Q. What are some must-have Chinese New Year snacks and goodies?
With its myriad dishes and goodies, Chinese New Year foods could be a whole cuisine on its own. A few of the most popular (and most delicious) foods are nian gao, a sticky and sweet glutinous rice cake that restaurants get extra creative with each year. Fun fact, “nian” sounds like the Chinese words for “year” and “sticky”.
Pairs of tangerines or oranges are exchanged during home visits. The Chinese word tangerine, ju (橘), sounds like the character for luck, ji (吉), while chen (橙), for orange, sounds like the word for success cheng (成). The Cantonese take is that the giving of oranges, song gam, sounds similar to “giving gold”.
In lieu of the usual oranges, wow with this unique cake in the shape of six lucky oranges, from The Deli Festive at Goodwood Park Hotel. The fondant-covered oranges are in fact kumquat butter cakes with a vanilla butter cream layer. Even the box they sit in is edible—it’s a moist marble cake covered in a red decorative fondant. Great for corporate gifts and CNY potluck get-togethers!
Q. Why are pineapple tarts eaten during Chinese New Year?
A. Apart from the obvious fact that they’re delicious, the Hokkien word for pineapple is “ong lai”, which sounds exactly the same as “fortune come”. Essentially, eating pineapple tarts could bring you great fortune and luck for the coming new year.
The sweet aroma of barbecued bak kwa fills the air in the lead-up to Chinese New Year, as bak kwa sellers in Singapore shift production into high gear.
The origins of this sweet, barbecued sliced meat can be traced back to ancient China in the Fujian province, during a time when poverty was widespread. Meat was a luxury and was hence reserved for the new year. To preserve meat, it was sliced into strips, covered in sauces, then barbecued, giving rise to bak kwa.
Bak kwa’s red colour is—you guessed it—seen as auspicious. But also, that’s secondary to the fact that we devour addictive, calorie-laden bak kwa during Chinese New Year simply because it’s delicious.
Ordering Chinese New Year goodies for guests and personal snack-a-thons could not be easier. Check out the roundup of homemade and gourmet CNY goodies on Oddle Eats.