Updated: Feb 5, 2018
Written by Amira Amani.
Hi everyone! Chinese New Year is dawning upon us soon. For those of us who do not celebrate it, have you ever wanted to try a mouthwatering Chinese New Goodie but alas, it is not halal? Or, have you ever gotten lost and confused as to what to buy for your friends or colleagues who do celebrate? Then, check out this article. It might give you a few ideas on what to get for them or even discover the Halal CNY goodies you have been missing all this while.
1. Pineapple Balls
While pineapple tarts or pineapple balls seem like a mainstream goodie for CNY and even Hari Raya (Malay people call it Kueh Tart), do you know that there is actually a symbolism about the pineapple in the Chinese culture? In certain Chinese dialects, the word ‘pineapple’ actually sounds like ‘the arrival of prosperity’ for the new year. Thus, it became a significant symbol of wealth and good fortune in the Chinese culture. Behind the symbolism, this could be an appropriate gift to present to your friends or colleagues who celebrate the special occasion.
Interested in getting some? Check out Yikowei's Orchid Gift Set! Priced at $96.80, this bundle includes THREE VARIATIONS of HALAL pineapple balls: signature pineapple balls, cheese pineapple balls and even low sugar pineapple balls for those who are more health conscious! The best part? It consists of 27 pieces per box! Stored beautifully in an oriental box, the packaging is just an added bonus!
2. Glutinous Rice Balls or Tang Yuan
You’ve probably heard of Tang Yuan back in your primary or secondary school days from your Chinese friends. For those who have not heard of it, Tang Yuan is actually a Chinese dessert made from glutinous rice mixed with water to form a ball–either with fillings or none. While it looks like a simple dessert, I bet you didn’t know the important symbolism behind it. The shape, or rather, the roundness of the rice balls represent a circle of unity within the family. The round and smooth tang yuan coupled with a sweet filling also signify that things would go smoothly in the Chinese New Year.
If you like to try a halal Tang Yuan with your family (or office family), here are some variations from Chinatown Food starting from $3.70 per packet! In addition to being halal, the Tang Yuan also comes in different fillings, including red bean, egg custard and other mouthwatering flavours!
3. Yusheng or Prosperity Toss
Ever saw a group of people crowding around a table shouting auspicious mandarin sayings while tossing up shredded vegetables? That’s called Yusheng (Lohei), otherwise known as the prosperity toss. It’s one of the exciting activities of CNY! The action of tossing itself indicates prosperity. In the Chinese culture, it is believed that higher the toss of the Yu Sheng, the greater the prosperity for the new year.
However, the symbolism of Yu Sheng is not limited to the tossing. The dish itself is actually made up of a variety of ingredients that has auspicious meanings. Did you know that the raw fish actually symbolizes ‘abundance’ for the upcoming new year? Its Chinese term ‘Nian Nian You Yu’ translates into “Every year got more”.
Aside from the cultural symbolism, Yu Sheng can also be a great way to encourage camaraderie among friends or the office family. If you’re looking for a halal Yu Sheng to bring to a CNY celebration at the office or any form of gathering, Aladdin Street Singapore has one!
Prepared by Chef Syed Shah, our Halal-certified Yu Sheng comprising of thickly sliced salmon, carrots, white radish, cucumbers, red pickled ginger, red & green yam, crushed roasted peanuts, sesame and drizzled with plum sauce and olive oil. Prices begin from $46 and suitable for 6 Pax and above.
4. Red Dates
Longan and red dates are one of the popular Chinese New Year snacks you’ll find in most homes. While most of you know that red represents a lucky colour and symbolises prosperity, do you know that dates itself has an important significance? Dates have the same pronunciation as ‘early’ or in other words, ‘to give a head start’ for the new year. As CNY snacks, red dates are usually consumed as a dried fruit. You can also slice them up to make tea.
Red dates are a great complement to tang yuan as well! Try it here!
Don’t be surprised that seeds are also popular during the upcoming festive season as they symbolise fertility. The seeds can come in a different variety, which includes sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, melon seeds, lotus seeds and etc. If you’re looking for a healthier version of snacking this holiday, you should consider these options This healthy snack is rich in Vitamin E and also magnesium, which helps to reduce high blood pressure, asthmatic issue and prevent migraine headaches.
For a full list of festive goodies, visit www.aladdinstreet.com.sg.