Ken Hom’s Chinese New Year menu

Health, prosperity, longevity and the sharing of great food are the linchpins around which the Chinese New Year celebrations revolve. The feasting falls on the start of each lunar year, and it’s the perfect excuse for us to ask Chinese cookery legend Ken Hom to share some of his treasured family recipes – the ones that grace his table every Chinese New Year.

The guide below outlines each course in Ken’s menu – you can make one of the dishes to mix and match with your own family recipes, or all of them, depending on the scale of your Chinese New Year celebrations.

Ken Hom’s Chinese New Year menu

What’s cooking, Ken?

“At the New Year table, certain foods were always served because they symbolise particular good and noteworthy aspirations. Fish, which represents abundance and good fortune, was essential. Chicken, a symbol of fortune, was
served because what good are abundance and good fortune without the time to enjoy them? My mother, being a good and faithful Buddhist, always served apples, symbolic of peace, which is what she wished for us and the world. I hope you enjoy a taste of my family’s Chinese New Year.” Chef Ken Hom

CNY menu


Click on each picture below to be taken to the individual recipes.

Ken Hom’s Chinese New Year menu

My mum’s steamed chicken with Chinese sausage

“Chicken, a symbol of fortune, was at the centre of our Chinese New Year dinner. My mum simply steamed it with my favourite, Chinese sausages.”

Chinese steamed chicken sausage

Stuffed bitter melon with black bean sauce

“My mother loved to make these at Chinese New Year because they represent the giving of gifts – a surprise treat wrapped up inside bitter melon. Bitter melon or cucumber lends itself well to stuffing, its tender, succulent flesh complemented by a savoury filling.”

bitter melon

Crispy Cantonese fish rolls

“Fish symbolises prosperity. If there was a large crowd, a whole fish would be served but otherwise my mum, being economical, used a fish paste instead. Although not totally traditional, it did bring us prosperity!”

cantonese fish rolls

Dessert: Caramelised apples with sesame

“Every year, we finished our Chinese New Year dinner with apples. The word for apple in Chinese is ‘ping’; a homonym of ping is peace – and we all need that in the New Year.”

caramelised apples

“Happy New Year to you all, and may this year bring you good health, good fortune and good food!” Ken Hom

Looking for more recipes to complete your Chinese New Year celebrations? We’ve got dozens of dishes, starting with these 18 Chinese New Year recipes. Or, for more inspiration, take a look at Ching-He Huang’s traditional Chinese New Year dinner party menu.

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