The Meanings of Different CNY Snacks Are So Epic, You’ll See Them Differently Once You’ve Read This


Other than it being delicious, the snacks we eat during Chinese New Year have various meanings behind it.

However, we often eat without knowing what they mean so here are some common meanings of the snacks we always eat, to at least justify why we have so many of them, eh?

Pineapple tarts

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The most common meaning for pineapple tarts would be prosperity as pineapple sounds like prosperity in Hokkien(homophones). This cookie is probably loved by those who are intending to gamble during this festive season.

Yu Sheng

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Almost every family will eat this dish during Chinese New Year, as they shout out blessings for each other and stir the yu sheng. Each ingredient in the yu sheng has a specific meaning to it. For example, the fish stands for abundance while the greens stand for eternal youth.

Bak Kwa

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Bak kwa is one of the favourite Chinese New Year snacks of many Singaporeans and they can simply chomp down pieces after pieces. Due to the dark red colour of the bak kwa, it means good luck and supposedly wards off the negative aura.

Mandarin oranges

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Ever wonder why we use mandarin oranges to bai nian? Due to its Cantonese pronunciation, it means prosperity. It is offered in a pair instead of one as an even number has more good luck in the Chinese tradition.

Nian Gao

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This sticky cake has the same pronunciation as high in Chinese. Thus, by eating nian gao, we will soar to greater heights each year!

Prawn Rolls

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The shrimps in the rolls represent happiness while the shape symbolises wealth as the rolls look vaguely like gold bars. Thus, eating prawn rolls will bring you wealth and happiness. Bet this is the best excuse for you to have more of them, eh?


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As abalone is expensive (and even more expensive this year!), eating abalone during Chinese New Year is believed to bring you wealth throughout the year. Also, abalone is called ‘bao yu’ in Chinese, and ‘yu’ also means abundance.

Love Letters

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Love letters look somehow like gold bars so some believe that eating it will bring you wealth. Also, in ancient times, people use love letters to pass messages to people secretly to hide them from the army.

Sugar Candies

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You will always see a tray of sugar candies in every household during Chinese New Year. Other than having the magical ability to turn children’s cries to smiles within seconds, these candies also mean sweetness and happiness among people.

Peanut Cookies

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These addictive peanut cookies are also a popular snack during Chinese New Year. This is probably because peanut means health and longevity. It can also mean prosperity, which is much desired by people during the festive season! Huat arh!

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