Chinese New Year Cookies
Hi there! This is Ang Jin Teong from Malaysia. Chinese New Year is around the corner and I would like to try a few of our localised festive delicacies. The traditional delicacies are usually based on taste and each delicacy represents something different in the traditions. Therefore, most of the CNY snacks have a story or auspicious meaning.
“Kuih Kapit,” is one of the most popular Malaysian Chinese snacks during Chinese New Year. This snack is a must- eat snack for Malaysians. This Nyonya original snack is thin and crispy. What makes this snack distinctive from the other snacks is that it is light to hold and the delicate patterns on the cookie. It is made using a mould which imprints patterns on to the dough. In Cantonese, it is read as “Kueh-ka-pek,” 粿加必. Some even call the cookie a type of love letter because when the mould is used to clamp the dough together, the imprinted patterns look like a love letter. Most people make this during CNY because that is the only time in the year where their household gathers. This snack requires much labour to produce this efficiently. It is also seen as a bonding session between family members.
“Kuih Bangkit” is a traditional Malaysian ethnic snack. During CNY, ethnic Chinese in Malaysia like to have the snack “Kuih Bangkit.”The name “Kuih Bangkit,” is a literal translation which means “rising cake.” This name has a meaning behind it, which is of prosperity and abundant growth. The literal translation is to give a wish towards every household of prosperity and abundant growth. It is for this reason it has slowly made it into the list of the must eat snack during CNY.
“Nian Gao,” is one of Chinese origin snacks. It is made from glutinous rice flour, water, and sugar. The main reasons people want to “have Nian Gao,” for CNY celebrations is because they want a “higher year.” By saying the word, “Nian,” which means year and “Gao” which means high or tall. The “ Nian Gao” is symbolic of the higher good ascending into a better life, where everything believed to be good goes up the order which leads to improvement in your life. The “ Nian Gao” is symbolic of improvements, where everything believed to be good goes up the order to a better life. The folklore elders would pass down is that the “Kitchen God” which resides in every house. The “Kitchen God” is a deity from the Heaven Realm. He is required to make a “yearly report” to the Jade Emperor on how each family is doing throughout the year. So, by offering the “Nian Gao,” the Kitchen God will have trouble saying too many bad things (Instead he will talk about the good things), because his mouth is full of the sticky rice cake. This will make his report, to the Heaven Realm, short and sweet. (pun intended)
Another auspicious naming snack is the Pineapple Tart. In Chinese/Mandarin, pineapple is called “Huang Li,” 黃梨. In Cantonese, this is read as “wong lai” 旺來, which represents the arrival of good fortune. Besides that, this snack is relatively simple to make, as it requires a ready-made pineapple jam and simple dough. This dough is made of flour, water, and sugar. Then you bake it!
This is a traditional snack that came all the way, from China. Peanut cookies are favoured during CNY. This is simply because they are called “Huang Sheng Bing,” 花生饼, 花生, which also means growth. Therefore, these snacks represent hope for growth in this upcoming new year.
The last snack that I will tell you about is the almond cookie. This is based on a localised version of the peanut cookies, but instead of using peanuts as the main ingredient. The recipe uses almonds instead. These are also popular during CNY as well!
There are many other CNY snacks! I just wanted to mention a few! Some other popular snacks that we have are, “Bah Kua,” 肉干, “ Fried Sliced Arrowhead”, 炸芽菇, “Kuih Loyang, ” 蜂巢饼, “ Crispy Seaweed Cracker, ”炸紫菜片 and many others! So please comment and tell me, which one would you like to try?