Celebrating the Lunar New Year with a Chinese American Twist

Did you have a blast this past New Year’s Eve? So, why not repeat the revelry just weeks after by celebrating the Lunar New Year in February, the Chinese American way? Imagine being able to plan a stylish affair that combines customary Chinese New Year decorations, dinner dishes, desserts, and party favors with Western elements, too! A fusion of cultures that the whole family is sure to enjoy—with kid-friendly ideas included. (*this post contains affiliate links)


Decorating for this party can be a fun styling adventure. See the inspiration below for your guest tables, as well as for a Chinese-inspired snacks and sweets display.

Table centerpieces and decorations for Lunar New Year in Red

For your tablescapes, a solid red tablecloth immediately sets the Chinese air for your dinner. With classic white china and Western cutlery for the place settings, you can simply add Oriental touches such as napkin rolls reminiscent of bamboo, glazed ceramic condiment dishes and serving platters, and a unique candlescape centerpiece (described further below).

Lunar New Year Candle Centerpieces

Seen up close, the candlescape reveals simple yet stylish details: a grouping of elegant embossed pillar candles on pearl-ring mirror coasters, trimmed with cuttings of bamboo leaves (faux ones are available via Amazon).

Lunar New Year with an Chinese American Twist Table settings at Home

Serving as both welcome snacks for the guests and part of the table decor, too, are these mini Chinese cakes and crunchy nut mixes on ceramic blue and white trays and dishes. Bamboo steamer baskets (available via Amazon) would make charming themed containers, too.

Lunar New Year with Snack Table

Finally, as a striking goodies table for the young ones at the party, pile a red-covered table with baskets full of Chinese snacks and desserts, earthenware bowls holding gold coins and wafer rolls, and glass flutes of cold milk with fortune cookies perched on their rims. And for even more impact, display bundled up Chinese New Year party favors in large bowls on carved rosewood stands.


No need to worry about the party menu either! There are delectable Chinese dish recipes all over the web for you to choose from. These 5 we chose are easy to prepare and look absolutely delish!Easy recipes for Chinese New Year party at home

1 – Pan-fried Noodles with Hoisin Sauce – Thanks to Lee Kum Kee USA,  you can serve this popular Chinese dish. Here, beef strips are stir-fried with julienned zucchini, carrots, and squash, shitake mushrooms, and chow mein noodles all seasoned with Hoisin sauce and oyster sauce

2 – Steamed Fish in Double Fermented Soy Sauce – Also from Lee Kum Kee USA, this recipe is made with a whole fish seasoned with ginger inside its gills, then steamed on a bed of green onions, and served with a soy sauce and chicken bouillon mix poured over it.

3 – Kung Pao Tofu with Chinese Broccoli and Brown Rice – Want a no-meat dish? Blue Apron has this flavorful chili and vegetable stir-fry seasoned with peppercorns and aged rice vinegar, then served over hot brown rice and topped with chopped peanuts.

4 – Mandarin Chicken with Broccoli – An interesting flavor blend in this recipe from Ready Set Eat, made with sliced chicken breast fillets stir-fried with garlic, broccoli, and orange-ginger stir-fry sauce, then with mandarin orange sections added.

5 – Honey-Hoisin Grilled Spare Ribs – This hearty meat dish packed with flavor, courtesy of Ready Set Eat, features racks of ribs grilled while basting with a marinade of hoisin and soy sauces, honey, sherry, ketchup, and apple cider vinegar. Garnishings of green onions, cilantro, and sesame seeds are added just before serving.


What a treat for guests to enjoy a sampling of well-loved Chinese sweets and desserts to mark this cross-cultural Lunar New Year!

Lunar New Year Egg Tarts

Custard tarts are a yummy staple at any Chinese gathering. You may look for a recipe online to bake your own, or simply buy them from a nearby Asian bakery. Display the tarts (and your fave Western goodies, like Oreo’s!) in quaint bamboo containers to match the theme.

Sweet pork buns for Lunar New Year food

Another huge favorite are steamed buns stuffed with a sweet-savory saucy pork filling. So are almond cookies (see recipe below), as well as Chinese dried plums, sesame seed balls, and of course fortune cookies!

More Chinese Dessert Ideas

Easy Chinese-inspired desserts

Here are additional dessert ideas that  ingeniously combine Asian and Western flavors and ingredients. Take your pick!

1 – Lemongrass Panna Cotta with Tropical Lychee Salsa – This recipe from McCormick is a cool, refreshing gelatin dessert flavored with lemongrass and topped with a mix of lychees, fresh mango, kiwi, toasted coconut flakes, and chopped mint.

2 – Chinese Almond Cookies – These light, subtly flavored cookies, each topped with a whole blanched almond, would be great served with ice cream, coffee, or Chinese tea. See the recipe from Land O’ Lakes,

3 – Pineapple Tarts – These tarts are a staple in Chinese bakeries during the Lunar Year celebration. They are made with a chewy filling of caramelized pineapple wrapped in buttery pastry, then baked till golden. “Pineapple” in Hokkien literally means the “coming of fortune,” so this sweet treat is thought to bring prosperity and luck to those who eat them. This idea comes from Michelin’s guide to Hong Kong.

4 – Clementine Mandarins – Another auspicious edible during the New Year due to their round shape and golden color, these mini Mandarin oranges are said to symbolize wealth and good fortune. Buy them at an Asian market or via Amazon.

5 – Helen Ou@ Huang Lao Wu Rice Crispy Snacks – These crunchy snacks made with peanuts, malt syrup, and sesame seeds are available ready to serve via Amazon.


For party favors and gifts, there are those themed for a specific Lunar Calendar year (see our favor picks for the Year of the Pig) this 2019. Or you may choose those that mark Chinese New Year in general and wish good fortune to all!

Lunar New Year Lucky Chocolate Coins

Gold-wrapped chocolate coins clearly extend wishes of prosperity and abundance. Luckily, these are readily available in supermarkets or via Amazon. So just bundle them up for giving!

Lunar New Year with an Chinese American Twist Favors

Remember the overflowing bowls of favor bundles shown earlier? Here they are up close. Heart-shaped woven boxes filled with Chinese sweets or perhaps packets of herbal tea, finished with organza wraps in vibrant red, fuchsia, and orange!

Chinese New Year wine labels

You could also choose a selection of wines, and dress them up for the occasion in Chinese New Year Bottle Labels – available from Amazon.

As they say in Mandarin Chinese, “Gong Xi Fa Cai” or in Cantonese, ” Kung Hei Fat Choi,” everyone!

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