Chinese New Year foods
Forget bland protein and veggies -- these auspicious Chinese New Year foods will have you salivating. Source: Danial Leal/AFP

Chinese New Year foods have a lot of meaning behind them. Besides being delicious, the Chinese believe that some foods are a must-eat during this festive holiday as they signify luck and prosperity.

While you can buy these foods from your nearest Chinese takeout, there’s a sense of pride and accomplishment when you make it yourself. If you’re up for the challenge, here are some auspicious Chinese New Year foods that you can make with your family or friends:

Chinese dumplings

Dating back from over 1,800 years ago, dumplings are of huge significance to the Chinese. The essential lucky Chinese New Year food, dumplings are loved by many worldwide.

Taking the shape of a Chinese gold ingot, these dumplings represent wealth and it is believed that the more you eat, the richer you will be throughout the year. Just don’t go too overboard by eating too much until you get sick.

Often consisting of different meats like pork, chicken, beef and prawns, dumplings have the widest variety of choices that is only limited to one’s imagination. It is worth noting that it is considered inauspicious to eat dumplings with Chinese sauerkraut as fillings, as it represents poverty.

Longevity noodles

As the name suggests, longevity noodles represent longevity. This tasty Chinese New Year food is relatively simple to make for any student. The noodles used for this recipe are a lot longer than your ordinary noodles and come uncut. They can be eaten in a soup, dry, or fried. If you’re looking for something student-friendly to make, you’ll be happy to note that this stir-fry recipe (below) has relatively affordable ingredients: long life noodles, shallots, garlic, eggs, salt, pepper, mushrooms, pork belly, soy sauce, chicken powder, white pepper, sesame oil, chives and water.

Spring rolls

How this dish got its name is due to the tradition of eating it during the Spring Festival. Now, the Chinese word does not have a special meaning behind it, but the shape of the food symbolises a gold bar due to its shape and colour. Eating this Chinese New Year food symbolises wealth and prosperity throughout the year.

This dish is affordable to make; they are often filled with a variety of meat and vegetables, and you can tweak any recipe to cater to your tastebuds.

Tangyuan (sweet rice balls)

And we’re finally on to the dessert! Tāng yuán’ is a Chinese dish consisting of rice balls with sweet fillings like black sesame, red bean or peanuts. It is boiled in ginger-infused syrup. Tangyuan’s pronunciation and shape represent unity, reunion and the bond of family and friends. This recipe requires some elbow grease, but the results are well worth the effort! The ingredients are relatively easy to get and most importantly, affordable for students: sesame seeds, sugar, lard, glutinous rice flour, ginger, dark brown sugar and water.