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Chinese New Year Food Every Family Loves In KL!

Must-Try Treats For The Whole Family!

Just like Christmas, Chinese New Year is a time for getting family and friends together to tuck into some delicious traditional food such as yee sang, nian gao, tang yuan, bak kwa, pineapple tarts and more. Most of these treats have auspicious meanings and are consumed to ensure a prosperous, healthy, and wealthy year ahead. Here’s our list of top CNY food and snacks that are a must in your homes to welcome the Year of the Ox!

  • YEE SANG IN KL

    Not only does this dish taste yummy, but the kids will also have loads of fun eating it. Commonly known as yee sang or lou hei in Malaysia, this Cantonese-style raw fish salad is a must for CNY reunion dinners and meet-ups throughout the 15 days of CNY. Comprising a mix of ingredients including thinly sliced vegetables chosen for the significance of their Chinese names such as pomelo, papaya, white radish, cucumber, as well as the key ingredient, raw salmon, along with crackers, sesame oil, plum sauce, peanuts and more, the ingredients can vary as different homes and restaurants tend to customise them according to their preference. How to eat it, you ask? The idea is that everyone stands up around the dish and uses their chopsticks to toss the ingredients as high as possible while exclaiming well wishes and stating what they are hoping for in the coming year. The kids will love the mess it makes and will most likely find it pretty tasty!

    Where To Find Them:

    Bistro à Table

    De.Wan 1958 by Chef Wan

    Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur

    Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur

    Ruyi & Lyn

    Salad Atelier

    Samonyu

    The Fat Fish

  • THE TRAY OF TOGETHERNESS – TRAY OF CANDIED FRUIT IN KL

    The kids will love this one because it's a tray of goodies with sweet treats like candies, dried fruits and nuts. There's usually preserved kumquats, coconut chunks, longans, red melon seeds, lotus seeds and peanuts typically filled in trays with six or eight compartments, as the number six symbolizes luck, and eight, fortune. Each of the individual fruit also represents positivity for the new year: kumquats for prosperity, coconut for togetherness, red melon seeds for happiness and the rest for a good life and wealth.

    Where To Find Them:

    All major supermarkets

  • NIAN GAO – STICKY CAKE IN KL

    Nian gao, or sticky cake, which translates literally as ‘year cake’ is a delicious glutinous rice cake that all the family won’t be able to have just one piece of. Eating nian gao is said to be auspicious as the name sounds like the Chinese for ‘higher year’. It’s said that this sweet pud signifies greater success for adults and will help children to grow taller over the coming year. Usually found in supermarkets, they are traditionally wrapped in banana leaves although the modern version now comes wrapped in plastic. How to eat them? They're usually sliced thinly and dipped into batter and deep fried, or sometimes sandwiched between yam or sweet potato before being deep fried, so you can expect a crunchy outside and a soft chewy center – delicious!

    Where To Find Them:

    All major supermarkets

  • YU - FISH IN KL

    The identical sounds of the word yu for fish and yu meaning extra or surplus, make a fish dish a must at any CNY celebration dinner. Having a whole, preferably freshwater fish complete with head and tail, symbolizes the end of the old year and the beginning of the new one. Tradition dictates that you should leave some of the fish uneaten to represent the surplus of the coming year. Make your own steamed fish dish this year, just order them early to ensure you don't run out of supplies.

    Where To Find Them:

    All major supermarkets

    Farm Lavie

    Grab Supermarket

    Nak Beli

    Rhumah Seafood Delivery

    The Flying Fish Seafood Company

  • TANG YUAN - GLUTINOUS BALLS IN KL

    These tasty little glutinous rice balls filled with peanut, sesame or red bean are consumed in their thousands over CNY. It’s common for Chinese families to eat tang yuan during the New Year because they symbolize reunion and togetherness. They are fairly easy and lots of fun to make with the kids!

    Where To Find Them:

    China Town Dessert

    Lol Soon Kee Desserts

  • DRIED SWEET MEAT - BAK KWA IN KL

    A favorite snack that gets mostly eaten around Chinese New Year although it's available all year round, the barbecued dried sweet meat or bak kwa is usually made of pork or chicken, and has a sweet-salty taste that can be quite addictive, and might probably not be too kind on your waistline but it certainly tastes delicious!

    Where To Find Them:

    Bee Cheng Hiang

    Loong Kee

    Oloiya

    Wing Heong

  • LOVE LETTERS - KUIH KAPIT IN KL

    Typically making its appearance around CNY, love letters or kuih kapit is a type of crispy, wafer biscuit that is usually brittle and tasty. The making of these biscuits is laborious using special moulds over charcoal grill, and folded or rolled while still hot. In the olden days, families have known to gather to make these lovely snacks and bond over the painstaking process. These days however, the biscuits can be easily bought off the shelf. Just be sure to keep them in an airtight container so that they stay crisp.

    Where To Find Them:

    Lulu Nyonya Kueh

    Milky Way

    SK Homemade Cakes

  • PINEAPPLE TARTS IN KL

    These sweet, tangy, crumbly tarts practically melts in your mouth. Made of pineapple and pastry, this delicious treat has become a common sight during the CNY festive period as pineapples in a Chinese dialect sounds like the arrival of prosperity.

    Where To Find Them:

    D'Sabroso

    Delectable

    It's Baked

    Mmeh's Kitchen

    Strata

  • NGAKU - ARROWHEAD CHIPS IN KL

    Ngaku or fried arrowhead chips are a must-have during the Chinese New Year period. This addictive snack is crispy, delicious and great for all ages. Making them yourself can be quite tedious, so we recommend buying them off the shelf.

    Where To Find Them:

    Corn World

    Junandus

    Online Pasar

    Yippii Gift

  • MANDARIN ORANGES - LOKAM IN KL

    A must in every Chinese household during CNY, mandarin oranges or lokam symbolise good fortune due to the sound of the word in Mandarin means 'gold'. Usually sold in boxes or crates in major supermarkets, they also make a great gift to families and friends.

    Where To Find Them:

    All major supermarkets

    GoFruits

    HQ Premium Fruits

    MBG Fruit Shop

  • WANT MORE CNY TREATS IN KL?

    Lots of Chinese families will have their own recipes for these passed down through the generations. However, you can find the ready-made varieties in most restaurants, hotels, bakeries, and supermarkets. Here are just a handful of our faves:

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