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Tang Yuen & Other Dishes That Are A Must-Have At Every CNY Reunion Dinner!



Source: Twenty20 & SwedBrand Group

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Festive activities are on the rise as Chinese New Year is just around the corner. This year, however, it’s just not as lively due to MCO restrictions. A lot of people are separated from their families as they cannot travel back to their hometowns or visit relatives.

During the eve of Chinese New Year, families would get together and have a reunion dinner with loads of food on the table. Usually, people who celebrate Chinese New Year make a big deal about this reunion dinner. Why so?

Reunion dinner or 团圆饭 Tuányuán fàn is a symbolistic event in the Chinese culture where it represents the solidarity of the family and its cohesiveness.

Family members are expected to return to the family home, typically the home of your grandparents or parents, for the reunion dinner. On the other hand, a more traditional Chinese family would “invite” their deceased ancestors to join them by placing food offerings on the family altar.

Typically, all sons return to their parental home for the event whereas married daughters join their husband’s side of the family for the reunion dinner.

During the gathering, there is always an excessive amount of food on the table as having plenty of food on the table would help ensure the family great material wealth in the new year. In fact, there’s a list of food that has a mandatory presence during reunion dinners as each has its own significant meaning.


1. Whole fish 

In mandarin, Fish is 鱼 Yú which sounds like surplus. This represents the belief that having a surplus of wealth at the end of the year can help ensure more gain the next year.

Typically, steamed fish is served during these gatherings. The fish should not be finished and be kept as leftovers as this symbolises the term 年年有余 Niánnián yǒu yú, which translates to “May you always have more than you need!”

2. Glutinous Rice Cake 

Glutinous rice cake or 年糕 Niángāo is a lucky food and has to be eaten on Chinese New Year’s eve.

年糕 Niángāo sounds like 年年高 Niánnián gāo which means “getting higher year-after-year by year”. It implies a rise in success in your business, better grades at school, growing taller in height, etc.

3. Sweet Rice Balls 

Sweet rice balls or 汤圆 Tāngyuán is a must have as well during reunion dinners and are typically served as desserts after dinner.

This sweet dish is highly-favoured during New Year celebrations. The round shape of the Tāngyuán represents reunion and being together. There’s a lucky saying for eating Tāngyuán which is 团团圆圆 Tuántuán yuányuán meaning “Happy reunion!”

If you are having family reunions, make sure you eat more of these three of these dishes to ensure a year-long supply of luck and happiness.  Hopefully next year, festivities will be as lively as they used to be!


Also read: “Is Chinese New Year 2021 Cancelled?” Here Are 6 Ways M’sians Can Still Celebrate Safely At Home!

Source: Tenor
Source: CGTN
Source: Pinterest
Source: Pinterest
Source: Tenor

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