The Lunar New Year starts on Tuesday, Feb. 1, and food plays a big part in the 15-day celebration. Certain foods are believed to bring good luck, wealth, health and longevity for the next year.
People of different cultures celebrate Lunar New Year, including Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean communities. Some examples of auspicious foods in Chinese culture include whole fish, jiaozi dumplings, egg rolls, yi mein “long life” noodles and good-fortune fruit including oranges, pomegranates and other citrus.
Here are seven Chinese restaurants in Phoenix serving traditional foods to ring in Year of the Tiger.
Fish symbolize abundance and wealth, because they swim in schools and their scales resemble coins. You can order a whole fish, steamed or crispy, priced according to size at China Village. The restaurant has been open since 1985, serving Chinese American and Cantonese classics. Add a pair of egg rolls, which resemble gold bars, for extra prosperity.
Details: 2710 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix. 602-956-9840, chinavillagerestaurantaz.business.site.
Both the supermarket and the restaurant are getting into the spirit with festive Lunar New Year decor, candy and traditional foods to help foster good luck. The restaurant serves both dim sum and an extensive menu of Hong Kong-style dishes to share as a family. Pick up a whole soy sauce chicken from the butcher shop, as serving the whole bird represents unity.
Details: 66 S. Dobson Road, 120, Mesa. 480-962-0493, mekongpalace.com.
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Kick off Chinese New Year with handmade jiaozi, dumplings that resemble yuanbao, the metal ingots used as currency in ancient China. Order jiaozi and other dumplings, stir-fried noodles, fish plates and northern Chinese cuisine from Chou’s Kitchen, an East Valley favorite with locations in Tempe and Chandler.
Details: 1250 Apache Blvd., Tempe. 480-557-8888, chouskitchen.com.
Former Arizona Republic dining critic Dominic Armato described this restaurant as ahead of the curve when it came to northwestern Chinese cuisine in Arizona. Shaanxi Garden specializes in homemade biangbiang, long noodles and broad noodles. Add some fried wontons, shaped like ingots, which symbolize wealth.
Details: 67 N. Dobson Road, 109, Mesa. 480-733-8888. shaanxibiangbiang.com
Great Wall Cuisine
Scallops are round in shape, like coins, while oysters symbolize good luck. From dry scallops and oysters to lotus delicacies, Great Wall Cuisine offers plenty of traditional fare for New Year celebrations at home. This longstanding Cantonese restaurant and banquet hall also has dim sum service.
Details: 3446 W. Camelback Road, #155, Phoenix. 602-973-1112, search ‘Great Wall Cuisine’ on Facebook.
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Formerly known as Z’s Chinese Cuisine, this Glendale restaurant serves a mix of Sichuan, Cantonese and American Chinese foods. Lotus root symbolize abundance, and at Szechuan Cuisine, you’ll find a menu that includes Chongqing spicy fish, wonton soup and shrimp with lotus root, which consists of sauteed shrimp, lotus root, snow peas, fungus and celery in a white sauce.
Details: 5158 W. Olive Ave., Glendale. 623-937-2299, szechuancuisine.us.
This family-owned shop in Tempe serves freshly made Lunar New Year doughnuts. The limited-edition doughnuts are covered in a red glaze with golden flecks — red and gold are lucky colors — and they come topped with Chinese almond cookies and fortune cookies.
Details: 1245 W. Elliot Road, Suite 103, Tempe. 480-570-1900, donutparlor.com.
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Lucky Lunar New Year foods in Phoenix: Here’s where and what to order