On the third day of New Year my mama said to me
3. pineapple tarts
Pineapple is important for the new year — the word in Cantonese and Hokkien sounds like ‘king’ and in Hokkien (a Chinese dialect) it is pronounced as Ong Lye and sounds like ‘a king is coming’. The head of the pineapple fruit also resembles a crown, hence the association with wealth, power and prosperity. Among the Cantonese in Malaysia and Singapore, it is called Wong Lye, similar homophone to ‘king’ (Ong or Wong) and ‘coming’ (Lai).
Pineapple tarts are very time-consuming and expensive to make and they are also very high in calories because of the amount of sugar used and the butter for the soft pastry. The sweetness is also because the new year is expected to be sweet and so most CNY goodies are sweet. Eating one pineapple tart is like eating one teaspoon of oil, depending on the size of the tart. Pineapples are tropical fruits and the making of pineapple tarts is unique to Malaysia and Singapore.