Memories of Spring Festival are hidden in these treats

By Ding Xin / / Updated: 11:56,02-February-2022

Chen Yulan, a resident of Yelin Town, Lingshui Li Autonomous County, is making rice paper.

The kitchens of Hainanese people begin to be filled with a strong Spring Festival aroma in the twelfth month of every lunar year. The tasty cakes below are popular foods to serve guests and bring back the warm hometown memories of many people's childhoods.

Danzhou White Buns (Baimo)

Hainan Sweet Peanut Squares (Tanggong)

In northern areas of Hainan Province, there is a saying that "It’s not a feast without a chicken, and it’s not Spring Festival without Tanggong".


Crushed peanuts are an essential ingredient for making Tanggong. At the home of Fu Jing, who lives in Fenghui Village, Huewen Town, Wenchang City, after being well stirred, the crushed peanuts, sesame seeds, and sugar syrup in the pot have blended together, and the whole house is filled with the smell of caramel and peanuts.

Feng Hui Village is also known as the "pastry village". The Tanggong made in the village is not only popular in Wenchang, but is also exported to Malaysia, Singapore, and other places around the world.

Brown Sugar Rice Cakes 

The brown sugar rice cake is a traditional Hainan snack and a must-have food for Spring Festival on the island. The rice cake is also called "Nian Nian Gao", which means good luck in the coming year. Many areas of Hainan have the custom of eating these brown sugar rice cakes for the Chinese New Year.

Brown Sugar Rice Cakes

If you want to try your hand at making your own brown sugar rice cakes, you have to follow these steps. First, you have to soak glutinous rice and then grind it into a paste with a stone mill. Then, ginger and brown sugar are stir-fried together and boiled into syrup. Then, the drained glutinous rice flour is kneaded into cakes and put into the syrup, and stirred continuously. When the glutinous rice cake is cooked, stir it well, so that the syrup and glutinous rice cake are fully mixed. Soon, your steaming brown sugar rice cake will be ready!

"Pork Sausage” Rice Rolls (Zhuchangba)

Zhuchangba is a traditional specialty of Wanning and a common delicacy on local people's tables during the Spring Festival. They are named for their appearance - no actual pork sausage is inside.

Sliced Zhuchangba

Zhuchangba has a light flavor and a toothsome texture and is filled with peanut, coconut, and sesame. An expert Zhuchangba chef in Wanning explained that to make Zhuchangba, you have to choose the best glutinous rice so that the rice rolls can be stored for a long time.

Fried Crispy Dumplings (Sujiao)
Crispy dumplings are shaped like traditional Chinese purses. Eating crispy dumplings in the New Year has the symbolic meaning of good fortune and a bulging wallet. In Wenchang, Qionghai, and other parts of Hainan, many people fry crispy dumplings on the eve of Chinese New Year.

Fu Yufang, a villager in Jianhuashan Village, Dongjiao Town, Wenchang City, is making crispy dumplings.

Fried Crispy Dumplings (Sujiao)

Fu Yufang explained that the shape of Sujiao is similar to normal dumplings, but the cooking method and fillings are different. The filling is made of crushed peanuts, sesame seeds, and sugar stirred together. After wrapping, the dumplings are fried cooking oil at a temperature of 300 degrees to golden brown on both sides.

Envelope Cake (Xinfengbing)

Envelope cake, a light yellow pancake made of eggs, shredded coconut, glutinous rice, and sesame, got its name due to its resemblance to an envelope. With both an excellent flavor and a crispy texture, the envelope cake is a special snack around Wenchang’s Huewen Town.

In the early 18th century, envelope cakes were brought to Hainan from Singapore by residents of Huiwen who had traveled across the South China Sea for work. They made this snack in the shape of an envelope to show their deep love for their hometown. 



Having questions about living or working in Hainan? Leave it below. 

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