Monthend Tastebuds: Chinese New Year Gluttony

You think Christmas is bad if you’re watching your weight? Think again. Chinese gatherings are all about food. Instead of the usual “How are you?” as a greeting, we Chinese ask “Have you eaten yet?”. Yes, it’s a general comment for Chinese living in Malaysia, and I’m a Chinese, so if I’m wrong, just shoot me already. So today, I will show you what went into our belly(ies?) during the festive fire cracking season!





siew yok


Those are all home made. Prawns are a must because in Chinese, it sounds like “Har” which then sounds like “Har Har Har” laughter. Eating prawns every year will bring laughter every year. The rest, as you noticed, are all meat. In Chinese, we say “tai yu tai yok” which literally means “big fish big meat”. Eating more meat during the New Year will bring prosperity, ensuring the family members are well fed. In the olden days, only the rich were able to eat meat. Let’s not talk about the nutritional values in eating greens too, eh? We also ate lots of fruits, mainly mandarins and pomelos, which are like a grapefruit’s big big uncle. At home, we like decorating it like this, with sprinkles of Ferrero Rocher and red packets. This tray symbolizes wealth and prosperity. Doesn’t it look like a tray of gold?




We also have plenty of yee sang. It is a huge plate of shredded vegetables and pickled greens with lots of auspicious meaning behind it. Way to go Lily for being so vague. I’m really bad at explaining. Anyone here who’s willing to help, please comment below 🙂 So, our version of yee sang this year is to replace the raw fish with abalone!


yee sang


Not to forget the unhealthy snacks that is part of Chinese New Year. The tub of pineapple tarts is also meaningful because pineapple sounds like “Wong Lai” or “Ong Lai” which basically means good luck. Yeah, I know. Hey, it’s part of the fun 😉




And of course, last but not least, the red packets (ang pow) which are a must for every Chinese New Year. There is some cash in the red packets and they are supposed to bring good tidings for the recipient. Married people are the ones who give, singles and children are the ones who receive. Unfortunately, youngsters nowadays don’t care much about tradition, and care much more about the money inside. This year, I had an awkward situation whereby I had to give an angpow to a much older lady acquaintance. It was OK until someone brought up the whole “being single at 40” situation. Uhh… Oh-kay…thanks for being so tactful dude!




It is the end of the celebration already, but just looking at past CNY photos reminded me of how fast every year goes by. Let’s not just watch 2013 go by but live it!


xoxo Lily