People living in different parts of China have a variety of diets. Northerners mainly eat food made from wheat, whereas southerners mostly eat rice. In coastal areas, marine and freshwater products account for a considerable part of people’s diets, while in other areas, meat and dairy products are more common. Residents in provinces like Sichuan and Hunan enjoy food which is hot and spicy, while people in Jiangsu and Zhejiang prefer sweet food. However, same food can taste different due to the diversity in cooking methods.
It’s a tradition for Chinese people to have a reunion dinner on Chinese New Year’s Eve. Considered as the most important meal of the entire year, the New Year’s Eve dinner is the perfect time for family reunion, especially for family members who live apart. There are many dishes on the reunion dinner, some of which have special meanings. For example, fish is a must-have dish because its name sounds similar to another Chinese character “Yu”, which means abundant profit. Another important dish served in many places of China is dumpling because it’s the symbol of fortune and good luck.
Fish is an indispensable dish on the Spring Festival’s feast because "fish" sounds the same as "abundance" or “surplus” in Chinese. It is because of such symbolic meaning that fish is sent as a gift among relatives and friends during the Spring Festival. This symbolic meaning of fish is said to originate from traditional Chinese culture. The Chinese have a tradition of frugality. They believe the more they save, the more secure they feel. In this day and age, although people are getting more affluent, they still regard thrifty as a virtue worth praising.