12 Snacks We All End up Eating During Chinese New Year (No Matter How You Resist)

Aiya, just one more lah!

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12 Snacks We All End up Eating During Chinese New Year (No Matter How You Resist)
It’s that time of the year. Your empty coffee table in the hall now holds a red table runner. The next day, there’s a basket and a bunch of oranges. Then you find cartons of Carlsberg and Jolly Shandy lying around the house for consumption and re-sale, because someone always knows a guy who can get it for cheap. And then you start to see assorted tidbit containers with a red top.

This situation. (Image:
For the people in our audience celebrating Chinese New Year, you know it’s that time of the year when you can constantly find packet drinks and canned drinks in the fridge, the snack table is constantly stocked, and your house turns into a gambling den at least once.

And then this situation... Image:
It’s a magical time when your wallet magically expands and then rapidly shrinks after Day Two (or expands if you’re lucky). All your life decisions are scrutinised by family members you haven’t seen in months and you invariably get asked two questions: When you getting married and when you having a baby? Sigh. Good times. Another thing that happens without fail is that your jeans get tighter. And the cause of this isn’t just the Shandy and Carlsberg you’ve been inhaling. It’s these things. Them snacks/tidbits/cookies. 

Don't lie, you've tried every single cookie on this plate. (Image:
These things are so small and addictive, and when you're at your kampung and there's nothing to do but eat, you'll be reaching for one of these things. First it's just one, then you're like, "Quite nice ah". Then you eat another and another, and now it's two hours later and you've finished the whole jar. 

All day err'day.
Before we wrote this list, we didn't even know the names of any of these snacks. For most of these things, we don't even know what they're made of! Here is the full list of snacks we all end up eating during Chinese New Year: 

#1 Pineapple Tarts 

Raise your hands if your mum knows how to make these. Interestingly, these are mainly found in Southeast Asian countries. The wrap is meant to crumble in your mouth and the jam inside is chewy and sweet. We like to pretend it's healthy, like eating fruits. 

Calorie count (five pieces): 410 calories 

#2 Kuih Kapit a.k.a Love Letters

These apparently originate from the Netherlands, from the Dutch egg roll wafer. For those of us with enterprising families, you'll remember sitting over charcoal fire, heating up these wafers and delicately folding them. 

Calorie count (four pieces): 210 calories 

#3 Ear Biscuits

The name and look of these biscuits aren't as inviting as the others on this list but at least once in your life you've looked at the empty table of snacks, eyed this biscuit and said "Meh, try lah". It's a savoury cookie that confuses the senses. Ingredients include: Chinese five spice powder and pepper. 

Calorie count (10 pieces): 160 calories 

#4 Dried Shrimp Rolls

Another savoury snack that will clash with the rest of the things you're putting in your mouth around the table. Deep fried snacks always go well with gambling and drinking so you're sure to have tried these. 

Calorie count (10 pieces): 228 calories 

#5 Bak Kwa 

Yes, the salty and sweet dried meat that only sells during Chinese New Year and is never seen again ever. We're not quite sure how stores stay in business for so long because this particular dried meat isn't a household snack. The illustration below is by Malaysian artist Boey and you can check out the original post on his website here.

Calorie count (one piece): 179 calories

#6 Kuih Bahulu 

Isn't it cool how some parts of our cultures just meld together? The kuih bahulu is a Malay staple that is also found during Eid al-Fitr and are often compared to the French cakes, madeleine. Like love letters, many families have the kuih bahulu mold at home and have made this over charcoal. 

Calorie count (four pieces): 200 calories 

#7 Peanut Cookies 

It's small in size but it packs a punch in the waist area. There's a reason why the peanut cookie only rears its shapely round bum around New Years and it's because the peanut is supposed to represent longevity. There are cashew and almond variants as well. 

Calorie count (three pieces): 216 calories

#8 Kuih Bangkit (Tapioca Cookies)

Just what in the world is tapioca anyway? Ever thought of that? No, you only eat. Well, this powdery cookie is another one of those snacks you try on a whim because why is it so powdery? Why does it crumble this way? And then there's the turning point where curiosity turns to hate or love. 

Calorie count (four pieces): 90 calories (ONLY) 

#9 Ribbon Cookies

Image: (R)
These come in a variety of shapes, but its main ingredient is flour and it's deep fried. Sometimes with sesame seeds. Some have compared this to Italian bread sticks. Some households make these really thick and twirly while some make elaborate shapes out of the cookies with really thin slices. 

Calorie count (five pieces): 200 calories

#10 Honeycomb Cookie/Beehive Cookie/Kuih Rose/Kuih Loyang/Achu Muruku/Achappam/Rosette/Kueh Lobang

As you can tell, this biscuit is very popular. Almost every race in Malaysia prepares this snack for the holidays and many can stake their claim on it. Though in the end, the Swedes and Norwegians have the claim on its origins. How the heck did the recipe and the mold make its way to Malaysia? Over here, the cookies are finely shaped with smooth edges, but a quick search of Rosettes as they're called by ang moh resulted in these ugly monstrosities.

Image: By Jonathunder - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
Calorie count (three pieces): 150 calories 

#11 Sachima

Commonly found in Chinese populated areas, this snack literally translates to "sand his horse". Confusing right? According to 'research' done by this guy, Sachima was a Manchurian word that translates to "dog nipples dipped in syrup". In any case, it's deep fried flour coated in honey. Like a rice krispie dipped in melted rock sugar. 

Calorie count (one piece): 160 calories 

#12 Ngaku Chips
These are better than any Pringle or Mr Potato. These are made from arrowheads and are only commonly found during Chinese New Year. These chips are delicate and difficult to make and one jar of these chips can fetch a pretty high price off the shelves. 

Calorie count (one small bowl): 140 calories

* one bowl of rice is about 220 calories

Have any Chinese New Year stories you'd like to share? Maybe you eat something else during Chinese New Year? Write to us in the comments! We read all of your comments. 

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