New Years’ Day dishes from around the world

By Maangchi

tteokguk (rice cake soup)

I recently remade my tteokguk video and updated the recipe. Tteokguk is a dish that Koreans traditionally eat on New Year’s day, and yes, I made some for my family on January 1st 2014! I will make it again on Lunar New Year’s Day which falls on January 31st this year.

When I posted the video I asked my viewers if their culture had any special dishes for New Years’ day and many people answered! I learned a lot from them. Interestingly, many cultures eat beans because they believe beans will bring them prosperity. No matter where we live in the world, it seem like one thing we have in common is that New year’s day we give good wishes for good health and prosperity.

Below are some of the highlights of their answers. I hope you find them as interesting and informative as I did.
If you want to add your culture’s New Year’s Day food, please leave it in the comments!

My family is French Canadian, and we have a tradition of eating a tourtierre (meat and potato pie) on New Years.

Sara’s World:
In Italy it’s usual to eat lentils because we think that they brings us a lot of money!

Traditionally, my family ears all sorts of pork for New Year’s Day, (pig feet, chitterlings, pork roast, etc.) We have this along with black-eyed peas, collard greens, rice and cornbread. It’s a feast and we bring in the New Year quite happy and full. ;-)

Haitian people make a special pumpkin soup called Soup Joumou. It was established on the day of independence. it has ripe pumpkin (no seeds), spices, beef(goat or pork), rigatoni pasta, carrots and potatoes. It should be on the spicy side but not too spicy. Love being from a Haitian/Dominican background

Brittany Harmon:
My husband and his family are from the midwest (Indiana) and they eat cabbage on New Year’s Day for good luck. I’m from the east coast (New Jersey) and I had never heard of this before!

Marcy Zhang:
In France, basically, New Year is all about Champagne xD (and especially if you’re from paris like me …)

For Lunar New Year – Chinese are split into two groups who have different traditions. Northern Chinese eat Huntun (混屯) which is dumpling soup with chives, chestnuts and pork filling. Southern Chinese on the other hand eat Tangyuan (湯圓) – which is glutinous rice balls with or without fillings (red bean, black sesame etc.) immersed in a sweet syrup made from red sugar.

Noreen’s kitchen said:
I always make stuffed cabbage rolls and roast pork loin for new years dinner. Cabbage represents wealth, and so does pork. As a rule, my eastern European grandmothers never allowed us to have chicken or turkey on New Years because they said it was bad luck due to the fact that they scratch backward.

Tepadj3 said:
Traditional new year’s menu in Finland: booze, potato salad, wieners and more booze.

Celina Belle said:
Armenians like to start the year off with something sweet! Such as dried fruits, chocolate or pastry. Promises a sweet new year :) We also have a cake with a coin cooked into it (wrapped in foil and warn the people eating it so they eat slowly lol) and whoever gets the piece with the coin has extra good luck that year. And food with rice such as lentil rice or wheat dishes like harisa (porridge) or Anush Abur (sweet wheat & dried fruit porridge) is a must.

I’m from germany and most of the time we eat “raclette” or “fondue” at new years eve. But the more traditionell and “oldschool” dinner is just potatoe salad and sausages ^^

Brooke Seiter said:
in my family for new years, we bake brie cheese on sourdough and serve chive cream cheese on rye bread topped with smoked salmon (:

in the south (united states) we eat black-eyed peas for luck and cabbage for money/wealth.

Jenn from Cookies, Cupcakes, and Cardio said:
We don’t have much of a New Years tradition since it’s my birthday, but my mom always used to invite lots of people over and have a delicious bean dish ready to feed them!

Virginia Smith said:
In Florida on New Year’s day we eat black eyed peas. In my family we usually use the the bone from the ham left over after Christmas. I don’t know where this Southern American dish tradition comes from but I like to think it’s good to start a new year off with a humble meal rather than an extravagant one.

Here in the south eastern USA we eat blackeyed peas cooked with a ham bone and turnip greens for wealth. The greens represent dollar bills and the peas represent coins.

In Pennsylvania we eat pork, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and applesauce. It’s a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition to have this on New Year’s Day for good luck!

In Hungary, we eat a special lentil soup on the first of january, and all kind of little seeds like poppyseed, because it means prosperity. We cannot eat chicken, because that would scratch away our luck.

Ryuuto Andou:
In Russia Olivier salad is traditional for New Year’s eve.

in our culture You should not eat poultry on the first day of new year, because the happiness or luck could “fly away” :) (Slovakia – Central Europe)

Cath Chu
For vietnamese we have a lots of food that we eat during luna new year like steam square cake, sticky rice with vietnamese spam, pickle veggies, vietnamese braised pork and boiled eggs.

Jack Jardine:
In the UK – mostly Scotland – we eat a Steak pie on New years day because the calfs that were born last spring are ready to slaughter and keep us full during the cold winter months of January and February

in mexico, every Christmas and new years we get drunk and eat pork.


  1. Elle777 US joined 1/14 & has 1 comment

    Maangchi, love your videos!

    If you take business inquiries, what email address may I contact? Thanks!

  2. kimchi D Los Angeles joined 7/13 & has 1 comment

    PA dutch tradition of pork and saurkraut! I like it on mashed potatoes.

  3. Mr.Pabo Rio de Janeiro, Brasil joined 4/13 & has 1 comment

    In Brazil, it is common eating gammon and / or codfish, with rice and lentils (because it is common belief that lentils mean fortune), as an arab tradition brought by the portuguese.

    Also we eat rabanadas, a portuguese sweet made of bread slices rinsed on milk and wine, passed on the eggs and fried. After frying, they are passed on sugar and cinnamon. It’s delicious!

    As the traditions says, it is common eating nuts and dried fruits of all kinds, and we also drink champagne.

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