5 Lucky Chinese New Year Dishes & What to Pair With?

Chinese New Year is as important as Christmas is in the west. It is the time in which family will gather and celebrate. The best thing about celebrating Chinese New Year, apart from getting red packets for unmarried people, is that it involves a lot of eating and drinking. And during this festive period, every dish that appears on the dining table is a metaphor for something. So what do we recommend for you to eat during Chinese New Year and what should you pair it with?

  • Steamed Fish
  • Steamed whole fish is the number one dish for Chinese New Year dinner, because fish sounds like “Surplus or abundance” (魚) in Cantonese, and whole fish represents togetherness and wholeness. Cantonese steamed fish is usually in soy sauce, which can be tricky for wine pairing. Taking into account the saltiness of soy bean sauce, a white with medium acidity will work.

    Suggestion: Dr. Loosen Dr. L Riesling 2019

  • Braised Dried Oyster with Black Sea Moss
  • Oyster sounds like “good thing” (好事) and black sea moss is the same sound as “good fortune” (發財) so having this dish means money, enterprise, everything will come easily in the coming year, so whatever you try out this year will be a success. The base of this dish is oyster sauce, which is savory and a little bit sweet. A red with lower tannins will work.

    Suggestion: Ridge Vineyards Estate Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains 2016

  • Stir-fry Ketchup Prawn
  • Prawn (蝦) is the same pronunciation as “ha”, much like laughter, which is associated with the idea of joy and happiness. The most common way of cooking prawns in Cantonese cuisine is stir-fried with ketchup sauce. Ketchup is not wine friendly as it is both vinegary and sweet. It tends to dominate whatever you are enjoying it with. A fruit forward wine with soft and round tannins and lower acidity will work.


    Suggestion: Champagne Devaux Cuvee D Brut NV


  • Crispy Fried Whole Chicken
  • Much Like steamed fish, whole chicken is important as it represents wholeness and togetherness. The chicken is marinated in different Chinese spices, chinese wine, coated with maltose on the skin and then deep fried. Try a fruit forward wine with lower tannins wine that will complement the texture and flavours of the chicken.

    Suggestion: La Crema Russian River Pinot Noir 2014


  • Steamed Pudding (Nin Gao)
    年糕 means a higher year, higher income or higher position. It is a sweet cake made of glutinous rice and brown sugar. To pair with the sweet and moreish cake, you may want to go with something sweet to complement the sweetness.

    Suggestion: Domaine Huet Le Haut Lieu Demi Sec 2018