大年初一 (the first day)

I was awoken by the sharp ringing of the home phone. The sun was shining in, and I stirred, pillow and blankets still piled atop of my face.

Still blundered in a slight food coma from the reunion dinner last night, and face heavy from staying up late, I peeled myself off from the sheets. 

..before it hit me. 

It was the first day of the lunar new year. And for all my fellow chinese out there, we all know what this means.

Red pockets.

A visit from that one grand uncle and grand aunty that we only see one time each year.

Air conditioning. (absolute necessity in singapore)

Bak kwa (singaporean glazed pork jerky).

More snacking.

Mandarins.

More snacking.

Grandma was still quietly snoozing this morning, her thin, frail engine slowly humming awake.

 The coffee table was arranged with multiple red-lidded plastic containers (the iconic chinese new year symbol) filled with all sorts of traditional new year cookies and snacks. In the middle sat a plate of golden orange mandarins, a symbol of wealth and prosperity.

If you ask me, the snacking and cookies (aside from the reunion of family and relatives), are by far my favourite part of Chinese New Year (i’d even dare say it nearly surpasses the red pockets!).

Almond crunch cookie (second favourite behind peanut candy)
Sunflower seed biscuit

These were some of my favourites this year, however my number one still being the simple peanut candy- made solely of crushed peanuts and malt, it is baked to a delectably crispy, nutty sheet, and then sliced into little bite sized crunchy squares, which makes yo’ girl here smile silly. 

As imagineable, any effort of clean eating and dieting during this festive season…Actually that doesn’t even exist in the Chinese New Year vocabulary.

 Most people speak in 4 syllable chinese idioms today, extending their happy and warm wishes for the new year, all while sipping on fizzy cherry and orange F&N soda, peeling mandarin oranges, and munching on yummy snacks. 

We are all not to sweep or mop the floors today, to make sure good luck and prosperity for the new year will not be ‘swept away’. 

We sit around the couch watching a classic Stephen Chow movie with grandma, awaiting our next visit from relatives.

 It is quiet, but homely and warm.

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