Chinese New Year Dinner: Lion’s Head Meatballs

It’s Chinese New Year today and we are going to bust open our fortune cookies and have a great celebration of Chinese food today.

I’ve always been told that American Chinese food isn’t really Chinese food at all. I believe this to be 99% true, in the way that Olive Garden isn’t Italian. Sure it’s still pasta and sauce, but the delivery probably isn’t anywhere near close to traditional.

But lucky me (or unlucky) my family didn’t do Chinese takeout growing up. I don’t remember having it. Ever. It was late into my teen years before I ever bit into a carry out stale and soggy crab rangoon, and not long there after that a great friend of mine took me for dumplings in China town, NYC.

Now, I am ignorant on the subject of what makes a dish traditional and what makes it American “Chinese food” so I am not even going to begin to pretend that this post is in any way authentic, however, it was a blast to make and fun to share my weird blogging-ness with family for this Chinese New Year’s themed spread.

 I am kicking things off with Lion’s Head Meatballs, a recipe I have wanted to try for years. The idea of giant pork meatballs packed with crisp Asian flavors and simmered in a coconut bath had me salivating. I bookmarked it and would occasional revisit the idea. It took this wonderful occasion as the reason for me to finally give a trial run for these bad boys.

I kept the overall meal relatively mild as far as pepper and spice goes. When I make these again, I will add some red curry paste to the coconut milk, and more pepper to the meatballs. Once again, I am not educated in Chinese cuisine, but I feel that with a name like Lion’s head, it should have bark and bite. ;)


  1. A great way to kick off the new year. Happy new year!

  2. Oh wow! These sound lovely.

  3. What a perfect recipe for this wonderful celebration :) Happy New Year :)

  4. Wow, those meatballs look amazing. Heck, everything does. But the meatballs….what a perfect yummy crust you got on them. I’m surprised there’s no garlic in them though. I’d have to add that for sure.

    And just so you know, lions may bite, but I don’t think they bark. :)

  5. Wow those sound good! Although I do enjoy the American-ized Chinese food from certain places, I have been spoiled the past 5 years by our Chinese lab tech who brings us lunch every now and then. Unfortunately she took today off so we’ll probably end up getting the American-style today to celebrate :-(

  6. Kita, I love meatballs and your Asian twist on these sound delicious!!! The perfect way to celebrate the Chinese New Year :)

  7. Kita, these look awesome and I love your presentation. Looking through the ingredient list, the flavors are so perfect together. Love the coconut sauce, too. Looks like a fab feast to me. :)

  8. I got to enjoy that first hand!! The food was amazing!!

  9. Oh my gosh! My stomach is growling so loud now!! These look insanely delish!!

  10. The composition is stunning with this dish! Love it! The meatballs sound very tasty – bookmarked :)

  11. I really want to have these meatballs right away – they sound like such great flavors! Wish I would be up with things, and known about Chinese New Year. Hubby was asking for Chinese food all weekend, and I kept shooting him down!

  12. They sound fantastic, what with the coconut bath, but why lion head? Looks like a wonderful feast!

  13. Happy Chinese New Year and do these meatballs ever look delicious! I LOVE the sauce and while I can’t tell you if they’re authentic, they sure do look tasty!

  14. Kita, these meatballs look just fabulous! The sauce sounds really tasty too!

  15. Oh my Kita. I just made meatballs the other day but I now want them again so I can cook them in a coconut bath. You are a genius!!! My crush just got bigger. Lol!

  16. Yum!! I love love love asian food. I want to travel to asia to eat the food. I’ll have to make these to fill my craving because they sound amazing!

  17. Happy Chinese New Year. This is my first time seeing lion head meatballs served in a coconut sauce. This is certainly an interesting fusioned twist! =) Thanks for sharing this recipe!



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