Written and Images by Joanne Cheuk | 大世界.小旅人
Translation by Wendy Yiu
Location: Malaysia | Penang
As early as the 18th century, there were Hakka Chinese immigrants in Penang. They are very traditional and celebrate the new year that retain many traditional customs.
Lebuh Cannon in George Town is lined with red lanterns, and you can find a wide range of food and supplies for the Chinese New Year in stalls in the market (known locally as Pasar). The rice cake is wrapped in banana leaves and cooked with firewood in the ancient way. The rice milk is added with cane sugar, poured into the banana leaf roll, and slowly cooked with firewood for 8 hours. Hong Kong style is that we eat rice cakes steamed hot or dipped in egg yolks to fry them, while Penang people fry slices of rice cakes with taro and sweet potatoes.
Hong Kong people use pomelo leaves to wash away bad luck, while Penang people bathe with seven-colored flowers to bring fortune. A box of all kinds of small snacks with red lids are best New Year's gifts. The traditional Kuih Kapit with a strong Nyonya flavor is the most popular. The copper mold will be engraved with patterns such as flowers, birds and fish on both sides. One side represents Baba, the other side represents Nyonya, meaning Baba and Nyonya are carved together.
There are three colors of the local lai see is, the Chinese use the traditional red, the Mara people who believe in Islam uses blue-green, and the Hindus use the purple with a peacock pattern.