Scrumptious Saturday Vol. 23 : Celebrating the Chinese New Year with goodies!

by Paris B on · 33 comments

in Food & Lifestyle

cny goodies Scrumptious Saturday Vol. 23 : Celebrating the Chinese New Year with goodies!

Today is the eve of the Chinese New Year which falls on Feb 10th this year (tomorrow!) and I’m so happy its finally here icon biggrin Scrumptious Saturday Vol. 23 : Celebrating the Chinese New Year with goodies! Chinese New Year or the Lunar New Year is a very big thing here in Asia and just as big here in Malaysia. For me, this is the one big festival of the year and I am quite set in many little traditions icon biggrin Scrumptious Saturday Vol. 23 : Celebrating the Chinese New Year with goodies! I’m already back home in my hometown by the time this post goes live, awaiting the big feast that is the Reunion dinner later today.

This year, I was terribly terribly busy at work in the lead up to the New Year and a lot of things were left undone. I managed to do a whirlwind clean of my house before I left (putting clutter into a room & shutting the door counts right? icon razz Scrumptious Saturday Vol. 23 : Celebrating the Chinese New Year with goodies! ), and although I did pick up a couple of new clothes, none were bright red this year. I did discover that one is maroon so it’ll have to do icon smile Scrumptious Saturday Vol. 23 : Celebrating the Chinese New Year with goodies!

At the last minute, I did manage to pick up some of my must-have Chinese New Year snacks  so I wanted to share with you some of the stuff I indulge in every time at this time of year. Some traditional, some personal favourites but all scrumptious, I can assure you! icon biggrin Scrumptious Saturday Vol. 23 : Celebrating the Chinese New Year with goodies!

cny oranges Scrumptious Saturday Vol. 23 : Celebrating the Chinese New Year with goodies!

Mandarin Oranges

These are customary to signify gold as the Chinese word for them – “kum” also means gold and therefore prosperity. Chinese are big on prosperity LOL! icon biggrin Scrumptious Saturday Vol. 23 : Celebrating the Chinese New Year with goodies! I usually bring a box home for my parents which signifies bringing gold into the house which is of course a very good thing! We also bring some along when we visit friends and relatives. There are different species of mandarin oranges, but in the main, they are sweet and tangy and juicy and taste so good cold from the fridge. Perfect on hot hot afternoons lazing at home icon biggrin Scrumptious Saturday Vol. 23 : Celebrating the Chinese New Year with goodies!


The pomelo is also a popular fruit during the Chinese New Year because it signifies good fortune. We also sometimes use it in prayers, but for the most part, its just good to eat! icon biggrin Scrumptious Saturday Vol. 23 : Celebrating the Chinese New Year with goodies! If you haven’t seen it before, its that green fruit in the back, pretty much like a giant grapefruit with a thick skin and segments on the inside like that of a grapefruit. The tangy citrus fruit is excellent eaten chilled.

“Nian Kao” or Chinese New Year cake

cny niangao Scrumptious Saturday Vol. 23 : Celebrating the Chinese New Year with goodies!

These are traditional in my household. It is a sweet glutinous rice flour cake that is traditionally wrapped in banana leaves and steamed, and is traditionally an offering to the Kitchen God to sweeten his disposition so he only reports good things to the Jade Emperor, or to stick his mouth together so he can’t report the bad stuff, whichever version you prefer LOL! The word “nian gao” also sounds like “higher year” which basically is good tidings for the new year. There are many ways to eat this but the popular ones are to cut it into slices and steam to soften, then coat it with grated coconut. Another popular method is to sandwich this between a slice of sweet potato and yam, batter it and deep fry. Both are absolutely delicious!

Pineapple Tarts

cny tarts Scrumptious Saturday Vol. 23 : Celebrating the Chinese New Year with goodies!

This isn’t a personal favourite but my brother loves these so I buy them for him every year. We like these open faced ones which has a shortcrust pastry base and pineapple jam on top. It also comes in a rolled version, with pineapple jam rolled inside shortcrust pastry. There are many versions but all are really good! Its quite funny because you only really see these pop up everywhere in the lead up to the Chinese New Year although they can be easily made at any time of the year.

Mini Spring Rolls aka Baby Popiah

cny popiah2 Scrumptious Saturday Vol. 23 : Celebrating the Chinese New Year with goodies!

I can eat these baby popiah, as I call them, by the handfuls! They are terribly addictive! These are, as the name implies mini deep fried spring rolls. I like the ones filled with spicy dried shrimp but it also comes filled with non spicy meat floss. Much too addictive… nom nom!

“Ngaku” Chips or Arrowhead Chips

cny ngaku Scrumptious Saturday Vol. 23 : Celebrating the Chinese New Year with goodies!

Arrowhead or locally known as “ngaku” make their appearance only at Chinese New Year so I can be forgiven for stuffing my face with these as if they are going out of style. They are because once this season is over, these chips are nowhere to be seen! Arrowhead is a bulb which is rather starchy, like a little potato. I like cooking it with meat as well but its is most popular sliced thinly and made into chips. Absolutely… whats that word again? Addictive! icon biggrin Scrumptious Saturday Vol. 23 : Celebrating the Chinese New Year with goodies!

Random snacks!

cny goodies2 Scrumptious Saturday Vol. 23 : Celebrating the Chinese New Year with goodies!

While the rest are must haves every year, I sometimes also pick up some random snacks and the 2 random snacks I picked up this year for fun are deep fried lotus root slices and fried seaweed. They are quite interesting and as with all these snacks, terribly addictive! I think I’ve used the word “addictive” one too many times today LOL! After taking this photo, I inhaled all of these. Oops! *burp*

What are your must-haves for the Chinese New Year celebrations if you celebrate it? Are any of mine on your list?

Many people buy dried bbq meat or bak kwa but I don’t because we don’t really eat it as a family. We used to buy cookies but since I rarely eat cookies, I leave it for the others in the family to buy them. My job come Chinese New Year is as purveyor of oranges, snacks and goodies. I think I do a pretty good job of it icon wink Scrumptious Saturday Vol. 23 : Celebrating the Chinese New Year with goodies!

Paris B

Scrumptious Saturday: The one day in a week where I indulge in my other love of food, glorious food! Join me on my lipsmacking journeys near and far as we sample life’s indulgences and make an attempt to cook.

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[ 33 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

M.L. Chow February 9, 2013 at 9:00 am

Love this festive piece! Reading it really puts me in the CNY mood and is just perfect timing because it reminds me of the goodies that I will buy during last minute shopping today!
Gong Xi Fa Cai!!


Paris B February 13, 2013 at 11:06 pm

I hope you got all the goodies during your shopping and that you’ve happily pigged out on them haha! Gong Xi Fa Cai!!


LSY February 9, 2013 at 10:05 am

Gong xi fa cai! Don’t forget love letter biscuits and bak kuahs too.


Paris B February 13, 2013 at 11:07 pm

Gong Xi Fa Cai! I actually don’t buy bak kwa since no one eats it, but I didn’t manage to get good love letters this year. I like the rolled ones as opposed to the folded ones and its so hard to get those these days


Jennifer February 9, 2013 at 10:27 am

Happy Chinese New Year Paris! I concur with all your Chinese New Year goodies especially the traditional Nian Kao in leaves! These days it is hard to find these authentic Nian Kao. I remembered these vividly from my childhood days where we will offer heaps of this on the altar and post Chinese New Year, mum will steam it and roll it onto shredded fresh coconut or deep fry it sandwiched between yam and sweet potato :) Absolutely awesome and nostalgic. Flashbacks of childhood include my aunts making kuih kapit with multiple mini charcoal portable stoves! My cousins and I will be helping to fold the kuih kapit freshly baked from the mould and nibble on our hard labour along the way till we got caught lol. Bak kwa and pork floss were always staples as my grandfather used to own a butcher house. On first of Chinese New Year, it was the customary mee suah in pork broth and a hard boiled egg. Then there’s pork belly soup with fish maw and heaps of Hokkien favourite dishes.

Anyhow, Chinese New Year in those days were super awesome. We were always decked in red clothes and they have to be new. My elder cousins and uncles will spend a bomb to buy the flashiest fireworks for us to play at night. It was a night parade for us bringing along the sparklers and all trotting our way in the olden housing area in Penang.

Alas, development took over the rustic childhood. As I grew older, I find myself doing away with a lot of traditions. These days I shop for new clothes only mostly for work and do not specifically save a new set for Chinese New Year lol. I spend Chinese New Year recharging my batteries and meet up with friends.

Wishing you and family a joyous and prosperous Chinese New Year :)


Paris B February 13, 2013 at 11:12 pm

These days everything is encased in plastic but a friend of mine picks these traditional nian kao from the market for me because I’m big on traditional flavours ;) we should be snacking on ours one of these days now. Am in a food coma most of the first few days of CNY lol!

Lucky you to have a butcher in your family! The bak kwa and floss you get must be of the honest quality! We have fish maw and pig maw soup and braised sea cucumber with pig trotters too as our traditional meals. Am leaning to cook them so it doesn’t get lost some day :D I still do the basic traditions – new clothes, preferably red, settle debts, clean house and make sure there’s lots of food in the house so we don’t starve for the rest of the year :D I hope you have a fun celebration this year and a happy and prosperous new year ahead!


Natasha February 9, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Everything looks scrumptious! Although I am not Asian, I’ve kind of adopted Chinese New Year’s as one of my favorite holidays. I love having noodles, fat jiaozi and plump tangerines for our celebration. And then I add some bulgogi for my hubby (who is half- Korean)…

Alas, this year we are going to at a conference in Colorado instead of at home… so We’re going to miss this year’s celebration. Sigh.


Paris B February 13, 2013 at 11:15 pm

Take heart that the celebrations are on for 15 days so you still have time to celebrate it, Natasha! :D so time to indulge in noodles, jiaozi and tangerines now!


Jyoan February 9, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Whoa! Nice. I love Pineapple Tarts and nian gao too! OMG, so delicious.

My other must-have is Bak Kwa. It’s never CNY without pineapple tarts and bak kwa.


Paris B February 13, 2013 at 11:16 pm

Lol I hope you had lots of both this new year! Happy new year, Jyoan!


Sofia February 9, 2013 at 7:14 pm

I miss being in Asia in Chinese New Years. Everything looks so good it makes you feel like stopping by your place ;) Happy Chinese New Year Paris!


Paris B February 13, 2013 at 11:17 pm

Thank you, Sofia! CNY is such a fun time for me and my favorite time of year! Feel free to stop by – there’s always lots to eat! ;)


Catherine February 9, 2013 at 9:19 pm

Everything looks delicious! Especially this cake, never heard of it. I will need to tell my dearest that tomorrow is new year, he is a snake! Even if we dont really celebrate… :) Happy New Year Paris!!


Paris B February 13, 2013 at 11:21 pm

I’m not sure how common this sticky cake is outside of Asia but if you ever come across it in a Chinese restaurant around Chinese New Year, give it a try ;) And its your dearest’s year this year! Gonna be a good one then ;)


Sunny February 9, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Happy Chinese New Year, Paris! Going through your list I realized the stuff you have there is quite different! I really like Nian Kao (we say nian gao but anyways) too, but ours is not steamed on banana leaves! You can steam it, but I don’t like how sticky it gets. I love it when my mom coats it with batter and fry it though :) Enjoy all the food and a lovely time with your family!


Paris B February 13, 2013 at 11:23 pm

It’s probably Nian Gao for all you know (romanization of Chinese pronunciation is not my strong suit lol!) the banana leaves add a lovely scent and flavour to the cake but I too prefer it battered and fried. So bad and yet so delicious! I hope you had a lovely Chinese New Year celebration too!


Makeup Morsels February 10, 2013 at 11:30 am

aldsfjklasdjf groann this post is making me crazy hungry. I LOVE pomelo and nian kao *makes grabby hands at screen*


Paris B February 13, 2013 at 11:27 pm

Times like this, I wish they’d invented the teleporter technology already so I could teleport the food to you!


Mari Ohira February 11, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Everything seems really delicious! I have never eaten any of those since I’m not very familiar with Chinese celebrations – even though we do have a big party every year in our Asian neighbourhood. I only ate moon cakes or something to that effect – I’m not really sure how they are called. I will surely look for those treats next time I hit the Chinese stores! ;)


Paris B February 13, 2013 at 11:33 pm

Moon cake festival is usually around Sept/Oct (8th lunar month) ;) I don’t know how common this sticky new year cake is outside of Asia but if you come across it do give it a try. It’s delicious! I hope you had a fun celebration this year and Happy New Year to you!


Mari Ohira February 15, 2013 at 9:38 am

Oh, so it’s another festival altogether! *Bangs head against the wall* Since the Chinese community here is big – and growing quickly! – as well, I am sure I will find this cake eventually. Besides, I’m thinking about hitting the Eastern shores next year. ;)

Happy New Year!

PS. I started a blog about my city. It’s got only one post so far, but come visit it later should you want to know more about Sao Paulo.


Paris B February 16, 2013 at 9:22 am

Haha yes, the Mooncake festival is much later in the year :D I’ll definitely check out your new blog, Mari. I love travelling and I love it when people share about the cities they live in. There is so much to discover in every city! Where are you planning to hit up in Asia then? :D


Mari Ohira February 17, 2013 at 9:58 pm

Next year I’ll probably be doing a one-month tour, visiting Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore. I’ll be searching your blog for travel tips! :D


Jacqueline February 12, 2013 at 11:16 am

The thing with pineapple tarts is to find the right one. It is always a hit or miss with me but I’m thankful because it means I can resist them. I don’t know why but I love nian gao, I can’t wait till my mom cooks her batch. Happy Chinese New Year Paris!


Paris B February 13, 2013 at 11:39 pm

A friend was telling me about how many calories a pineapple tart contains. I told her I was glad I didn’t count calories lol! I don’t eat many, nor am I a big fan. I prefer savory snacks ;) I hope you had a lovely celebration, lots of nian gao and lots of joy and good fortune in the coming year!


lisa February 12, 2013 at 1:48 pm

My favorites are those open faced pineapple tarts, popiah rolls and kueh bangkit. So addictive. This year, i bought lychee cookies which are so good with tea.


Paris B February 13, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Lychee cookies! That sounds so delicious! You just reminded me I forgot to get kuih bangkit this year! I live a good kuih bangkit but its not easy to get good ones anymore. Happy new year, Lisa!


Swati February 13, 2013 at 3:46 pm

wow…I am later but wish you a very happy new year :) and you treats are just awesome specially the cakes. please feed me those :D


Paris B February 13, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Thank you, the celebrations are for 15 days so you arent late! ;) Haha come visit at this time of year, Swati and you and indulge along with us! :D


Amanda February 17, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Happy New Year, Paris! I’ve never seen ‘ngaku’ before. At least not in where I’m from in Sarawak :) My family must-haves for CNY are kuih lapis (different colours, different flavours), pineapple tarts, bak kwa, prawn and fish crackers + homemade acar, and mini spring rolls. My sister and I also bring other snacks from Europe and Hong Kong when we’re home for CNY.


Paris B February 18, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Happy New Year Amanda! Its funny! Ngaku must be a WM thing. CNY must be such a gastronomic time at your house. I always see the Sarawak kuih lapis but haven’t tried any because the bright colours actually scare me! Tell me its worth having? :D


plue February 20, 2013 at 1:14 pm

happy chinese new year!

i haven’t been snacking on these much, and neither have I been eating a lot these days~ i think the body is getting old and not feeling much for these :P

there’s one thing i want to eat but it’s insanely difficult to get some.. chocolate covered cornflake cookies!


Paris B February 23, 2013 at 11:51 am

That sounds easy enough to make Plue! :D I think I snacked too much over CNY so am now on a diet haha


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