Chinese New Year Celebrations

nyonyarecipe, Malaysian, Penang, Peranakan, food,

This trip to Malaysia is a bit special as I got to spend it with my brothers and sisters and their families.  The celebrations and tradition starts on the eve of the first day of Chinese New Year.
We used to travel a day or 2 before the eve  so that we would be at my parents

for the reunion dinner. Now that my parents have passed away, we will converge to one of my brother’s house instead.

When I reached Subang / Putra Jaya, I had the chance to walk around the suburb where I had lived before moving to the UK. The place was as busy as ever with more people  living in the area. The shops were filled with all the goodies for Chinese New Year.

Chinese New Year, shopping, Malaysia,

Shop selling prayer paraphernalia. A lot of joss sticks and paper offerings of gold and all things auspicious. New year decorations include lanterns and pineapples which signify the arrival of wealth. Red is the colour that signifies luck.


Chinese New Year, Penang,

Rows and rows of goodies. Traditional biscuits like kuih Bangkit, kuih kapit, nian gao, and lots more.

Shoppers were busy doing last-minute shopping with fruit shops selling Chinese tangerines, aka as ‘kum’, or gold.

When visiting family, relatives and friends, kum is a must. So we always have abundant kums at home so that we do not run out. We usually purchase them by the boxes. Some people give hampers filled with new year delicacies like dried pork ( pork jerky is a better description ), pork or chicken floss, traditional cakes, tinned abalone, dried scallops, Chinese dried mushrooms and lots more ( note the hampers on top of the display counter).

It is mandatory to give gifts to the elders. Elders means those who are older than you in your family. So we would bring gifts consisting, among others, new year cookies and cakes, brandy or other drinks,  Chinese dried/ preserved meats and other items one feels is of value. And of course the tangerines. So it makes sense to give ready packed food hampers as it much more convenient  and better presented. There is no need to give gifts to those families who are younger than you ( in terms of status – hierarchical based mainly on age). And oh yes, if you are not married, you don’t have to give. However, we do gifting to all our brother’s and sisters now. And one usually reciprocates the gifting. In the good old days my parents would gift my grand uncles, uncles, older brothers, and older cousins living nearby. Hence, we used to make large quantities of new year cakes and cookies. Oh, those were the days. If you notice, I only mentioned the ‘male’ part of the family.  This is because the Chinese culture is very patriarchal.

That evening, we all went out for dinner. In Butterworth.

Pork trotter, Thai, Butterworth,

Deep Fried Pork Trotter. A local favourite. This dish is has Thai influence, served with sweet chili sauce, crunchy skin and not much fat.

The specialty of this restaurant is the deep-fried pork trotter, Thai style. If I remember correctly,  this is very popular in Southern Thailand like Hatyai. And so it’s popularity spreads down south.

We ordered steamed red fish with sambal, fried baby cabbage, 4 beans fry ( new dish to me) and the house tofu.

4 angled beans, okra, long beans, egg plant.

4 beans fry. This dish has 4 types of beans – well it is supposed to be. This has long beans, ladies fingers, 4-angled beans and egg-plant. So it has 3 types of beans and one other type of vegetables. This is fried in sambal ( or sambar in the Indian language). Sambal is usually chilis pounded with shallots, garlic and some other ingredients depending who made it, or, from which region. All regions have their own take on sambal.


Fish, steamed, hot and spicy,

Steamed fish with sambal Thai style.


cabbage, kale, stir fry, Penang,

Stir fried ‘chye tna’ or vegetable hearts. This vegetable is like baby kale, but is more closely related to baby cabbage.


tofu, Penang, fried,

The restaurant’s house tofu. Mashed tofu with some fillings of vegetables and some meat. It is deep fried and served with chili sauce.

The meal was delicious and we enjoyed all the dishes. The price was reasonable, l was told, as I did not pay the bill.

Long Xiang Restaurant, Jalan Raja Uda, Butterworth, Province Wellesley.

Verdict: highly  recommended.

The ambient is typically Chinese, with quick service and turn around.

I need to stop here for the time being as there are a lot more photos and reviews. I will continue on to new year’s eve and new year’s day celebration. If you enjoy reading my experience, please like and share with your friends and family so more can know about the Malaysian Chinese culture. Please put a thumbs up in face book too.

Thanks and until the next post. I think I need to post more than my usual once a week. It is till not easy to post with my mobile.

Penang Lassie.

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