Lunar calendar is Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival, a traditional time for feasting with family and friends that dates back thousands of years.
As at all traditional Chinese gatherings, food plays an important role in the Chinese New Year Festival. Dinners tend to be very elaborate involving tables laden with auspicious foods.
On New Year’s Eve, families have a reunion feast which includes nian gao, a sticky rice pudding cake which is said to make people “advance toward higher positions and prosperity step by step.” A New Year’s Eve tradition from Northern China, dumplings (jiao zi), look like the golden ingots yuan bao used during the Ming Dynasty for money and the name sound like the word for the earliest paper money, so serving them brings the promise of wealth and prosperity!
Many families eat these at midnight so they have money at the changing of the years. Some cooks will hide a clean coin in one for the most lucky to find. Long noodles are used to guarantee that all at the table will have a long life.
There is so much more to learn at: http://www.chiff.com/a/chinese-new-year-foods.htm