Tikoy Takes a New Shape in 2010

Chinese New Year is always celebrated by the Chinese on the 7th day of the 7th month according to the Lunar Calendar. This year, 2010, that day falls on still another big event – Valentine’s Day.

To celebrate the New Year, Chinese families usually buy glutinous rice cake (locally called tikoy) to give out to friends, family and colleagues.

Tikoy in the Philippines has truly evolved. When I was small, all we had was the usual white tikoy.

What used to be just plain white tikoy evolved into a brown version some years ago as more people preferred to eat brown sugar over white.

Then a few years ago, we began to see flavors that can only be found in the Philippines as these use locally found ingredients. Yup, you can’t find these in places like Hong Kong!



It’s Tikoy Time — Kiong Hee Huat Chai!

January 26 ushers in the Chinese New Year — the year of the Earth Ox!

Here in the Philippines, we celebrate it just as, or more noisily, than the Western New Year. Binondo, most especially, will be the center of fireworks and firecrackers, lion dances, family dinners and the ever-present tikoy.

Tikoy is made of glutinous rice flour, wheat starch, water and sugar. The ones from China are traditionally made with white sugar but here in the Philippines, we have innovated and come up with the brown sugar, ube, buko pandan and even the red bean variety.

(clockwise) white sugar, brown sugar, buko pandan, ube tikoy

(clockwise) white sugar, brown sugar, buko pandan, ube tikoy

red bean tikoy

red bean tikoy

Tikoy is usually given because its stickiness represents the strong bond of friendship that the giver wishes to have with its recipient/s. Its round shape represents eternity, no end. Tikoy has evolved, however, with some of them already coming in the shape of carp. It can be eaten as is, steamed or fried. We normally fry tikoy. We put it in the ref overnight to harden the tikoy. Next day, we slice them thinly. Then we beat 1-2 eggs. Each tikoy is then rolled in egg before it is fried. Yummmmyyyy!

Today, I went to DEC (we call it Diao Eng Chay) along Wilson St., Greenhills. The owners of DEC were very gracious and accommodating and allowed me to take any pictures I wished inside. I also went to Little Store which was not too far from DEC and also took pictures there.


this pile of tikoy will be sold out most likely by New Year's Eve

this pile of tikoy will be sold out most likely by New Year's Eve

Here are some of the stuff people were buying earlier for the Chinese New Year of the Ox:

our Pinoy carabao (chocolates inside)

our Pinoy carabao (chocolates inside)

gold chocolate coins, the carabao, and other items (carp, pineapple, round objects)

gold chocolate coins, the carabao, and other items (golden carp, pineapple, round objects)

all kinds of round fruit

all kinds of round fruit



a blown-up representation of an old Chinese gold coin

a blown-up representation of an ancient Chinese gold coin

The main doors of Chinese homes would have what is called a couplet (paired set of Chinese characters wishing the family good luck for the year), something like the one below:


I printed this couplet out this evening on red board paper and hope the kids will help me add gold trimmings to it before I hang these up on the left and right sides of our main door.

Tomorrow, I will plan the menu for Sunday evening.

Wishing you all the best in the Year of the Ox!