Traditional Versus Modern Chinese New Year Cookies

Chinese New Year, the biggest festival in Singapore, is fast approaching. In 2014, we usher in the Year of the Horse.

Pineapple tarts made to look like mandarin oranges.

Pineapple tarts made to look like mandarin oranges

For many of those who celebrate this festival, I am sure that Chinese New Year means feasting on New Year goodies – and lots of it.

So Many Types of Chinese New Year Snacks

There are so many different kinds of Chinese New Year goodies available these days. Some are more traditional while others are basically snacks that have a more modern or fancy twist to it. For example, the other day at the Old Airport Road Food Centre, I saw some Chinese New Year pineapple tarts that were literally baked in the shape of either zodiac animals or mandarin oranges. This is a departure from the usual pineapple tarts and they were very cute and eye-catching.

Believe it or not, these are actually pineapple tarts.

Believe it or not, these are actually pineapple tarts.

As well, Western style stores such as the American Famous Amos chain and the popular local cookie shop, My Lovebites, are also getting in the act by selling cookies in those trademark Chinese New Year cookie jars. And My Lovebites have even gone a step further by baking their own unique version of pineapple tarts, which I will definitely try.

Symbolic meaning of traditional cookies

There is a special meaning to every type of traditional Chinese New Year cookies. For example, pineapple tarts symbolises prosperity and good luck for the household. Cashew nut cookies are connected with wealth because the shape and colour of the nuts resemble ancient Chinese gold nuggets while long life and good health is associated with the traditional peanut cookies.

Serving Cashew Nut cookies symbolise wealth.

Serving Cashew Nut cookies symbolise wealth.

However, Chinese New Year goodies have been gradually springing up with newer versions instead. Sometimes though, older visitors or relatives may feel aggrieved that the ancient Chinese customs are not being respected. So maybe that’s a reason why traditional cookies are still popular nowadays.

Variety adds more spice to the house visits

Though some people may swear by the more traditional pineapple tarts, peanut cookies and cashew nut cookies, don’t forget that your guests will be visiting multiple houses during this festive period. So they may get quite bored with seeing the same type of Chinese New Year cookies and tarts. And if there are unique goodies available, they may even become a topic of conversation amongst your guests.

In 2014, we bid farewell to the Year of the Snake and welcome in the galloping horse.

In 2014, we bid farewell to the Year of the Snake and welcome in the Horse.

If you have recently come back from an overseas trip, giving guests snacks that originate from the country that you have just been to, would also be a good talking point – especially if these types of snacks are hard to find in Singapore. But they should have “auspicious” shapes and colours, with a great taste. These would definitely make rather unique tasting snacks for Chinese New Year and would definitely be a departure from the traditional ones.

Choose Great Tasting Cookies

It is very important, when buying Chinese New Year cookies, to make sure that they taste great. Otherwise you may end up with some very expensive cookies that may look nice but do not taste nice.

So do take care and if you are buying cookies from unknown brands or upstarts that you have not tasted yet, try their samples first, before you actually part with your money – to save you being disappointed later.

Yes I Am Sick of the Usual Round Pineapple Tarts

If you want something radically different this Chinese New Year, here is a very interesting shop in Singapore you can check out. They make pineapple tarts shaped like Chinese Zodiac animals, golden ingots and mandarin oranges. Click here for more.

Check out this shop in Katong too, for some great tasting Chinese New Year cookies. Highly recommended.

Other Blog Posts

web counter
web counter

Share this page with your friends!

Leave a Comment