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Chinese New Year treats

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After ushering in the new year, the next big event that the whole world is looking forward to is the Chinese New Year, and it is almost here. Following the lunar calendar, the Chinese New Year falls on 12 February 2021, so preparations have definitely begun. Chinese delis and grocery stores (even regular supermarkets) are stocking up on nian gao, a glutinous rice cake better known as tikoy in the Philippines, which is said to symbolize family unity and close relationships.

Even a foreign brand, Kee Wah Bakery, which is one of Hong Kong’s finest Chinese bakeries, carries its own version of nian gao, which it calls Chinese New Year pudding. Made with high-quality glutinous rice flour, its pudding has a sweet mochi-like texture to it. Just as with other nian gaos in the market, this Chinese New Year pudding symbolizes prosperity in life or business — or both — in the coming year. What makes it different from commercial nian gaos is that this one follows a family recipe, and it comes not just in the usual round shape but in the clean and crisp lines of a square as well. There are five variants to choose from: Original, Low Sugar, Coconut Flavor, Almond Flavor and Red Dates Flavor.

But Kee Wah Bakery has set up a physical store at The Podium (ground floor, near the BDO Corporate Office entrance) and made its products available in the Philippines through Pick-a-Roo, Lazada, Shopee, MetroMart, GrabMart, Facebook, Instagram and its website (keewahproductsphilippines.com) not just to sell its Chinese New Year pudding but a host of other exciting and delicious Chinese New Year treats as well.

A heritage brand known for its premium and quality pastries since 1938, Kee Wah Bakery has through the years established a foothold in China (Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen), Taiwan (Taipei), and the United States of America (Los Angeles and San Francisco), and is now spreading the Hong Kong tradition to the Philippines in time for the Chinese New Year.

Part of the tradition is Kee Wah’s signature Panda Cookies. They are cute little cookies that come in the shape of a black and white panda using only the finest flour, butter and rich bittersweet cocoa. Loved by kids and adults alike, Panda Cookies, each piece weighing 11 grams, are available in 12-piece packs and in 400-gram gift tins.

Kee Wah Bakery has also brought to Manila its signature almond biscuits. These delicious morsels are made of mung bean flour, almonds, eggs and butter, then baked into thin, round slices with embossed Chinese characters on top. They are sold in eight-piece and 16-piece packs.

What’s really interesting is the Phoenix Rolls, which still bank on the premium quality flour and butter that the Hong Kong-based bakery uses. They are like swirls of pastry that have been folded into slightly flat rolls with interesting filling inside them. The variants include Phoenix Rolls with Pork Floss, Phoenix Rolls with Sesame and Desiccated Coconut, and Phoenix Rolls with Pork Floss and Seaweed, all available in six-piece and 11-piece packs.

Kee Wah Bakery likewise offers Assorted Flavored Eggrolls that kind of remind you of our native barquillos. These Chinese rolled-up crispy crepes, however, trace their roots back to the Tang Dynasty, and they come in six exquisite flavors: Butter Eggrolls (light golden rolls), Coconut Eggrolls (almost similar in appearance to the Butter Eggrolls), Black Sesame Eggrolls (with specks of black sesame all over), Ginger Eggrolls (my personal favorite because the ginger taste is very pronounced but not overpowering), Coffee Eggrolls (light brown, also with a pronounced coffee taste) and Seaweed Eggrolls (with small, almost powdery green specks of seaweed all over, and also a personal favorite). You get a generous assortment of these flavors in a square-shaped 400-gram Gift Tin.

Also available for Chinese New Year are the bakery’s other best-sellers, including Premium Butter Cookies, whose variants are Butter Cookies with Cashew, Coffee Cookies with Cashew, Butter Cookies with Cranberry and Chocolate Cookies with Sliced Almonds, in 12-piece packages.

Then there are the fruit shortcakes— pineapple shortcake, pineapple shortcake with walnuts, mango shortcake, and honeydew melon shortcakes — individually packed and stacked in
four-piece, nine-piece and 12-piece tins.

To go perfectly with these delectable pastries are Kee Wah Bakery’s signature premium Chinese teas in black tea, green tea, oolong tea and jasmine tea variants. It also offers Special Premium Flavor Tea Bags, Po Li Tea, Ti Kuan Yi and Long Jin Tea for this auspicious season.

Kung Hei Fat Choy to everyone!

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