KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 27 — May our Chinese New Year always be bursting with flavour, may every bite and slurp bring more good fortune, health and happiness to each of us.
For this coming festive period isn’t only about catching up with loved ones — reunion having a deeper, more significant meaning after two years of an ongoing pandemic — but also about sharing familiar foods and treasured memories.
As with many locally produced snacks these days, salted egg yolk is still a much sought-after flavour. Not only is it addictive but its golden yellow colour hints at wealth and prosperity, no?
One way to enjoy this is with the Chicken Little brittle by BuTian Desserts, a homegrown desserts purveyor run by three sisters — Yeo Suan Ning, Yeo Suan Ern and Yeo Suan Meng. These wafer-thin crisps also contain chicken floss, sesame seeds and seaweed flakes, making them a truly umami-rich Chinese New Year snack.
BuTian Desserts also has a sweeter take: their Nutty Choco brittle is dense with nutritious ingredients such as almonds, walnuts, chia seeds and shredded coconut. Of course, given ‘tis the season to celebrate and eat well, a little decadence in the form of chocolate chips wouldn’t hurt at all.
Packaging is important, of course, and the Yeo sisters came up with the idea of Chinese calligraphy to further fit the jubilant occasion.
Suan Ning explains, “We figured this goes well with the tradition of Chinese New Year. We also chose to write our own calligraphy as printed calligraphy lacks the charm and personal touch of hand-rendered lettering.”
Eldest sister Suan Meng, who has the best handwriting, was given the task of writing the calligraphy. Suan Ern adds, “The character “福” (Fú) signifies blessing, so as we deliver these to our customers, it denotes that we are delivering blessings to them and their loved ones.”
Good meanings and well wishes are the backbone of Chinese New Year treats, something Masahiro Aoki of Artelier Coffee understands. The Japanese master barista trainer created a CNY special version of their café’s signature Dirty by pairing their specialty coffee with mandarin orange.
Aoki explains, “We use orange purée and incorporate it into our milk — to make ‘orange milk’ — before adding our espresso shot, which is stronger because it’s an intense ristretto. The result? Tastes like orange chocolate!”
For those unaccustomed to the drink (purportedly first created by Bear Pond Espresso in Tokyo), a Dirty is typically made by pulling a shot of strong espresso directly over a glass of cold milk. The espresso layer “floats” atop the colder layer of milk.
As the coffee slowly flows downwards into the milk, it creates a muddy look which gives the beverage its name. With the addition of a citrusy element, the entire concoction brightens up considerably, readying customers for a spirited Year of the Tiger.
Aoki shares that he heard that the Chinese believe that tangerines and mandarin oranges are auspicious symbols for luck and success.
He adds, “Also, their vibrant colour reminds us of gold, which denotes wealth. As they are traditional Chinese New Year gifts, our CNY special Dirty is our gift to our customers too.”
There is clearly a pattern here with the generous use of the mandarin oranges during Chinese New Year; its name in Cantonese — kam — sounds just like the word for “gold.” Prosperity is the “flavour” everyone is craving.
My preferred way of enjoying this felicitous citrus is the Honey Mikan Roll at KITA Coffee in Bukit Bintang. A seasonal favourite, the roll is handmade by owner Rain Lee every Chinese New Year.
She says, “I chose Honey Mikan because it tastes so good when paired with chiffon cake and fresh cream in the form of a roll. Especially during December and January and these months are the fruit’s peak harvest season in Japan.”
This year Lee has added a touch of Japanese yuzu, which further brightens up the juicy Japanese mikan (also known as satsuma mandarins). Enveloped first by a layer of light-as-air fresh cream, then with a roll of fluffy honey chiffon cake — it’s heaven in every bite.
KITA is offering their CNY2022 special Yuzu & Honey Mikan Roll in slices or whole rolls (the latter by pre-order only, the last date for ordering is January 31) as well as gift boxes with a variety of rolls. Or enjoy a slice at their café together with some of the best coffee in town.
Artelier Coffee’s Dirty CNY is also available for a limited period — till the last day of the full Chinese New Year period, i.e. February 15. Those looking for an impressive looking gift will delight in BuTian Desserts’ HUAT Gift Set which includes one packet/box each of their Chicken Little brittle, Nutty Choco brittle and walnut cookies.
All in all, it looks like the Year of the Water Tiger will be overflowing with a cornucopia of tasty treats. Amid all the celebrations, let’s not forget to pray for a safer and better time for everyone.
Perhaps Lee says it best with her New Year greeting: “I wish the ‘Tiger 2022’ will chase all the viruses and bad things away so we can keep going to make sure all our dreams come true!”
18-1, Jalan Indrahana 1, Taman Indrahana, Kuchai Lama, KL
Open daily (except Wed closed) 1:30pm-6pm
Tel: 011-3320 6680
· Level 2, Pavilion KL (Open daily 10am-10pm; Tel: 03-2110 4897), and
· Level 3 & Level 5, Pavilion Bukit Jalil (Open daily 8am-10pm; Tel: 03-2141 9897)
** The CNY Dirty is available until 15 February 2022
D7, G Floor, Fahrenheit 88, Jalan Bukit Bintang, KL
Open daily (except Tue closed) 10.30am-6.30pm
Tel: 016-246 3071
** Pre-order via WhatsApp wa.me/60162463071.
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