Discover the balance of ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ foods in Chinese cuisine.
Lunar New Year is just around the corner! The time for happy family reunions and joyful friendly gatherings to bring luck and prosperity. Besides the customary feasts of festive dishes, pastries too, are indispensable as gifts and treats for your guests. So, here are 8 auspicious cookies, munchies, and snacks to complete your Lunar New Year celebrations!
Sweet and fruity with a soft texture that melts in your mouth, pineapple rolls are a Lunar New Year staple in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Pineapple in the Chinese Hokkien dialect is a homonym for ‘bringing the luck’, and this irresistible darling of pineapple jam wrapped in the buttery crust is a jovial and tasty treat to signify exactly that.
Adorable cookies that literally means ‘to rise’, Kuih Bangkit is made with tapioca flour, icing sugar, flour, egg yolks, coconut milk and pandan leaves; cast in a traditional wooden mould for a set of yummy flower, bird and bunny shapes. A Malaysian and Singaporean special for Lunar New Year. Sweet, fragrant, charming to see and a lot of fun to munch.
Kuih Kapit or Chinese love letters is a classic Lunar New Year crêpe for everyone. Traditionally made with a special round mould to clamp the mixture of glutinous rice flour, eggs and coconut milk; grilled over charcoal fire into a paper-thin sheet, then folded into its shape while hot. Hence, the name Kapit, meaning ‘pressed together’. Even today, the making of Kuih Kapit is a community festive affair in Chinese villages. The womenfolk would gather and cook large tin-fulls of it a month before the Lunar New Year, to be shared with all the families. Sweet, crispy and a lovely treat that symbolizes togetherness. Once you tasted your first, it’s hard to stop!
Milky and crunchy, Loong Peng or ‘Dragon Cookies’ are made with margarine, icing sugar, eggs, vanilla essence and flour; battered and pressed from a piping mould to shape into its snaky form before baking. While Western myths often depict dragons as powerful but dangerous beasts, in the East, they are auspicious beings. Ancient Chinese Emperors were believed to be decedents of dragons, and to this day, they are a symbol of good health, strength, dignity and prosperity; though as these traditional cookies, they are cute and very yummy.
Although they look like honeycomb beehives, Kuih Loyang is actually intended to shape like a lotus, a symbol of purity; or a rose, a symbol of love. Flour, eggs, coconut milk and granulated sugar whisked into a pancake batter, shape with a special mould, then deep-fried till crisp. A joyous Lunar New Year treats that go well with tea.
Peanuts are a popular Lunar New Year snack on their own, but this cookie maximizes its tasty potential. A crunchy delight made with flour, egg whites, salt, and of course, peanuts; baked to golden brown yumminess for full-flavour pleasure. The nutty aroma lingers with every bite, and the flavour will have you wanting more. Best enjoyed during long happy chats with friends and family.
Another nutty special for you to indulge, this walnut cookie is more buttery with a soft yet crunchy mouth-feel. Margarine, caster sugar, eggs, flour and walnuts; whipped into a dough, shaped into balls, and then baked till golden brown. Fragrant and deeply satisfying.
An absolute Lunar New Year must-have from China to Southeast Asia, sweet grilled pork jerky is all the rage this time of year. Some might even travel to faraway cities just to get the most famous local Bak Kwa, weeks prior to the celebration; and there are entire businesses that focus just on supplying this ultimate treat. Every chef and vendor has a unique marinade or barbecue technique that gives a flavourful twist, combining the rich taste of pork with a smoky aroma. You can’t import it to Australia, but we got our own special recipe right here, for you to add to your Lunar New Year barbie!