Chinese New Year is here! Gong Xi Fa Cai!
There are always lots of good food and snacks during the festive season. Here are some of the South-East Asian goodies to enjoy during Chinese New Year.
1. Yusheng (Lo Hei)
Yusheng is a dish of salad with raw fish slices. This dish is usually served in most Chinese and Japanese restaurants in Singapore or Malaysia during the Chinese New Year (CNY). Although it’s a salad, the ingredients and way of eating it is far from your typical salad. Shredded vegetables, spices and sauces and the raw fish slices are first neatly arrange on a big tray or plate, and people will gather around the tray, tossing and mixing all the ingredients using chopsticks, with greetings and well wishes for the new year.
Though the salad will usually end up in a beautiful mess, it’s the act of getting together and exchanging well wishes for each other that really brings out the significance of this dish. If you happen to be trying this dish for the first time, be sure to join in the fun and give a hearty shout of “Huat Ah” (Bring in Prosperity) during the toss!
2. Pineapple Tarts
A sweet treat that most just cannot resist. A buttery pastry with sweet pineapple paste, this is one of the must-have snacks. Pineapple in Hokkien dialect is “Ong Lai”, meaning “Fortune will come”. It’s a really auspicious symbol in Chinese culture here in South-east Asia. These little goodies comes in all shapes and sizes, ranging from bite-size tarts to bigger ones as large as a golf ball. Though it’s definitely on the high side for its sugar level, it’s hard to overcome the temptation of having more. It’s always one of the first snack to run out during visits, well-loved by both young and old. Be sure to take note of your sugar intake!
3. Kueh Bangkit
One of the signature snacks from the Peranakan culture for CNY, Kueh Bangkit is a white cookie made of tapioca and coconut. It may look like a simple cookie, but the best Kueh Bangkit has a mesmerizing pandan frangrance, and would just melt into a delicious creamy paste the moment you put it in your mouth. It’s also another popular traditional snack for both CNY and Hari Raya festival. Like the Pernarakan, Kush Bangkit is a snack produced through the harmonious union of two different cultures. The substance that lies within it’s humble look also hold a great significance in Asian culture of modesty.
There are just too much goodies to go through, so we will leave the rest to your own exploration. If this is your first time in celebrating Chinese New Year here in South-East Asia, be adventurous and try out all the good food there is. Some of them, like Yusheng, are only on sale during this festive season. Miss it, and you will probably have to wait another year to enjoy them.
Have a wonderful Chinese New Year! 新年快乐！