Let’s Talk About Food: Chinese New Year Goodies! – Movement Labs

Let’s Talk About Food: Chinese New Year Goodies!

Finally: It’s time to talk about Chinese New Year treats!

Previously, I described a bit about our schedule and habits for Chinese New Year visiting, which inevitably includes the consumption of plenty of Chinese New Year goodies.  These treats start popping up everywhere: in supermarkets, in retail stores, and at kiosks in malls and hawker centers, just after Christmas.  Although there are only 10-15 different kinds of treats, there are many different producers/bakeries, and everyone has a favorite brand of their favorite treat.

On the second day of the new year, we did some familial visiting in the morning, then invited some of KMN’s non-Chinese co-workers over for a little party/pseudo-CNY-visit.  Many of them ended up being called in to work – but we enjoyed a small gathering anyway, and had fun sharing these treats, talking about CNY culture/traditions (and plenty of other things), and relaxing.  So, what kind of treats did we have? Let’s start with the savories:

This is bakkwa - a salty, sweet preserved meat (usually pork, but can be made with other meat).  The meat is seasoned, then dried on big racks at 50-60 C.  It is sold in sheets (~6" square).  We cut these pieces a bit smaller.

This is bakkwa – a salty, sweet preserved meat (usually pork, but can be made with other meat). The meat is seasoned, then dried on big racks at 50-60 C. It is sold in sheets (~6″ square). We cut these pieces a bit smaller.

See, I TOLD you that bakkwa was made out of all sorts of meat...  (Beef and mutton are more popular alternatives than Crocodile, though!)

See, I TOLD you that bakkwa was made out of all sorts of meat… (Beef and mutton are more popular alternatives than Crocodile, though!)

Honestly, the Crocodile tasted mostly…like bakkwa.  To me, the meat doesn’t matter much – it all pretty much tastes like the salty/sweet seasoning, and a little bit chewy.

Prawn rolls!  These actually look like miniature egg rolls (~1.5" long), and are filled with dried shrimp product, and probably lots of preservatives.

Prawn rolls! These actually look like miniature egg rolls (~1.5″ long), and are filled with dried shrimp, chili, and spices.

In my opinion, these are the most popular salty snacks.  Shrimp crackers are also popular – think of the big, flat white/yellow-ish crackers you sometimes get at a Chinese restaurant.  The ones that, if you stick your tongue out, and press the cracker to your tongue, it will stick.  [Nah, I never did this.  Especially not in a random Chinese restaurant in the Spanish seaside town of Cádiz, in January, with a few other Drewid ladies…]  *ahem*

Anyway…on to the sweets!

Love Letters are very thin, crispy treats that are imprinted with a design before being rolled.  They are crispy, light, and hard not to like!

Love Letters are very thin, crispy treats that are imprinted with a design before being rolled. They are crispy, light, and hard not to like!

The trickiest thing with Love Letters?  Keeping the, crispy, once the container is first opened.  This is the standard package size for Love Letters...

The trickiest thing with Love Letters? Keeping them crispy in a humid climate, once the container is first opened. This is the standard package size for Love Letters…

Small cookies made of tapioca flour mixed with coconut milk.  They are sweet, and have a crumbly/powdery texture that's unlike anything else I've ever eaten.

Small cookies made of tapioca flour mixed with coconut milk. They are sweet, and have a crumbly/powdery texture that’s unlike anything else I’ve ever eaten.

And last, but not least…

Pineapple tarts!  These are my favorite Chinese New Year treats - sweetened, partially dehydrated pineapple mixture is set atop (or within) a crumbly, slightly-salty, flaky pastry.

Pineapple tarts! These are my favorite Chinese New Year treats – sweetened, partially dehydrated pineapple mixture is set atop (or within) a crumbly, slightly-salty, flaky pastry.

And there you have it, folks!  This is certainly not a comprehensive list, but some of the most popular treats, and the ones that we had (and served) over this Chinese New Year.

8 Pineapple Tart Box

Which one would you like me to send you to try?  🙂

-or, if you’re in Singapore –

What’s your favorite CNY treat?  Did I leave out anything important??

 

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12 Comments
  1. Meg February 26, 2013 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    The tapioca/ coconut milk ones sound promising- no gluten? 🙂

    • Holly KN February 26, 2013 at 4:08 pm - Reply

      According to the label: Sugar, Tapioca Flour, Egg & Coconut Milk. Sounds gluten-free to me. Not sure about how the tapioca flour is processed, though…are you sensitive to processing cross-contamination?

  2. Sarrilly February 26, 2013 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    ok ALL of these look so yummy! maybe I need to get OUT of bed and eat some breakfast… 🙂

    Did you know it was Crocodile before you tried it? Have you ever had the experience of eating something and finding out *later* what it actually was?

    • Holly KN February 26, 2013 at 9:21 pm - Reply

      I did know that it was Crocodile (KMN could hardly contain his excitement over this purchase; he told me within a minute of walking in the door).

      And I HAVE – in fact, when I try something new here, I often ask that I NOT be told what it is until I try it. Most notable example? Jellyfish. Tentacles are actually really, really tasty – crunchy and fresh, when served cold with a vinegary dressing! 🙂 The exception to this rule is organs, which I want to be informed of because I don’t eat – but can usually identify (thanks, Biology degree).

      • sarrilly February 28, 2013 at 3:58 am - Reply

        hahah did I ever tell you about the time I tried jellyfish in China? Same experience – thought it was pretty tasty, esp. with the vinegary dressing…and then I happened to ask what it was. My friend didn’t know the English word for it, so she typed it into her translator and showed me…and then all of a sudden, my stomach started to feel all tingly, like I was being stung from the inside… hehee

  3. Candice February 27, 2013 at 3:41 am - Reply

    Those cookies sound unreal!! Yum!!!
    I haven’t tried any of that stuff!

    • Holly KN February 27, 2013 at 9:01 am - Reply

      They can be a little bit dangerous… But (thankfully?) there’s not much chocolate. Eventually, I tire of these. But if they were chocolate chip cookies…my consumption could know no bounds! =)

  4. Cecilia @MommiesRUn February 27, 2013 at 8:19 am - Reply

    Hmmm….it’s a good thing I don’t live in Singapore. Those wafer cookie looking things look like they’d be good!

    • Holly KN February 27, 2013 at 8:57 am - Reply

      And they’re so light and airy…you could convince yourself you aren’t eating anything. Dangerous! =)

  5. erica prier February 27, 2013 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    is the very last picture pineapple tarts too? they look yum.

    • Holly KN February 27, 2013 at 7:01 pm - Reply

      Yes! They’re a box of the one that’s in the middle of the photo above. They’re tiny and cute…and delicious!

  6. […] ones, click to read about Chinese New Year Preparations, Reunion Dinner, Visiting Days 1 and 2, Chinese New Year Treats, and Chinese New Year Days 3-7.  And with that, we’ll return to non-CNY posting.  But […]

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