CNY Goodies That I Love

Chinese/lunar new year (CNY) is approaching and the part that gets me excited is the eating! I know I don't look like I eat much but I do. There's lots to eat during CNY and, as you know, anything that is nice is high in calories! I don't count calories though :) To maximise my quota I eat only goodies that taste not good but great! If it aint great, I aint eating it. I don't profess to be a great baker but I know I'm a connoisseur.

Here are the only 5 CNY goodies which I eat and my definition of "great":

1. Bakwa
This is barbequed honeyed pork. I eat only 1 brand of Bakwa: Kim Hwa Guan. The meat is tender and of perfect thickness and the sweetness is just right. I lose track of how much I'm eating if I sit in front of the TV eating this. After trying this brand, I didn't want to eat other brands anymore. Unless you are willing to abandon the other brands, do not try this brand. The shop is in people's park hawker centre. 1st floor, facing OG shopping centre. Long queue guaranteed before CNY.
My friend bought me a pack of lobster bakwa yesterday from Hu Zhen Long. The shop is in Chinatown.

2. Pineapple Tarts
The best pineapple tarts the homemade ones. If you don't know anyone who makes them, your best bet for commercially made ones is Bengawan Solo. I don't like the ones that have too little pineapple filling or if the pastry is too thick or hard. I tried making tarts before. The pastry is really hard to get right. Cannot be too crumbly, cannot be too thick. I never tried making the pineapple paste myself though. But as a child, I used to watch my friend's mother make the paste and I recall always having lots of free pineapple juice to take home! Nowadays the paste can be bought at baking shops like Poon Huat. Anyway, it's alot of trouble making pineapple tarts and I can appreciate why it costs about 50 cents per piece!

3. Kueh Makmur
I haven't seen this being sold anywhere. My aunt makes the best Kueh Makmur which is one of the reasons why I look forward to visiting her each year! For the filling, she replaces the peanuts with red dates. The melt-in-your mouth pastry is milky and wonderful! Too bad I don't have a reliable recipe. The experts always say a bit of this a bit of that and they can't tell me the exact portions because they do it just by the look and feel. I totally get what they mean. It's not that they don't want to share. Some of my own concocted recipes are also not written down. Why do I need to write them when they're in my head? To pass it down to future generations? I don't have kids so I'll think about it when the time comes.
View pic here if you don't know what this looks like (I've not tried the recipe)

4. Kueh Bangkit
I never buy the commercially-made ones. They're too hard. The perfect ones should melt in your mouth and you don't need to bite at all. It is very hard to get the pastry right. I tried a few recipes online but the cookies came out too hard. Maybe some people just like it extra crispy? So I experimented with different proportions of ingredients and when I finally got it, the proportions were waaay different from the ones I found at websites. Forget the fancifully shaped biscuits. The best ones are usually molded in the traditional shapes.
View pic here

5. Kueh Belandah / Love Letters
I haven't tried making these myself before. I know you have to have fingers that can withstand extreme heat because you have to bake them flat (unrolled) then roll them immediately when they are piping hot! Ouch! The commercially-made ones are ok. My only consideration is they must be crispy. Keep them in air-tight containers to prevent them for getting softened by moisture in the air.
View pic here


TrainMan said...