What's the best part of being in Penang for Chinese New Year? It's the Chinese New Year food: a rich spread of traditional Chinese cuisine with a little Malay flavor thrown in. The streets come alive with hawkers selling bak kwa, and the shops bustle with "aunties" picking up the last of the oranges and jars of kuih bangkit.
The wide selection of traditional foods available may be confusing to the first-time visitor, so we asked Penang-based food blogger Lingzie to give us a guided tour of the typical New Year spread you might find in a restaurant or a friend's home.
A dish's name gives it added meaning during New Year. "The Chinese word for 'fish' symbolizes abundance," explains Lingzie, "[so] usually the dinner will also include fish dishes. Thus the Mandarin greeting nian nian you yu ('every year got fish') which means you are wishing someone abundance."