SoFtBuNnY's World

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Saturday, February 2, 2008

CNY Festive Food - Mandarin Oranges

The time-honoured tradition of exchanging mandarin oranges among friends and relatives during Chinese New Year (CNY) is a gesture of goodwill that dates back to the Zhou dynasty. The Mandarin Orange, called "Kam" in Cantonese, has an auspicious-sounding name that is similar to the word for sweetness and Gold (Kam meaning gold and signifies fortune in Chinese beliefs). It is common practice when going house visiting during Chinese New Year to bring mandarin oranges as gifts as it's a way for wishing the house one visits good luck and fortune.

There are at least 4 types of mandarin oranges in the market and they come from Pakistan, China and Taiwan. The Lokam from China is a bestseller, but the Ponkam from Taiwan and Chiu Chow Kam are also popular and last but not least are the mini mandarin oranges. When I was young, only the Chiu Chow Kam was available and they came in wooden crates. They are mainly round in shape and have a tangy sweet flavor. To me, I can't tell the difference between the Lokam and Ponkam as both tastes sweet. The Lokam and Ponkam are flatter circles and are much sweeter compared to the Chiu Chow Kams. Many people nowadays prefer buying the Lokam and Ponkam varieties.

Just a few years back, the mini mandarin oranges made their debut in Malaysia market. These mandarin oranges must be eaten in moderation as they below to the wet heaty element in chinese health.

I will explain the different categories of Chinese health beliefs in my blog soon. Different food stuff have different properties. If you eat too much of mandarin oranges, it can give you a phlegm cough and tummy ache.

These oranges are really small in size and sweet and tastes exactly like a miniature mandarin orange. Eating 1 is not enough....I'd end up eating up to 5 at a go.

Traditional Chiu Chow Mandarin Oranges come in wooden crates which are difficult to open.

I have 39 of these Lokam or Ponkams at my office table. Here are the 3 different sizes I received from my company's suppliers. The one on left most is the biggest and best quality and comes in a gift boxes of 12s or 18s. The middle is the medium sized orange and comes in boxes of 24's or 28's. The one on right most is the smallest in size and comes in boxes of 32s or 48s. Everyday now I bring back 10 pieces as I take public transport to and fro office.

The skin is not easily broken and usually people peel these in 4 to 5 petals to form a flower and also serve as a case for the seeds. The moment I peel this Kam, the fresh citrus scent fills the areas surrounding me. It serves as a natural air freshener. Some people even keep the peels and wash them and dry them to preserve them as dried orange skin. Dried orange skins can be eaten as an aid digestive or ease queasiness, or in cooking or baking.

Really Sweet and Juicy....

Looking at this picture reminds me of my favorite Ikura (Salmon Roe)

Burps...Really sweet and juicy but many seeds....

Bye Bye Orange!! It's in my dustbin now.



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