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What to eat

Food & Drink / What to eat

Traditional snacks for Chinese New Year

By Weiwei Guan

April 19

The Spring Festival is the most important holiday for Chinese people and delicacies have always played an important role during the New Year celebrations. So how do locals snack during the joyous festival?

The Spring Festival is the most important holiday for Chinese people and delicacies have always played an important role during the New Year celebrations. So how do locals snack during the joyous festival?

The Spring Festival is the most important holiday for Chinese people and delicacies have always played an important role during the New Year celebrations. So how do locals snack during the joyous festival?

1. Beijing

beijing-zgw1

Bing Tang Hulu (sugar-coated hawthorn on a stick) is a traditional Beijing snack made of candied fruits, such as Chinese hawthorns, oranges and dates. The fruits are skewered on a bamboo stick and coated with hardened sugar coating by dipping in syrup. The hawthorn tastes sweet and sour.

2. Shandong

huamo

In many places in Shandong, locals follow the custom of making steamed buns to celebrate the Chinese New Year. The steamed bun is the symbol of reunion and happiness. It can also be used to pray for favorable weather and prosperity during the coming year. Colored steamed bread not only tastes soft and delicious, but can also be made into different shapes. Some even regard making steamed buns a folk art as the custom has been listed as a provincial intangible cultural heritage in 2009.

 3. Northeast China

tanggua

As the saying goes, “New Year comes when Tang Gua (the malt sugar candy) is offered to Zaoshen (the god of the kitchen).” In northeast China, when the Spring Festival is coming, melon-shaped and strip-shaped malt sugar candy is the first food prepared. The candy is made of maltose jelly and tastes sweet with a touch of sour. It is a great delicacy when people lack food and supplies.

4. Jiangsu and Zhejiang

niangao

NianGao (rice cake), a cake made of glutinous rice, is popular during Chinese New Year. There are two colors of rice cake, yellow and white, symbolizing gold and silver. NianGao, also known as New Year Cake, is a homonym for “higher year” in Chinese, which symbolizes promotion to a higher position or a better standard of living in the coming years.

5. Anhui

zidoutang

Zi Dou Tang, a bean candy with an inscribed letter pattern, is a popular snack in the south of Anhui. The bean candy is made of three natural ingredients – maltose, black sesame and soybean powders.

Carefully handmade by confectioners, each bean candy will contain a lucky Chinese character inside, which makes it a fun popular treat.

6. Hubei and Hunan

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To welcome the Chinese New Year, Hubei locals never forget the sugar cake. One bite of flaky, crispy sugar cake will bring out the aroma of rice and the sweetness of maltose. This is the taste of spring festival in Hubei.

In neighboring Hunan, every family makes a chewy, yellow type of sugar cake during the festival.

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