Starting Friday, Asian communities around the world will be marking the start of the Lunar New Year 4712. Best described as a combination of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year, the Lunar New Year is the most significant holiday for most East Asian cultures.
While many in the United States refer to the holiday as Chinese New Year, the proper term is Lunar New Year, as it follows the lunar calendar. Thanks to China’s centuries of influence, most East Asian cultures share Chinese new year traditions, such as returning home to celebrate with family, offering tributes to ancestors, giving “lucky” money to children, and wishing for prosperity in the new year.
Every region and culture, however, puts its own stamp on the celebration, most noticeably through its traditional foods. The following are examples of some dishes that will be eaten in Chinese, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese homes, as shared by chefs and restaurateurs in the region.