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If there’s one thing that every celebrating Chinese Singaporean loves about Chinese New Year, it has got to be all those amazing CNY goodies we get to eat.
Every year, there’s a feast of epic proportions with all sorts of sweet treats and delicious delicacies on offer. It might not be great for our waistlines, but once a year can’t hurt, right?
It’s incredibly tough to narrow down our favorites, but we’ve given it a shot. So here you have it: the top 10 best CNY goodies of all time!
1. Pineapple tarts
Let’s start off something everyone is going to agree on. Pineapple tarts have to be in the top 10 best CNY goodies of all time — no question about it. The direct English translation of their Hokkien name ‘ong lai’ is prosperity. That connection has seen the sweet pastry treats become a staple of the CNY goodie table. Bundled with the fact that it is such a delicious treat, that is more than enough reason for us to eat plenty of them over the period.
2. Love Letters
Love letters — a rolled biscuit-like treat — has got to be included on the best CNY goodies, if only for the cute story behind them. It was thought that lovers used to write romantic messages on them and send them to their sweetheart. When the receiver ate the treat, it was like they were taking the message straight to their heart. Traditionally, love letters, also known as Kuih Kapit, exist in a triangular form in the image above. There has been innovative evolution to this dish as different versions of the Kuih Kapit have also become hot favourites.
Special Peanut Kuih Kapit: https://cnygoodies.sg/shop/peanut-kuih-kapit/
Bamboo Charcoal Kuih Kapit + Ordinary Kuih Kapit: https://cnygoodies.sg/shop/bamboo-kuih-kapit/
3. Hae Bee Hiam Roll
Hae Bee Hiam Roll is also known as Spicy Sambal Shrimp Roll or Spicy Sambal Prawn Roll. In the market, those that are not spicy are often avoided. Hae Bee Hiam Roll are also supposed to be crispy and well loved even during ordinary seasons.
4. Mandarin Oranges
There was no way we could leave oranges off this list. They may not be the most complicated of goodies but their symbolizm and strong connection to CNY have made them an absolute classic treat during the period. You will see them across Singapore during the Chinese New Year celebrations and are often passed from one person to another as a gift. Not only are they considered an omen of good fortune, but they taste pretty great too.
5. Salted Egg Yolk Chips
It seems Singaporeans just can’t get enough of salted egg yolk chips… and who can blame then? The crunchy snack has been rising and rising in popularity ever since their introduction with new brands diving into the market almost daily. For that reason they have to be included during CNY celebrations — it would feel strange not to have them there.
6. Kueh Bangkit
Chinese New Year goodies are plentiful, copious and often heavy on the stomach. Kueh bangkit — a soft tapioca cookie with a hard outer shell — break the mould with their light and airy texture. The CNY favorite is a fairly simple mixture of tapioca flour, sugar, eggs, baking powder and coconut cream, but don’t be fooled by its simplicity. Its gorgeous fragrant coconut flavor has made it a fixture for the CNY celebrations.
7. Peanut Cookies
Is there anything more smile-inducing than a freshly baked peanut cookie? The rich nutty flavors are enough to transport you back to every happy CNY celebration you have ever had. Like many of the dishes on this best of list, peanut cookies hold a special place on the CNY dinner table thanks to their special connection with prosperity. It’s thought that eating peanuts brings growth, good fortune and luck in the new year.
8. Yu Sheng
A legendary dish of the CNY celebrations, yu sheng (also known as prosperity toss) holds a special place in the heart of many a Singaporean. The rainbow-colored meal of (primarily) raw fish and vegetables even comes with its own rituals such as the tossing of the yu sheng. The process, known as lo hei, is thought to bring prosperity to the person who tosses the highest.
9. Bak Kwa
Bak kwa — a Chinese version of jerky — is a mind-blowing concoction of traditional flavors including five spice and soy sauce. We love it for its simplicity and punchy tastes. Its reddish color also gives it extra significance during the CNY celebrations, in which it is often offered as a gift or eaten at major parties and dinners. It’s also worth noting that bak kwa is one of the only savory goodies to make it on to the top 10 list, making it a nice break from the other sweeter flavors.
10. Nian Gao
The majority of CNY revellers will enjoy nian gao at least once this CNY — and for good reason. The sticky rice cake is an absolutely essential part of the Chinese New Year celebrations. Not only are they delicious, but it is known to bring good luck to the eater. That’s because the ‘gao’ part translates as high or tall, suggesting that growth is coming in the future.