Wednesday, January 25, 2012


CNY facts #3: The third day of the Chinese New Year is known as 赤口 (Chìkǒu), directly translated as "red mouth." It is generally accepted that it is not a good day to socialize or visit your relatives and friends. (This is actually extremely interesting to me because in Singapore, we usually get the first 2 days of chinese new year off but most people go back to work/school on the third day. However, occasionally we would get 3 days off and we would go visiting on the third day too since its one more day we're free to go around and socialize.)
So, by now, I hope you have learned something each day. If not, keep reading each day haha.
Anyway, you must be wondering, with all the visiting each day, what do you actually do at these visits? Well, you basically eat chinese new year goodies and chat. It is the one time of the year when you see relatives you never ever see and in return for the red packet, you pretty much have to endure never-ending questions related to school or your love life, etc haha. It's the one time of the year you'll always hear this question (if you're old enough to date), "So, do you have a boyfriend? When are you getting married?"
Sounds like Christmas break for my white friends huh haha.
Anyway, let's get straight to the goodies cause thats the best part:
1. Bak Kwa - this is probably the most popular snack around during Chinese New Year. It is basically a flat and thin sheet of pork meat, marinated with sugar and salt then barbequed to give it a smoky flavour. It's like Chinese beef jerky basically haha.
My dad would cut them all into small pieces and it would be gone super fast haha. then we would get scolded for eating all the bak kwa haha.
2. Love letters -  Love letters are sweet cylindrical biscuits, made from baking sugar, eggs and coconut milk together in a mould. Sometimes you find them folded into wedges but they are usually rolled up and stored in tins. These are messy so be careful when you eat them.
3. Pineapple tarts - Small and bite-sized, the buttery base crumbles away easily in the mouth, leaving the generous dollop of pineapple in the mouth to savor. There are many different types of pineapple tarts and my favorite is the big ball ones cause its just a mouthful of goodness with all that pineapple in one bite.

4. Prawn rolls - Prawn rolls represent joy and are small and crispy rolls of hebi hiam paste, made from dried shrimps and ground sambal chilli, then wrapped in spring roll wrappers and deep fried. These are super addictive.
5. Kueh Bangkit - Kueh bangkit are made from mainly tapioca flour, eggs and coconut milk. They have a thin and crispy exterior, melting away into sweetness once you put them in your mouth. They come in all sorts of shapes but most commonly in this shape:
Of course there are many many more other goodies but these are some of the more common ones.
During the chinese new year, you'll also eat certain food items that carry special symbolism:
  • There is always a circular candy tray in each household - the candy represents sweetness and the circular tray represents togetherness.
  • Fish and chicken represent prosperity. The whole fish or chicken must be presented to symbolize completeness.
  • Noodles represent longevity and they should not be cut.
  • The tray of togetherness: 8 compartments of the tray are filled with things such as coconut for togetherness, longans for many sons, red melon seeds for happiness, etc.
  • Nian Gao (粘糕): It is considered good luck to eat nian gao during this time, because "nian gao" is a homonym for "higher year." The Chinese word 粘 (nián), meaning "sticky", is identical in sound to 年, meaning "year", and the word 糕 (gāo), meaning "cake" is identical in sound to 高, meaning "high". As such, eating nian gao has the symbolism of raising oneself higher in each coming year (年年高升 niánnián gāoshēng).
  • Pomelo: It is believed to bring continuous prosperity and status.

And if you couldn't get enough of our jumping yesterday, here's photos of us jumping on the first day of heavy snow last saturday haha. (i shall save our day three photos for tmr since there are so many photos in this post already.)
the second picture is my favorite just cause i look like an idiot with my scarf over my face haha
and someone actually built a snowman outside our apartment complex


  1. Hey Sis. Chen, thanks for sharing this on fb so I could find it! I loved learning about the symbolisms of Chinese New Year- sometimes I wish I was Chinese :). Ok all the time, lol. I miss it!!

  2. hahaha sister anderson! im glad at least someone finds it useful! i just love chinese new year SO MUCH