Top 10 Chinese New Year Food in the Philippines

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CHINESE new year celebrations will not be complete without the sumptuous food on the table. Here are the top ten favorite Chinese New Year food in the Philippines.

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1. Tikoy
TIKOY is the most popular treat during Lunar New Year festivities in the Philippines, as iconic as the Chinese New Year’s cake nian gao  in other countries.
It is made from sticky or glutinous rice which is ground into flour and then mixed with lard, water and sugar. Using white sugar produces white tikoy and using brown sugar produces brown tikoy. Other popular flavors include green pandan and purple ube.

2. Pansit
Uncut noodles are served for long life. The two favorite noodle dishes during the Chinese New Year in the Philippines are pancit bihon and pancit canton.

3. Whole  fish
To invite wealth and happiness in the upcoming year, dishes are served that are homophones for words that signify good fortune. For example, the Chinese word for “fish” sounds like the word “surplus” as in a surplus of wealth.

4. Pomelos, oranges, and pineapples
The most popular fruit during Chinese New Year is mandarin oranges or tangerines because of their round shapes and golden color. Because oranges were not widely grown in the Philippines and were only imported in recent decades, suha (the local pomelo, sort of like a large grapefruit with a very thick rind) has became the Philippine fruit that one gives away to visitors during the Chinese New Year season. As for the pineapple, it resembles the word for “prosperity.”

5. Boiled dumplings
Dumplings are served because luck is symbolically wrapped inside and the shape of certain dumplings is reminder of the shape of gold ingots in ancient China.

6. Hopia
Hopia is a pastry usually filled with a sweet paste of mung bean. The most popular shape is round and anything round is considered a symbol of good fortune among the Chinese. It is like a small, humble version of moon cakes that the Chinese serve during the mid-Autumn festival.

7. Lumpia
Lumpia are spring rolls or egg rolls that Fukien Chinese immigrants brought to the Philippines and Indonesia.

8. Vegetables
Although most Chinese Filipinos are of Christian faith, Buddhism retains influence in their culture, and it is a Buddhist belief that you are cleansed by eating green vegetables.

9. Sweets
Kids love chocolate gold coins with their shiny foil wrappers. Candy and other sweet things such as dried fruit and candied lotus root are given in a traditional Chinese box or tray. The “Tray of Togetherness” is octagon-shaped and has eight compartments. Eight is considered the luckiest number for the Chinese.

10. Peanuts and seeds
Cooked sunflower and pumpkin seeds are among the food items that are included in the the compartments of the traditional Chinese New Year tray. Melon seeds are dyed red to symbolize good luck.

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