Food is an important part of many Asian cultures around the world. Many customs and superstitions are often characterized by consumption of beloved foods and are rooted in a rich history of traditions, carried on from one generation to the next.

Whether you believe that blowing out birthday candles in one breath is essential for your wishes to come true or that spilled salt will bring bad luck, here are 21 more superstitions to keep in mind.



Photo by Ally Mark

– If you’re a green tea aficionado, this one’s definitely for you: finding a tea stalk floating upright in your cup may be a sign of good luck. Just one of the many benefits of enjoying a cup of green tea on a cold winter’s day.

– Similar to the Chinese, the Japanese also have rules regarding chopstick etiquette. Refrain from sticking your chopsticks upright in a rice bowl. While convenient, it is not good form. When placed in this manner, they resemble incense used to mourn dead family members. Instead, lay them across your rice bowl.

– Forgo that post-Thanksgiving, tryptophan-induced slumber. Contrary to the idea that “sleep makes you skinny,” it is said that if you lay down just after eating a meal you will turn into a cow.



Photo by Lauren Gong

– Make sure your kitchen is always stocked with eggs and oranges. Besides being delicious and full of nutrients necessary to fuel our bodies, these two superfoods will bring you happiness into your life.

– If you hit another’s hand as you both reach for food, a visitor may be making an appearance. Expect a guest soon!

– The person who finishes the last piece of food is said to be lucky, so look out for that last piece of pizza. You just might have a handsome significant other coming your way. Just in time for Valentine’s Day.



Photo by Jessica Tang

– Ever have a dream about flying pigs? Well, you’re in luck. Dreaming about pigs (not confined strictly to flying pigs) is considered to be a sign of good fortune. That means dreaming about these five ways to eat bacon will actually bring you luck.

– If you’re married, don’t feed your husband chicken wings – he might just take flight. How about preparing Korean Bibimbap instead?

– If you’re trying to ace that Biochem midterm, definitely don’t eat slippery foods. It is believed that slippery foods will make all that information you just tried to cram into your brain slip right out. Instead, try these alternatives to fuel your brain.



Photo by Ally Mark

– Eat 12 round fruits on New Year’s Day. This is meant to bring about prosperity and is representative of nature’s abundance and fertility. Eating 12 is thought to guarantee prosperity all year round. Here are some other healthy habits to adopt in the New Year for good measure.

– Dropping an eating utensil on the ground signifies that a visitor is on its way. Whether the visitor is male or female depends on the utensil: a fork signifies a male visitor will be in your presence while a spoon means female.

– Finding and breaking open an egg with two yolks is a sign that wealth is coming your way (in addition to an awesome breakfast).



Photo by Jessica Tang

– If you’re cooking fish, definitely handle that bottle of fish sauce with care. It is believed that breaking a bottle of fish sauce will bring you bad luck.

– It is important to serve at least two bowls of rice (not just one) at the table. One bowl is meant for the dead.

– To reverse bad luck, you need to eat the fetus from a duck egg.



Photo by Lauren Gong

– Long noodles are a symbol of long life; it is important that you abstain from cutting noodles because it symbolizes cutting your life short. Instead, slurp those noodles up (a practice my family definitely employs). Not only will you ensure a long life, but slurping is considered to be respectful etiquette.

– During Chinese New Year, a whole chicken is a popular dish as it represents togetherness and is representative of the family. Normally a whole chicken is boiled in order to represent unity.

– Similarly, in my family (as with most other Chinese families) it is customary to serve a fish whole (yes, that means with the eye intact). The word for fish, yu, sounds like the word for abundance. Eating fish in this way is thought to help your wishes come true. Check out some more lucky Chinese New Year foods.



Photo by Adeline Aninda

– If you’re dying to study abroad in South America or backpack across Europe, eat chicken wings. It is believed that children who wish to visit overseas should eat chicken wings in order to successfully make the trip abroad.

– Avoid eating rice from a small plate: it will cause the people closest to you to reject you.

– Eating at the door could result in having difficulty in finding a spouse. Don’t rush and scarf down that sandwich as you’re leaving for class. Instead, take some time for yourself and enjoy your meal. While you’re at it, try to avoid some of these other diet habits.