Happy Chinese New Year everyone!! Technically the first day of Chinese New Year according to the lunar calendar is yesterday but we celebrate Chinese New Year for 3 consecutive days, so the new year atmosphere is still around. This is my second year missing CNY in Hong Kong. I miss the festive food most so I thought I would share with you some of my favourite CNY food!
Don’t be fool by the word ‘cake’. This is savoury! Its filled with Chinese sausages, dried shrimps and scallops and of course loads of turnip!! It is very dense and you can taste all the yummy fillings in every bite as it is mixed thoroughly. It can be eaten fried or steamed, usually with condiments like soy sauce or chilli paste. I love to eat it in both ways as you get a different feel with the two.
2. Nian gao (sticky rice cake)
This is a sweet cake! It is mainly made with glutinous rice flour and can be found in both brown and white colour due to the different sugar used. Some of them are even shaped as a fish to symbolize a fruitful year ahead. Once it is warm, it will become soft and sticky and we usually coat it with a layer of egg while we fry it.
3. Melon seeds
I think this is one of the CNY only food items. Although it is available all year round, a lot of people(including me) only eat them during CNY. I don’t really know why but this has kinda become a trend. After all the years of practising, I think I’m pretty skilled at cracking the melon seed shells with my teeth! Although there are now crackers for melon seeds, using my teeth feels more festive and traditional!
4. Fried sesame balls
I call these the ‘devil snacks’. Its devil because if you are unaware, you can eat a handful at one go or even finish the whole pack! However, as they are deep fried, you can imagine how much oil is used to fry them! But they do taste really nice, its crunchy, light and with sesame seeds coated all over it. Plus, as they are dainty and small, you are tempted to continue eating them.
5. Tang Yuen (glutinous rice dumplings)
I love tang yuen!!! This really isn’t a CNY only dessert but I thought it is worth a mention. They are these small glutinous rice balls, wrapped with various sweet or savoury fillings, like sesame paste, red bean and peanuts. I like it best when they are served with a sweet and gingery soup!
Last but not least, is this ‘Li Shi’ candy!! I haven’t had these in years but I used to love them while I was a kid. Its not that popular nowadays but my grandmother still have it in her house during CNY. It is a hard candy that tastes like yakult/caramel. I don’t exactly remember how it tastes since it was so long I last had one but this is definitely one of my top favourite CNY sweets!
Luckily, almost all of the food I mentioned is available all year round, so I can still have them while I’m back. But eating them during Chinese New Year is so much more fun and enjoyable!
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