A multicultural nation, Singapore celebrates different kinds of festivities all year round. Deepavali, Christmas, and yes, Chinese New Year — one of the most important festivals for the Chinese, not just in Singapore, but also in countries like Korea, China and Malaysia. Stretching over 15 days, the celebrations are robust with countdown parties, family gatherings, as well as chomping down on sinfully delicious goodies.
Usually gobbled down without a second thought, most Chinese New Year goodies hold more significance to the occasion than you may know. Inspired by many things including Chinese auspicious beliefs, Malay and Peranakan culture (we did say we’re a multicultural city) and legendary love affairs, uncover the stories behind some of these snacks and find out where to try them at Changi Airport.
Pineapple tarts — for a prosperous year ahead
Created by Peranakans (ethnic Chinese with Malay influences) pineapple tarts are painstakingly made by slow cooking pineapple extracts over a low fire until it is perfectly caramelised, then wrapped around a buttery pastry. In Hokkien (a Chinese dialect), pineapple is referred to as ‘ong lai’, which literally translates to ‘fortune come’. Thus, the pastries are thought to bring prosperity and luck to whoever consumes them.
Kueh Bangkit — to rise against all odds
Another Chinese New Year snack with a Peranakan origin,
Bak Kwa — even Lady Luck can’t resist
In Chinese culture, red signifies luck and fortune. Bak
Love letters — do we smell romance in the air?
Village girls weren’t allowed to meet with boys in the past, so they would roll secret love letters into wafer biscuits and pass them on — giving rise to the snack’s name today. When your partner eats it, it also means to say that he or she has taken your word to heart. So remember to check the roll before you pop it into your mouth, you might receive a love letter of your own in one of them!
Shrimp rolls — for your happy ever after
Be it the colour, shape or ingredients used, almost everything consumed during Chinese New Year have underlying significance. In this case, more commonly known as
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Where to get these treats in Changi Airport
Start the festive snacking the moment you land, or stock up on the goodies before you depart to share them with your loved ones back home! Whichever you do, here’s a list of places you can get your hands on these Chinese New Year treats.
Whether you believe in the auspicious