Last week Taipei City’s Office of Commerce released the results of its first survey this year of the “Top 10” snacks being sold at the Dihua Street market for the Lunar New Year. Cashews came in first place, followed by dried shredded squid at second place and chewy candy at third place.
According to the Taipei City Department of Health’s investigation on Jan. 28, although cashews contain more than 600 calories per 100g, they are still the most popular snack being sold at the Dihua Street market for the Spring Festival. A service representative working at the Hu Kuang Chinese Medicine Shop, opposite the Xia Hai City God Temple, said that cashews are a top seller every year, adding that in early years it was always big families coming in to buy 5 or 6 jin (3kg or 3.6kg) at a time, while now families are much smaller and typically only buy 1 or 2 jin (600g or 1.2kg).
The Office of Commerce says that cashews are so popular, in part, because of their pleasant-sounding name — “happy nut” in Chinese, and also because they come in various flavors, including original, butter, or salt and pepper. Out of all the Lunar New Year snacks, another reason cashews are the champion of all Dihua Street market snacks is because cashews only cost between NT$200 and NT$270 per jin (600g), making them a very affordable snack. Cashews are nutritious nuts with an auspicious name (in Chinese), so they are quite suitable for snacking on while watching television or to give away as gifts.
Dried shredded squid, which came in second place, is also high in calories, approximately 300 to 350 calories per 100g serving, and it has higher levels of sodium — around 1,945mg. If you are not careful, you could easily eat enough of the snack to exceed the recommended daily sodium intake of 2,400mg. Many people were surprised to discover that the sumptuously sweet-smelling sesame cakes and nougats, the latter of which is a hot item for group purchases, were not included in the “Top 10” list.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)