After the visiting and eating done on the first few days of CNY 2017, we have noted down some of the good food and drinks that we had tried. This is our list of what to serve on Chinese New Year at home – an aide-memoire for future reference. For today’s story we have confined ourselves to the more casual food and light snacks that are served at home. To decide what to serve on proper meals, our earlier story on the 8 Lucky Food to serve during Chinese New Year may be more relevant.
Every home we visited had one of these round red platters containing Chinese New Year snacks and cookies. We notice a move away from sweets this year. This platter was one of the more beautiful ones we saw. We will try to remember these items when we decide what to serve on Chinese New Year for next year. The white kueh bangkit was from a homemade source. They were very light, delicate and very beautiful. The flower cookies on the right were “Melting Almonds” from Bengawan Solo – also very smooth and light. At the bottom are small pineapple tarts also from Bengawan Solo. We prefer these to the larger ones as these are small and less sweet. The small balls in the centre were Suggee Cookies from Ritz Carlton Hotel. These were quite unusual. They were like micro suggee cake bits that melt in your mouth.
Popiah is a type of food that not only provides a meal but also generates an enjoyable communal activity during Chinese New Year. Here are some notes-to-self in case we decide to attempt to to this ourselves.
One of the most important ingredient for popiah is the skin. We are told that Kway Guan Huat Joo Chiat Original Popiah & Kueh Pie Tie, off East Coast Road is the best. They cost $30 per kg. One kg is made up of about 30 skins. They should be bought on the same day and as close to the time of use as possible. The Kway Guan Huat popiah skin is sought after because they are thin yet supple. They will get dry and brittle after to much exposure to air. The other ingredients can be sourced from elsewhere, but the sweet sauce is best purchased from the same shop. Remember to get dried flat fish (tee poh in Teochew) for the added flavour.
Other types of food that were well received on CNY are ngo hiang and roast meats, particularly if some alcoholic beverage like wine or beer is served at the same time. The oiliness of these dishes is best balanced by the acidity or dryness of the drinks.
After the savoury items, it is best to serve something sweet so that your guests can leave with a sweet taste in their mouth. Two of such dishes are fried sweet rice cakes (nian gao) and kueh lapis. Both are quite heavy and we like them served in thin slices. Best when accompanied by a fragrant cup of Chinese Tie Kwan Yin tea.
For visitors who like their drinks a bit stronger, one can never go wrong with some Japanese whisky, especially one from Yamazaki whose spirits are now highly sought after after they won an international award some years back. We realised this year that this single malt whisky is really worthy of the hype. It goes so well with cashew nuts and almonds. This will certainly be on our list when we plan what to serve on Chinese New Year in the future.
Kway Guan Huat Joo Chiat Original Popiah
95 Joo Chiat Road
Vic (65) 9620 2000