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Nian Gao 年糕 (Chinese New Year's Cake)

A food prepared from glutinous rice and consumed in Chinese cuisine.

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A Quick Tip by Sharrie

  • Feb 15, 2010
  • by
To the Chinese, an auspicious food. Pan fried with beaten eggs and a dash of salt make this into a delicious & filling breakfast or snacks.
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review by . February 15, 2010
posted in Gourmand
The Best Thing About Lunar New Year...
Well, besides the festivities and red envelopes (which, by the way, I'm totally still allowed to collect on since I'm unmarried :D).  So what is it?      ...It's nian gao!  Also known as Chinese new year's cake.  It's like a Chinese mochi.         Yes, I have orchids readily available for food garnishing. What? ;)    Every year, around the week before Chinese new year, my kitchen turns into a nian gao …
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Sharrie ()
Ranked #2
I'm a traveler at heart & have been nicknamed Travel Queen by friends & colleagues alike. Traveling has been my life passion for the last decade or so. As we enter a new decade, I'm excited … more
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About this food


Nián gāoYear cake or Chinese new year's cake is a food prepared from glutinous rice and consumed in Chinese cuisine. It is available in Asian supermarkets and from health food stores. While it can be eaten all year round, traditionally it is most popular during Chinese New Year. It is considered good luck to eat nian gao during this time, because "nian gao" is a homonym for "higher year." The Chinese word 粘 (nián), meaning "sticky", is identical in sound to 年, meaning "year", and the word 糕 (gāo), meaning "cake" is identical in sound to 高, meaning "high". As such, eating nian gao has the symbolism of raising oneself higher in each coming year (年年高升 niánnián gāoshēng).
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