10 MOST COMMONLY SEEN FOODS IN THE COMPLETE BOX (全盒) AKA SNACK BOX.
Now, no household is complete with their CNY decorations unless they have a 全盒 (Literally translates to “Complete Box”).
There are a lot of Chinese auspicious traditions for Chinese New Year and the Complete box is no exception. It is usually a shade of red (auspicious colour for the Chinese) and it’s named the complete box because well, it symbolizes that there is nothing missing and that you have everything you need for the upcoming new year.
So what goes inside this Complete Box? Lots of yummy goodies! Alongside with the Complete Box, you also will eat a lot of different snacks… Every single one with an auspicious name or meaning of course. So when do you see the Complete Box? When you go to Bai Nian (click here if you want to learn the most common Bai Nian greetings) at your friends’ and family’s house, they will offer you snacks from this Complete Box. And might one expect to consume from this Complete Box? Read on to find out!
10 MOST COMMONLY SEEN FOODS IN THE COMPLETE BOX
You can put anything you want in the Complete Box. For my 80+ gramps, we put much healthier options into the complete box, but below are the 10 most popular snacks you see in the Complete Box during CNY. In no particular order, here goes:
ONE. SESAME BALLS 笑口棗.
The Chinese name for these fried yummies means someone that laughs and smiles frequently, much like the Bai Nian greeting, 笑口常開 (Smile frequently). The way that the sesame balls are spilt also look like they’re smiling. Smiles all around!
TWO. PISTACHIO 開心果.
The Chinese name has it literally translated as “Happy Nut”. Also, once again, smiles all around!
THREE. DEEP FRIED DUMPLINGS 角仔.
Due to their golden brown colour and shape, these highly addictive deep fried dumplings look similar to gold nuggets… Which the Chinese love <3.
Sweet in the inside with bits of peanuts, and other crunchy things. One of my favourites, but probably highly calorific. No need to google, I do not need to know how many calories are in one of these things. Thank you.
FOUR. FRIED SWEET EGG TWISTS 蛋散.
Yummy deep fried goodness. And, of course, the golden brown colour of the deep fried dumplings then get associated with the auspicious meaning of 金銀滿屋, which loosely translates to “house full of gold”. This is another reason why there are so many fried goodies during CNY. Besides the fact that they taste good, they, more importantly, have a good meaning, conducive to a good year. Once again, very addictive and yummy. Betcha can’t just have one!
For the sweet egg twists specifically, their auspicious significance is 富貴, which means fortune and prosperity. This means that sweet egg twists signify having more and more prosperity each year. I’m not quite sure how the Chinese characters for sweet egg twists is linked with its (Google doesn’t either). If you do know, please let me know!
FIVE. FERRERO ROCHER.
Once again an auspicious snack. The Chinese name for Ferrero Rocher is 金莎 and 金 means gold. Just as well because Ferrero Rocher looks like nuggets of gold, which is of course an auspicious present to receive!
SIX. GOLDEN DOLLAR COINS.
An another auspicious snack. Who doesn’t want some pretend gold coins? Especially when they’re made of chocolate on the inside!
SEVEN. MELON SEEDS 瓜子.
These lil’ guys are such time suckers. So much effort for very minimal reward, but can be quite fun. The most common approach to open these is by using your teeth; insert the melon seed perpendicular between your teeth and chomp down strategically at the top of the melon seed to crack it open. The smarter but slower strategy is to use the melon seed opener that sometimes comes along with your purchase of melon seeds.
And it’s auspicious meaning? 抓銀 which means to grab silver, which is an visual interpretation of you grabbing a handful of black melon seeds, and finally opening one to reveal the “silver” silver of melon seed.
EIGHT. SWEETENED LOTUS SEED 糖蓮子.
I’ve personally have never tried this before, but I can imagine it would be quite sweet. The significance in this snack is on the punnage for 年生貴子, which loosely translates to mean “to conceive babies (boys) this year”. The 年 character means year, and is pronounced exactly the same as you would for the first Chinese character for lotus “蓮子”.
NINE. SWEETENED WINTER MELON 糖冬瓜.
Another one I’ve personally never tried but would once again imagine it to be quite sweet. The significance in this snack is for 好頭好尾 which translates literally as “good head, good tail”, which means that there will be a good start and a good end to the year. The association or linkage is a head scratcher because there is no punnage or a play on words from sweetened winter melon (唐冬瓜）to 好有好尾. I can only speculate that the significance derives from the long and skinny shape of the sweetened winter melon. If you can confirm my speculation or know how the significance is linked, please let me know!
TEN. VARIOUS OTHER CANDIES AND DRIED FRUITS.
Candies that I <3 to see inside my childhood Complete Boxes are:
Why are there so many candies and chocolates in the Complete Box you ask? Because who doesn’t want to live a “sweet” life? I can’t make this stuff up even if I tried… I’ve genetically inherited the love for cheesy punnages – blame my Asian heritage, it’s not my fault =p.
My friend tells me that she’s never seen a Complete Box with 10 varieties in it… Can someone please prove her wrong?!? Snap a photo and tag me in it if you do on Instagram @THESMOODIARIES.