8 Must-Have Chinese New Year Snacks 2017

Chinese New Year is just around the corner, and this means it’s time to indulge in lots of foods and drinks! Yes, it’s true they can be fattening to your waistline if you go overboard with your consumption. But at the same time, they can be really hard to resist. Besides, we are talking about essential CNY favourites such as pineapple tarts, kuih kapit and bak kwa. Without further ado, here are the 8 must-have Chinese New Year snacks below.

1. Pineapple Tarts

Sweet yet tangy on the inside and flaky on the outside, pineapple tarts are nevertheless a quintessential cookie for Chinese New Year. Typically, there are two types you can find here: the open-faced (as in the pineapple filling atop the buttery pastry) and the closed version, in which the roll-shaped pastry is encased with pineapple filling.

The filling, of course, comes in the form of a golden-hued thick jam. A jam made from scratch but not the store-bought version is definitely the one that defined a true pineapple tart. Of course, such tart often comes with an above-average price for a plastic jar. After all, manually grating the pineapple fruit itself to make a jam can be demanding and cost a lot of work. Now, some of you might be wondering: why pineapple tarts a must-have during the Chinese New Year season? In Hokkien, pineapple rhymes like “ong lai”, which literally means “prosperity arrives”. So, there you go.

2. Kuih Kapit (Love Letters)


If you bought a jar or a tin (usually recycled Milo tin) of kuih kapit before, you know the price doesn’t come cheap. And yet, the ingredients to make the kuih kapit are basically a simple mix of coconut milk, eggs, flour and sugar. But how come kuih kapit still sold like high-end delicacies? The simple (no pun intended) answer lies on the painstaking process itself.

To make the folded or rolled kuih kapit actually requires a lot of love, skill and patience. The batter from all the combined ingredients needs to be poured over the iron mould and later baked using charcoal fire. To bake a perfect kuih kapit is not easy, as you need to ensure the batter is evenly coated on the iron mould. While the batter is in the baking process, you also have to make sure it doesn’t stay too long on the iron mould or it might turn dark and tastes bitter. Yes, timing is everything when comes to making kuih kapit.

3. Kuih Bangkit (Coconut Cookies)

These pearly white kuih bangkit are deliciously crispy and aromatic upon the first bite. Then comes the best part where the outer layer is then slowly dissolved in your mouth with its chalky softness. Made from coconut milk, eggs, flour and sugar, traditional kuih bangkit is often marked with a red dot at the centre. As for the cookies, they can be found either shaped into floral designs (e.g. chrysanthemum) or Chinese zodiac animals.

4. Bak kwa (Dried Meat)

Bak kwa or dried meat is a barbequed meat jerky traditionally made of pork. But these days, you can find different bak kwa flavours such as beef, chicken, prawn and even lobster. Bak kwa, which is grilled over the charcoal fire and marinated with a mix of sugar and spices, can be found all year long. However, bak kwa is more popular during the Chinese New Year season. Although bak kwa has a reputation for being too costly, there’s a reason why this bite-licious meat jerky is a favourite among many Chinese. Apparently, the deep red colour seen within the surface of the bak kwa is said to symbolise good luck and prosperity.

5. Arrowhead Chips (Ngaku Chips)

No Chinese New Year celebration would be complete without munching some crispy arrowhead a.k.a. ngaku chips out of the plastic jar. Believe it or not, they can be addictive once you lay your hands on these chips. Despite its huge popularity among many Chinese, arrowheads -- which can be found in supermarkets -- are sold only once a year during the Chinese New Year season. Although they are easy to make at home, the process itself can be really tedious.

Imagine all the peeling, washing and slicing each arrowhead you bought to fulfil a container. Then comes the deep-frying part. Even when you are done frying the arrowhead chips, you need to strain all the excess oil and cool them completely before you can store them in an airtight container. This is one of the main reasons why arrowhead chips are typically pricey when you bought the ready-made from outside.

6. Dried Shrimp Rolls

Just like arrowhead chips, dried shrimp rolls are equally addictive as well. Thanks to their bite-sized portions, they are definitely easy to consume (and finish in no time!). Not to mention the irresistible taste of its crunchy deep-fried spring roll on the outside, and the spicy shrimp floss on the inside. Apart from the shrimp version, you can also find these mini rolls with either chicken or pork floss.

7. Nut Cookies

The nut cookies are one of the must-have snacks during the Chinese New Year season. Typically, you can find many kinds of nut cookies on the market. Peanut, walnut, almond, cashew, you name it. Buttery, crispy and crunchy at the same time, these nut cookies are just heavenly upon every bite.

8. Nian Gao (Glutinous/Sticky Rice Cake)

Otherwise known as glutinous or sticky rice cake, nian gao is a traditional Chinese New York delicacy usually eaten steam or deep fried. Nian gao is also known as kuih bakul in Malay. They are made from sugar and glutinous rice flour and usually comes in a circular shape wrapped in banana leaves or clear plastic. For the uninitiated, nian gao literally means “year cake” and boasts a symbolic meaning of “reaching to greater heights in the new year”.

So, there you have it. Some of the snacks can be made at home (we know, it’s too much of a labour) or you can easily purchase them in most pasar malam, shopping malls or online. Delicious as they may seem, always eat in moderation and remember to bring plenty of water (or herbal tea, if you must). Till then, we from ShopCoupons wish you a Happy Chinese New Year!


By Casey Chong
January 16, 2017 | Food & Beverages

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