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Ring in the Year of the Tiger with these must-haves for your Chinese New Year feast

By Brooke Villanueva Published Jan 20, 2022 8:01 pm Updated Jan 30, 2022 9:26 pm

After welcoming a new year on the first of January, some families would still find themselves preparing for another celebration that’s quite similar about a month later: Chinese New Year.

Chinese families mark the holiday on a high note, but there are also Filipinos who observe it not only by handing out red envelopes with money and creating good feng shui in their homes, but also by enjoying a massive feast to attract good luck for the coming year. While it varies from clan to clan, each dish on the table symbolizes all things lucky and auspicious—from wealth and abundance to togetherness, and beyond.

Planning a CNY celebration for you and your loved ones? Here are some food brands you can count on for a great start to the Year of the Tiger on Feb. 1.

We know what came to your mind first, so let’s start this list with it. Made from sticky rice, water, and sugar, tikoy is a staple for every Lunar New Year party. Also known as “nian gao” in Mandarin Chinese, it translates to “higher year,” which means better times are coming. Its sticky consistency represents togetherness and is believed to let good luck “stick” to you for the entire year. You can get some from Akind Bakery in four exciting flavors: classic, cheese, ube, and matcha. 

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Spring Festival is all about abundance, and if you’re willing to spend a few more extra bucks, you can enjoy some premium nian gao from Shangri-La The Fort. It offers signature and specialty flavors, including steamed coconut, ube and red coconut sugar with pili nuts, radish cake, and taro cake starting at P2,388 each.

Speaking of "sticky" goodies, Big 5 has another option for you in the form of butchi pao. Instead of the common sweet filling we love in butchi, this offering has a meaty surprise. The asado minced pork in it tastes similar to the ones in siopao, but it has a pleasantly crisp exterior for added excitement.

There are also some sweet and savory baos from the House of Bao. Open on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, each order comes with a Chinese New Year card to make it even more special.

You might also want to check out some CNY feasts by KC's Kitchen. They have a dimsum platter (P750) with hakao, shrimp and pork siomai, shark's fin, jelly fish, century egg, beancurd roll as well as delectable dishes (P1,999/P2,999) like salt and pepper squid, fried chicken, salted fish fried rice, miki bihon, shrimp foo yong, and fried cuapao with milk dip.

A roast pig is quite pricey as it’s usually presented as a whole to symbolize completeness. For its goodness, however, many still love it and make it the star of the dining table. Wu’s Kitchen offers that for P7,600—just make sure to order it three days in advance. 

Number eight is known as the “luckiest number” in Chinese culture because of its pronunciation: “ba,” which sounds similar to “fa,” meaning, wealth or fortune. At 8 Treasures, there’s a platter filled with eight treasures such as charsiu pork, roast duck, lechon macau, HK white chicken, soy chicken, HK red sausage, century egg, and jellyfish. It’s priced at P2,128 and is good for 8-10 pax.

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Another must-have—and probably the most fun—is yee sang. This prosperity salad from Salmon HQ (P1,300/P2,500) is made with vegetables, crisps, peanuts, sesame seeds, and some salmon. Top it with the food brand’s signature plum sauce, and then toss it as high as you can with your family as you say your wishes out loud for good luck, wealth, and abundance. 

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Opting for something luxurious? Crystal Dragon's Prosperity Abalone Yu Sheng could be your best bet, made with ingredients "thoughtfully put together to symbolize abundance of wealth and long life." These include some sliced abalone, colorful julienned papaya, pomelo, carrots, radish, onion leeks, chopped peanuts, and deep-fried flour crisps drizzled with oil and sweet plum sauce.

Lobsters, anyone? Sea Source is now accepting orders for its best-selling lobsters for the Lunar New Year. They're not just fresh—they're really meaty, too!

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Ginza Gyu has a must-try grilled salmon tray that could be perfect for CNY. Aside from salmon fillet, it's also served with nori tamago, dashi mirin glaze, house-made gari, shiitake mushroom sasanishiki chahan that can satisfy 3-4 people (P1,840/tray).

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You can also count on O'ini, which is offering various dishes that are perfect for your CNY spread—from crispy boneless lechon belly, special pancit, and cheesy baked salmon to kakanin bundles.

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How about some “auspicious cupcakes” for some sweetness all year round? Tres Marias Desserterie offers these sweet treats (P1,350/box of 12), putting the spotlight on its limited-edition flavor: the pineapple chiffon with pineapple compote topped with Swiss Meringue Buttercream. In case you didn’t know, pineapples are called “ong lai” in Hokkien, which means "fortune come."

Nelnu also prepared some sweet CNY treats: a five-blossom cheesecake (P1,688) symbolizing five blessings such as longevity, prosperity, health, virtue, and good living, imperial cheesecake (P1,688) with 12 edible gold ingots and prosperity sign, and prosperity tarts (P388/box of six) that feature the goodness of cream cheese.

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On top of a 10% discount you can enjoy until Feb. 6 for a minimum spend of P500, Goldilocks released a lovely CNY cake to make this year's celebration one for the books. It's available for only P429.

How cute does this cake look? Jasmine's mandarin orange chocolate cake could make a great addition to your CNY feast. This delightful dessert is made with white chocolate mousse and mandarin oranges, and finished off with a hint of cinnamon.

Speaking of cake, Butternut MNL's bestselling classic mocha chiffon cake with French buttercream got a makeover for Chinese New Year. Priced at P1,500, it's made even sweeter with its housemade yema filling.

Not a fan of cake? Check out CMV Txokolat's tiger-shaped Binondo Pralines, showcasing an incredible mix of cinnamon, anise, clove, red tea, and milk chocolate.

Here's another one that can tickle your tastebuds: Dough-Nagi's The One with the Year of the Tiger (P280). In this offering, 12 macaroons are served in a CNY-themed box, completed with a cute tiger keychain by Hartfelt Creations.

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Chido PH released new flavors just for Chinese New Year! Available only until Feb. 10, the offerings (P348/P598) include CNY glaze, peanut, black sesame, dragon fruit, and salted egg.

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