Chinese Food: Top Most Symbolic Chinese Foods

26November 2021

Chinese Food: Top Most Symbolic Chinese Foods China’s food culture is an ancient one, and buried within it are foods steeped with interesting symbolism. 

Read on to know some of the Chinese top symbolic Chinese foods, what they symbolise, how they get prepared, and what you can serve them with for a more delectable meal. The level of sophistication surrounding Chinese food becomes much more evident.

Where In Wembley Can I Eat Great Chinese Food?

Introduction – Chinese Food: Top Most Symbolic Chinese Foods

Chinese people are faithful to their culture, especially when it comes to their food. Food in China is not only about consuming it. It involves symbolic meanings and celebrating the Chinese heritage that may not be evident to people from other cultures.

What is Symbolism?

Symbolism is the act or practice of representing things using symbols or attributing symbolic meanings or significance to objects, events, or relationships.

Symbolism is also defined as a system of symbols or representations.

In our case, put, in a particular belief system (in this case, Chinese culture), being associated with specific objects (foods) conveys specific strengths, capabilities, and attributes to others.

Symbolism is everywhere – poetry, literature, music, stories, writing, art, movies, architecture, etc.

For example, in architecture, there are symbols for 1) creation and rebirth, 2) resurrection and rebirth, 3) unity and harmony, 4) strength and immortality and 5) effort, success and achievement.

In our particular case, we are interested in Chinese food symbols for 1) fertility, 2) longevity, 3) prosperity, 4) fidelity and good marriage. And who wouldn’t want the same?

01- Chinese Foods That Symbolise Fertility


1.1- Hard-Boiled Red Eggs

Red eggs are prepared and served to guests during a birth announcement by the parents. Clean and peeled beetroots are boiled together for at least 30 minutes to dye the eggs shells red. 

Eggs not only symbolise fertility but are also used to mark the beginning of a new life. Depending on the gender of the child, different numbers of eggs get served to the attendants of the ceremony. 

An odd number represents the birth of a boy, whereas an even number represents a girl’s birth.

1.2- Seeds

The Chinese name for seeds is the same as that of children. Watermelon and lotus seeds get eaten to symbolise fertility and the birth of a new one in a family.

02- Foods that symbolise the Longevity of life

2.1- Noodles

Noodles have been a part of Chinese food culture since time immemorial. Noodles within Chinese culture symbolise the Longevity of life. 

It’s rare to miss noodles at a Chinese birthday party since noodles equal cake in Chinese culture. 

It’s a bad omen if you cut up a noodle strand, either when cooking or eating them. 

For a more balanced noodle diet, serve with Ramen (a light-yellow noodle soup made of pork or fish broth). 

2.2- Peaches

Either cooked or raw, these juicy edible fruits are not only full of vitamins but are also associated with the Longevity of one’s life when consumed. 

Legend has it that the Immortal Queen mother of the West, known as Xiwangmu, would always be served with peaches during her birthday.

03- Foods that symbolise Prosperity

3.1- Whole Fish

Known as Yu in the Chinese dialect. Eating a whole fish in Chinese symbolises riches and abundance in the coming years of your life. 

Accompanying an entire fish with a bowl of rice represents financial and spiritual Prosperity (richness). 

Fish get prepared using different methods in China, with the most common techniques of preparing this symbolic dish being; deep-frying, stir-frying, or steaming, depending on one’s preference.

04- Foods that represent Fidelity and Good Marriage

4.1- Duck (Ya)

Duck meat served in a wedding represents fidelity in a couple. The duck is roasted, salted, or marinated depending on the province from which the marrying couple originates. 

It may get served with spring onions, pancakes, or sweet bean sauce.

4.2- Chicken and Lobsters

Lobsters, known as dragons of the sea in Chinese culture, represent a good marriage. On the other hand, chicken represents a phoenix (a rare bird believed to foretell harmony). 

These two foods get served together to symbolise the harmony and unity of a good marriage.

Finally – Top Most Symbolic Chinese Foods

Chinese foods are not only culturally fulfilling but also supply you with sufficient nutrients for optimal body functioning. 

These foods are also prepared in different methods to fit each and everyone’s preferences. 

So, don’t hesitate to try a Chinese delectable today for a wholesome meal.

Where In Wembley Can I Eat Great Chinese Food?

Previous article in our Chinese Focus: First Bite Series – Chinese Food: Quick And Easy Beginner Recipes

Please add details in the comments below if you’re aware of other foods and their symbolic meanings.

Don McDonald

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