9 New Year’s Eve food traditions are a flavorful and festive

(Photo by John S Lander/LightRocket via Getty Images)
(Photo by John S Lander/LightRocket via Getty Images) /

While the ball might drop in New York City and the sparkling wine bottles might be popped all around the globe, certain New Year’s Eve food traditions have a prime space in the center of the table. Although there are several foods and actions that should never part of the holiday tradition, these particular New Year’s Eve food traditions could spark good fortune for the next 365 days. Ready to fill a plate and raise a fork?

Holidays, food and culture often go hand in hand. Beyond the family table where certain recipes are handed down through the generations, many countries have traditional offerings that are part of ringing in the New Year. While some might be more familiar, others might be new to the conversation.

Here are 9 New Year’s Eve food traditions that are worthy of a second bite.

Black Eyed Peas and Collard Greens – United States

Bringing good fortune and prosperity, the Southern favorite dishes are often paired together. For people who have not made these dishes before, it might be best to look for a well-respected recipe or find a local restaurant who knows how to cook the dishes well. It is ok to be humble with some cooking skills.

Apples – Wales

Whether or not a prince enjoys this meal on New Year’s does not matter. The Calennig is a treat that many people will enjoy for the holiday. This food is generally skewered apples that is sweet snack. Usually covered in diced fruit, nuts, oats, or even herbs, there is one caveat with this dish. It has to be finished by noon on New Year’s Day or someone might be labeled a “fool.”

Pickled Herring – Poland

Although it might not be overly appetizing to some people, pickled herring is a holiday treat in Poland. It is believed that this pungent food sets the year off on the right path for the New Year.

Soba Noodles – Japan

While there are many caveats about long noodles and good luck, Japanese Soba Noodles are often enjoyed on New Year’s Eve. Although some people might enjoy the soba noodles on their own, a more robust offering has them paired with shrimp, rice cakes or even herring roe.

Suckling Pig – Austria

Named Sylvesterabend after Saint Sylvester, the suckling pig dish is a traditional offering in Austria. Similar to other cultures, pork is a common New Year’s dish that can be served in many ways.

Tang Yuan – China

Although not quite as familiar to some people, tang yuan is a rice dumpling. Often stuffed with bean paste, sesame seeds, or other sweet fillings, they are a traditional Chinese New Year dish but could be served on New Year’s Eve, too.

Grapes – Spain

A well-known New Year’s Eve tradition, many people try to eat 12 grapes at midnight. The belief is that 12 grapes eaten in the first minute of the year will bring the person 12 wishes. But, failing to eat all 12 grapes in that minute could be bad luck.

Sugar Pigs – Germany

In another reference to pigs and good luck, Germans enjoy Glücksschweins, or small pig-shaped treats. Made from almond paste, they are a popular New Year’s Eve food in Germany.

Bunuelos – Mexico

The sweet Mexican dish, Bunuelos are a tasty fritter that are drizzled with syrup. While some people believe smashing the ceramic plate will make a wish come true, most people might want to check with the host before breaking that plate.

What New Year’s Eve food traditions are served in your home? Do food traditions make holidays more flavorful?