CNY Snacks And Their Meanings You Never Knew About

CNY Snacks And Their Meanings You Never Knew About

You’re sitting down at a nicely decorated dining table at CNY. Everyone’s in a great mood with cheerful greetings of welcoming the “niu” year in 2021. 

The whole table is strewn with bright red CNY decorations and gold trinkets. And then your eyes wander to the CNY snacks right in the centre.

As everyone busies themselves with tradition around you (like Ang bao giving, exchanging oranges, or even rushing to the windows to catch a glimpse of the loud and festive lion dance troupe driving by), you start to feel curious about what the Chinese New Year snacks and candies in front of you symbolise.

Do they give us good luck? What’s their origin story? 

To satisfy your curiosity, here are some fun facts you didn’t know about the typical CNY snacks you see every year. Buckle up for some eye-opening truths. 

Knowing what each snack symbolises will help you make the executive decision of which auspicious goodie you should prioritise in filling up on this joyous CNY.

1. Pineapple Tarts

There are plenty of fruits that go with tart recipes. But other than the very apparent appeal of the contrasting sweet tartness that pineapples bring to the palate, is there a more strategic reason for using it as an ingredient for a CNY snack?

In Chinese tradition, pineapple is the symbol of wealth. How did this auspicious meaning come about? In the local dialect of Hokkien, pineapple is pronounced as “Ong Lai”, which sounds like “Come, Prosperity”. 

It’s the reason why newly married couples roll a pineapple into their freshly built HDBs, and why we have the pineapple tart or pineapple ball at every CNY gathering we have today.

In terms of the pineapple tart’s historical significance, it’s actually the resulting legacy of a meld between two cultural influences in Singapore’s history - the Peranakans, who are Chinese immigrants in the Malay Peninsula, and the Portuguese, who are known for their knack for making great pastries. 

With so much history packed in a little package, pineapple tarts today celebrate Singapore’s harmonious and cosmopolitan society.

 2. Almond Slices & Melting Almonds

More than just pretty little cookies and snacks, the traditional melting almond cookies and the now more modern almond florentine slices are popular CNY snacks to have in a festive family home.

The almond nuts themselves represent having a bright future ahead in Chinese cultural beliefs. Stacking this promising nut in a sweet buttery almond slice pastry is sure to pack your year with lots of positivity.

More commonly, almonds are traditionally fashioned into Chinese melting cookies that resemble little gold coins, symbolising good luck and the riches to come for you and your family every time one dissolves in your mouth to gooey satisfaction.

3. Love Letters

A forbidden lover’s secret message from the past. When love letter cookies are eaten, it means you’re taking what’s written within to heart in a grand romantic gesture. 

These days, the love letter is known less as a declaration of love than a seriously addictive snack. A favourite in every Chinese household over the festive season, love letters have a few other meanings too.

The eggs in the ingredient symbolise fertility. It’s no wonder the aunties at your gatherings keep shoving love letters at young newlywed couples in hopes of a little bundle of joy when they visit again next year.

Eggs also symbolise money, and wealth, and because of the signature way it’s rolled, love letters are another new year treat that resembles gold bars and riches to come.

Crispy Cornflakes & Rice Crackers

In Chinese tradition, corn holds the meaning of rising, growing or increasing, while rice represents luck, abundance, and of course, prosperity. 

Combining both these ingredients into one might CNY goodie, the Crispy Cornflakes & Rice Crackers will bring you sweet beginnings and a successful year of ascension ahead.

Gather Around Auspicious CNY Snacks

Buzzing with all these fun facts and stories? Hash Chinese new year snacks and candies as a topic of conversation with your friends and family, and test them on their knowledge. 

A great symbolic way to start the lunar new year, gather your loved ones around these meaningful snacks of fortune. 

From traditional goodies to modern takes of CNY snacks, Durian Law has got you covered this CNY. Explore the list of CNY snacks available on our online store before they run out!