Below are the most common Chinese New Year food and snacks. You can see them everywhere – your own home, relatives’ house, company pantry, heartland mall Pasar Malam, Chinatown, bakery shops, chinese/ non-chinese restaurant, cartshop etc. Some of my friends and their mothers have been busily making them before Chinese New Year, clearly seen in my instagram and Facebook feed. Without further ado, read on my below list to see if it matches your 9 Must Eat Chinese New Year food.
All pictures are from Instagram via Iconosquare.
1. Pineapple Tarts aka 黄梨挞，黄梨酥，ong lai tart
Come in different shapes. With a hex sign on top. Then also have an oval shape dough filled with pineapple jam filling. Can be mould into different shapes like rose, burger, pineapple and sheep and many more.
2. Love Letters aka 鸡蛋卷, kuih kapit, eggroll
They are made with a metal circular mould which is then rolled up or folded into a quadrant. Crispy and smell fragrant. I saw some special flavour with sprinkled sesame and seaweed.
3. Lohei aka 捞鱼生
Every ingredients has a auspicious meaning. See the before (get ready with plastic sheet to cover the table), process (shouting Huat ah! and scooping very very high) and aftermath (prepare for the mess) below.
4. Bak Kwa aka 肉干, pork jerky
Can be very oily and hard. Sometime sandwich in breads as breakfast. A very heavy one.
Most expensive of all. My family will buy a canned abalone to eat during our Chinese New Eve reunion dinner. Not as fancy as the photo. Most probably slice and cook together in an all-in-one steamboat style hotpot soup.
6. Mandarin Orange
Need to exchange 2 mandarin orange with the host of the house you are visiting.
7. Prawn Cracker
I usually eat those store in big metal tin. Sometime eat with chili sauce.
Ready made can be bought in most Fairprice NTUC. A octagon box containing 8 types of snacks. Mostly preserved prunes, nuts or assorted flavour. My family usually buy the type with prunes. Usually there are dried olive, red dates, sour plum and such for prunes. From my last few years experience, those without seed (lazy to spill the seeds) and taste sour (great for digestion and clearing the oily aftermath after a big meal) are the most popular. Another alternative is that you can buy plastic/ wooden container with 6 to 8 compartments. Then you can fill in with your favourite snacks like gummies, peanuts, chocolate and etc.
9. Hei Bi Hiam Roll aka Shrimp roll
Slightly spicy. As it is a deep fried food, it cannot be kept long. Or else it will have a bad “oily” smell. For some, Hei Bi Hiam cannot be eaten too much (like me), as they are very “poisonous” or in Chinese medicine term”毒”. They can cause mass breakouts and itchiness for me.
More Chinese New Year food like kueh lapis, sunflower seeds, pistachios, cashew nuts, chocolates, almond tarts, honey cornflakes, arrowhead chips, dumplings, sea cucumber, fat choy, pen cai dishes, and many more. Feel free to leave a comment to add into the list.