While the rest of the world is recovering from 1st Jan’s excesses, Chinese community living in India is getting geared up to celebrate Chinese New Year.
The festive atmosphere, the spring cleaning, the spectacular fireworks, the aromas of different dishes in the air— all of it is part of welcoming the new year. And what adds to the festive mood are some homemade fortune cookies. It’s the perfect way to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
These little gems are delicious, of course, but the best thing about them is you can stuff your own personalised fortunes inside. Perfect conversation starters for a Chinese New Year party — or any party, really.
Let’s learn more about the significance of these goodies often served during Chinese New Year. While some of these get their meaning from homonyms, others carry symbolic meaning based on their resemblance. Here’s our pick of top five bakes:
- Niangao: Niangao directly translates to “year cake”. However, “gao” in Chinese also means “high” and symbolises reaching greater heights in the new year.
- Pineapple tarts: The symbolism of pineapple tarts lies in its Hokkien word for pineapple, “ong lai”, which translates to “the arrival of prosperity or good fortune”.
- Love letters: As the story goes, these letters were rolled into the wafers as a way for secret lovers to communicate in the past. Consuming the wafers also represents the idea that the lover’s words were taken to heart.
- Hae bi hiam rolls: Prawns in Cantonese is “ha” which sounds like laughter, hence eating prawns during Chinese New Year represents happiness. The golden colour and shape are meant to evoke imagery of gold bars.
- Bakkwa: A barbecued pork jerky, bakkwa is the Chinese New Year snack that’s loved by both the young and old. The significance of bakkwa lies in its red colour, which is considered auspicious in Chinese culture.