13 essential Chinese New Year snacks to prepare before opening your house

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Make sure you're prepared with the bare essentials for Chinese New Year snacks!

When people head over to your home during Chinese New Year, you’ll want to have essential Chinese New Year snacks ready to offer. You can also take it a step further and have healthy alternatives to traditional Chinese New Year snacks on standby in case some of your guests are trying to watch their weight!

13 Chinese New Year snacks

1. Pineapple Tarts

chinese new year snacks

Image | Flickr

The sugary and buttery bites of goodness are believed to be auspicious because of the pineapple. As far as Chinese New Year snacks go, these are moreish and always good to have around!

Alternative: Fullerton Hotel’s Prosperity Pineapple Nuggets (SGD30 for 9)

While these aren’t healthier, they take your taste buds to the next level! Everyone will be fighting over these if you decide to buy this luxury snack.

2. Bak Kwa

chinese new year snacks

Image | Wikipedia Commons

The dried sweetmeats are among many people’s choices for Chinese New Year snacks to offer when they open house. The Chinese version of beef jerky means you’ll need wet wipes nearby to help clean sticky fingers.

Alternative: Grilled chicken skewers

Bak Kwa doesn’t really have much significance outside of being tasty. Grilled chicken skewers coated with honey also have the same nutritional value, as well as being a useful halal alternative.

3. Nian Gao

chinese new year snacks

Image | Instagram screengrab (@nyc-mouth)

These cakes made from glutinous rice flour and brown sugar are thought to bring good luck. They’re usually cut into smaller pieces and fried.

Alternative: Steamed Nian Gao

Instead of frying, steaming also cooks it just as well, minus the extra calories that oil brings.

4. Love letters

chinese new year snacks

Image | Pinterest / travelling-foodies

Of the Chinese New Year snacks you could serve, these have the best backstory. The crumbly folded cookies were used to pass messages between forbidden lovers, according to myth.

Alternative: The Golden Duck’s Salted Egg Yolk Potato Crisps or Fish Skin Crisps in gold packaging, (SGD7), Antoinette Chocolate Love Letters, $20

Salted egg yolk chips bring the same crunch as love letters with a decadent coating of the salted egg yolk. If you want a posher version of love letters, these chocolate-coated goodies will do the job.

5. Arrowroot chips

Arrowroot chips are one of the most recent additions to Chinese New Year snacks. They are very savoury but also carry a note of bitterness. They’re really moreish, so you might need to stock up on more jars.

chinese new year snacks

Image | Goodwood Park Hotel

Alternative: Goodwood Park Hotel’s Salted Egg Yolk Yam Chips with Sichuan Spice (SGD36.80)

We’ve already mentioned one salted egg yolk alternatives, but Goodwood Park Hotel’s own brand with sichuan spice are just too good to pass up!

6. Spring rolls

chinese new year snacks

Image | Pinterest / rasamalaysia

Beware – you might get addicted. The mini spring rolls are fried with wanton skin, but have pork or chicken floss inside.

Alternative: Steamed dumplings

Although you lose the crunch, steamed dumplings are a healthy alternative that contains protein and symbolise wealth.

7. Preserved fruits

You’ll find these multi-coloured snacks served in a round platter. Also known as “asam”, it’s a simple but popular treat with something for everyone.

Alternative: Baked seeds

Seeds are packed with anti-oxidants and fun to crack open! You could serve pumpkin, watermelon, cucumber and diaogua (hanging melon) baked seeds.

8. Malt candy

Great to have for when kids are around! Chewy and sweet, the nostalgic value means it’s a safe choice for everyone to eat.

Alternative: Fruit platter

Malt candy is high in sugar content, of course. Fruits offer a natural sugar alternative that has valuable nutrients and minerals as well!

9. Candied hawthorn

The Chinese version of toffee apple is one of the more fun Chinese New Years snacks to have available. Hawthorn balls are coated in malt syrup for a crunchy sweet bite.

Alternative: Walnuts, grapes

You can still enjoy the sweet kebab by substituting the hawthorn for walnuts and grapes. Better yet, minus the malt syrup for a naturally healthy option.

10. Peanut candy

chinese new year snacks

Image | Pinterest / nytimes

Crunchy goodness that’s sweet always make for great Chinese New Year snacks. It’s simply peanuts held together by malt syrup that’s hardened.

Alternative: Banana chips

Although it’s not as thick as peanut candy, you still get a wonderful crunchy texture. Simply cut banana slices, lay them out on a baking tray, squeeze lemon over them and baked for 1.5 – 3 hours.

11. Twisty fried dough knots

There are savoury and sweet varieties. The myth of its origin is thought to be people placing curses on scorpions by making and eating these dough twists.

chinese new year snacks

Image | Facebook screengrab (@dear.nesuto)

Alternative: Nesuto’s Gula Melaka Butter Cake, (SGD15)

If you want something that’s richer and sweeter, this Gula Melaka Butter cake is a wonderful addition to your range of Chinese New Year snacks.

12. Kueh Bangkit

Tapcioca cookies are always bound to leave a smile on people’s faces. However, they’re also highly calorific!

Alternative: Homemade oatmeal cookies

You skip the preservatives and enjoy the same wonderful crunchy goodness of a cookie!

13. Peanuts

Peanuts are an easy and tasty Chinese New Year snack to have available. People can grab a handful and happily munch away through the conversation.

Alternative: Almonds and edamame

Although they’re easy to eat, peanuts are high in saturated fats. Almonds are a healthier alternative. And steamed edamame is a healthy snack that’s also savoury. But if you must stick to peanuts, try The Nutkins. These are freshly-baked coated peanuts that are certified trans-fat free. It comes in two very local flavours, Baked Prawn and Black Pepper at S$5.00 per packet or SS$200 for 50 packets.

Written by

Vinnie Wong