A Quick Food Guide to Bringing Good Luck in 2014

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Mon, Dec 30, 2013 at 11:00 AM

You can mark a new year with some drugstore bubbly, or you can try ringing in 2014 with a food tradition meant to bring good luck. There's plenty to pick from, whether it's enjoying a slice of vasilopita, a citrus-flavored cake, in Greece or pulling up a chair for media noche, or midnight meal, as you would in the Philippines.

And while the foods may vary from country to country, the underlying sentiment of hope for luck, fortune -- or preferably both -- is mostly the same. We've compiled a short list of foods believed to set you on an auspicious path in the coming year.

Soba: Japanese people will have a bowl of toshikoshi, aka "pass of the year," soba for longevity and prosperity.

Grapes: Spaniards have a tradition of eating 12 grapes around midnight -- one per chime of the clock tower at the Real Casa de Correos in Madrid -- of New Year's Eve. It's then followed by a glass of sparkling wine such as cava. The key is to finish all 12 before the end of the final toll.

Hoppin' John: In the South, the black-eyed peas–and-rice dish of Hoppin' John is where you'll find your luck. Add in a side of greens, maybe collards or kale, which symbolizes money.

click to enlarge French green lentils at Cabbage Patch - A. SCATTERGOOD
  • A. Scattergood
  • French green lentils at Cabbage Patch

Lentils: Italians have customarily rung in the new year with lentils, often in a sausage and lentils dish known as cotechino con lenticchie. Lentils are believed to bring good tidings, regardless of which dish you make.

See also: A Recipe From the Chef: Samir Mohajer's French Green Lentils With Avocado

Sauerkraut: It's German tradition to have sauerkraut alongside some kind of pork entrée on New Year's Eve for wealth and blessings. If you miss out on having pork and sauerkraut the night before, you'll get a chance to make up for it on New Year's Day. The Pennsylvanian Dutch of German descent observe the tradition on New Year's Day instead.

Rice Cake Soup: Tteokguk, also known as rice cake soup in Korean, is traditionally eaten on Seollal, or Lunar New Year Day to welcome a new year filled with prosperity. Nowadays, it's just as likely to be enjoyed over the Gregorian calendar New Year's Eve. A little harder to find, you can buy tteok, or rice cakes, at most Korean markets in Los Angeles.

See also: Where to Eat in Los Angeles on New Year's Eve

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