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5 Must-Have Dim Sum Dishes for Chinese New Year – Our Guide

The Chinese New Year is fast approaching. Certain dishes are eaten during the celebration for their symbolic meaning. For instance, lucky food is served during the 16-day festival season to bring good luck for the coming year.

One of the best ways to celebrate this special occasion is with dim sum, a traditional Chinese food consisting of bite-sized dishes typically served on small plates or in bamboo steamer baskets. Here are some dishes you can add to your Chinese New festivities:

  • Spring rolls

If your major goal for this year is to grow your finances, consider making spring rolls part of your celebration. They have a cylindrical shape and golden-yellow color that resemble gold bars, representing the wish for prosperity in the coming year.

This Cantonese dim sum dish is easy to prepare. All you need for fillings is meat, vegetables, or something sweet. The fillings should be wrapped in thin dough wrappers and then fried. On the other hand, you can opt to order spring rolls from a dim sum restaurant near you for your convenience.

  • Glutinous rice dumplings

Dumplings are common because they are a part of daily Chinese meals, but they take on a special meaning during Chinese New Year. Some families even gather to make this dish into the night. 

One popular dumpling variety is the glutinous rice cake, a lucky food eaten on Chinese New Year’s Eve. Its main ingredients include sticky rice, sugar, Chinese dates, chestnuts, and lotus leaves.

Glutinous rice cake symbolizes raising oneself taller in each coming year. It also resembles money pouches or gold ingots, so it represents good fortune. It can imply promotions at work, better grades in school, and a general improvement in life.

  • Sweet rice balls

A Chinese New Year celebration won’t be complete without sweet rice balls, the main food for China’s Lantern Festival. In fact, families in South China eat them throughout the Spring Festival. They are associated with reunion and family togetherness, which is why the Chinese highly favor them during the New Year celebration. 

Sweet rice balls are a hot dish that usually contains a sweet filling and is boiled in water. Some families also get together to make this dessert and serve it during winter.

  • Longevity noodles 

Longevity noodles are a lucky food traditionally served at Chinese New Year’s feasts. They are uncut, longer than regular noodles, and served either fried on a plate or boiled in a bowl. This dish symbolizes a wish for longevity. An ancient Chinese belief states that long noodles are the secret to a long life, so they shouldn’t be cut as you eat them.

  • Turnip cakes

Another must-have Chinese New Year dish is turnip cakes. This dim sum dish is a savory cake made with grated turnip and is steam-cooked then pan-fried until crispy before serving. It sounds similar to the phrase “good luck,” making it a welcome addition to the celebration.


Dim sum dishes play an important role in Chinese New Year celebrations as they symbolize luck, good fortune, prosperity, and longevity for the coming year. Make your festivities extra memorable and special by enjoying the dishes listed above. 

If you have limited time or ingredients to cook, you can always opt to order from a Chinese restaurant like ours to enjoy tasty dishes without the hassle of preparing them yourself.

If you’re looking for dim sum in Houston for your Chinese New Year celebration, then you’ve come to the right place. Ocean Palace is the largest dim sum restaurant in the city. We offer a wide selection of snack-sized portions of dumplings, rice noodle rolls, and more. Order online now!

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