Chinese Restaurants in Denver to Support During Lunar New Year Celebrations and What to Order

Even though we can’t enjoy our typical Lunar New Year together at the Empress – Lunar New Year wouldn’t be the same without our delicious courses!

This year – we encourage you to support your locally owned Chinese Restaurant and order take-away to enjoy during our virtual celebration. These restaurants need our support now more than ever! You will even have a change to show off your treats during our event.

Here are a few of our favorites.

If you really want to show some support for local Chinese Restaurants 1 – share a picture on your social media (don’t forget to tag the restaurant!) 2- tip generously 3- do a Yelp or Google review

New to Chinese New Year Celebrations and don’t know what to order? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!

Certain dishes are eaten during the Chinese New Year for their symbolic meaning. Lucky food is served during the 16-day festival season, especially on Chinese New Year dinner on New Year’s Eve, which is believed to bring good luck for the coming year. 

The symbolism of these traditional Chinese New Year foods is based on their pronunciations or appearance. Not only do the dishes themselves matter, but also the preparation, and ways of serving and eating mean a lot. Here are some of our favorites!

1. Fish — an Increase in Prosperity

In Chinese, “fish” (鱼 Yú /yoo/) sounds like ‘surplus’. Fish is a traditional Chinese New Year dish. Chinese people always like to have a surplus at the end of the year, because they think if they have managed to save something at the end of the year, then they can make more in the next year.

Steamed fish is one of the most famous Chinese New Year recipes. We really like the Braised Sea Bass Clay Pot from Super Star .

Lucky Sayings for Eating Fish

年年有余 (Niánnián yǒu yú /nyen-nyen yo yoo/): May you always have more than you need!

2. Chinese Dumplings — Wealth

With a history of more than 1,800 years, dumplings (饺子 Jiǎozi /jyaoww-dzrr/) are a classic lucky food for new year, and a traditional dish eaten on Chinese New Year’s Eve.

Chinese dumplings can be made to look like Chinese silver ingots. Legend has it that the more dumplings you eat during the New Year celebrations, the more money you can make in the New Year. So eat up! (Does anyone remember how stuffed we were at the end of Chinese New Year last year?!)

You have to visit the Empress to get your dumpling fix. This is where we have hosted Chinese New Year for many years and is featured in these delicious pictures! Make sure you go early in the day if you want to snag some of the tastiest Dim Sum. Egg Custard Tarts never fail to delight.

Lucky Saying for Eating Dumplings

Zhāo cái jìn bǎo (招财进宝/jaoww tseye jin baoww/): ‘Bringing in wealth and treasure’ — a felicitous wish for making money and amassing a fortune.

3. Spring Rolls — Wealth

Spring rolls (春卷 Chūnjuǎn /chwnn- jwen/) get their name because they are traditionally eaten during the Spring Festival. It is a Chinese New Year dish especially popular in East China.

Spring rolls are a Cantonese dim sum dish of cylindrical-shaped rolls filled with vegetables, meat, or something sweet. Fillings are wrapped in thin dough wrappers, then fried, when the spring rolls are given their golden-yellow color.

We don’t know what it is – but we drool for the Spring Rolls at Sunflower Asian Cafe . And they may not be lucky – but the Mu Shu Pork pancakes are absolutely worth the drive from downtown.

Lucky Saying for Eating Spring Rolls

黄金万两 (hwung-jin wan-lyang/): ‘A ton of gold’ (because fried spring rolls look like gold bars) — a wish for prosperity.

4. Rice Cake — a Higher Income or Promotion

Glutinous rice cake (年糕 Niángāo /nyen-gaoww/) is a lucky food eaten on Chinese New Year’s Eve. In Chinese, glutinous rice cake sounds like it means “getting higher year-on- by year”. In Chinese people’s minds, this means the higher you are the more prosperous your business is a general improvement in life. The main ingredients of niangao are sticky rice, sugar, chestnuts, Chinese dates, and lotus leaves.

The next time you are doing some grocery shopping at the Pacific Ocean Marketplace – grab some of their’s in the bakery section and you won’t regret it.

Lucky Saying for Eating Niangao

年年高 (niánnián gāo /nyen-nyen gaoww/): ‘Getting higher year-after-year by year’, can imply children’s height, rise in business success, better grades in study, promotions at work, etc.

5. Sweet Rice Balls (Tangyuan) — Family Togetherness

Sweet rice ball (汤圆 Tāngyuán /tung-ywen/) is the main food for China’s Lantern Festival, however, in south China, people eat them throughout the Spring Festival. The pronunciation and round shape of tangyuan are associated with reunion and being together. That’s why they are favored by the Chinese during the New Year celebrations.

Zoe Ma Ma has an awesome version of these with some gogi berries thrown in for zest that you definitely should try the next time you are on the waiting list at Uncle.

Lucky Sayings for Eating Tangyuan

团团圆圆 (Tuántuán yuányuán /twann-twann ywen-ywen/ ‘group-group round-round’): Happy *virtual* (family) reunion!

6. Noodles

When it is cold outside – there is nothing better to warm us up than some Spicy Dan Dan Noodles from Lao Wang Noodle House. Across the Bridge Noodles are famous in Kunming, China and will tell you all about the history in our celebration. In the meanwhile, for all of our newbies it is very important to know that you must never cut or chomp your noodles in half! The longer the noodle – the longer your life will be in the new year so keep those noodles long.

We miss you and we can’t wait to celebrate Lunar New Year with you on Saturday February 20th!

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