Whether presented as gifts or left at home as snacks to offer guests, delectable goodies usually come to define CNY celebrations at home. These snacks are undoubtedly good to eat but there is actually a reason why people mainly have them during Chinese New Year. There are many popular CNY goodies and snacks and these are the major ones:
- Pineapple tarts – In Hokkien, pineapples are called “ong lai” which also means “luck is coming.” Because of this, pineapples are frequently displayed in homes during the Lunar New Year period and pineapple tarts / balls are frequently eaten or given as gifts as a means of bringing in the luck. You can check out my more detailed guide on this topic here.
- BBQ pork – This is probably the most sought after goodie to try during CNY, especially in Singapore. Although available year round, strips of BBQ pork are most popular during Chinese New Year because of their red color, symbolizing luck. This tasty snack also originated as an expensive food item and as such, people consume them during this period to signify prosperity for the coming year. You can check out my separate guide on the best BBQ pork to try in Singapore.
- Nian gao – Literally translated as the “year cake,” nian gao is usually eaten during Chinese New Year because its sticky and glutinous quality is traditionally believed in Chinese mythology to seal the Kitchen God’s mouth shut. Offering nian gao keeps him from badmouthing you to the Jade Emperor in his annual CNY report.
- Shrimp rolls – Cylindrical-shaped snacks such as shrimp rolls are also popular during Chinese New Year. Their golden color coupled with the cylindrical shape are akin to gold bars and as such, symbolize wealth.
- Radish cake – This savory goodie is another popular food to eat during CNY because its Hokkien name (“chai tow”) sounds similar to the Hokkien word for prosperity and rising fortunes.
Here are some of the best and most popular places where you can grab these snacks – including some creative variations for the upcoming Year of the Tiger. Tag me on Instagram (@iwanderrr) with your CNY goodies haul and I will try my best to re-share.