Chinese New Year means… new clothes, new shoes and SNACKS. Millennials who are not married yet don’t have to give angpows (we receive them instead, yay!) but that doesn’t mean you can join in the spirit of giving! We don’t mean you have to give red packets (though you totally can), but why not give something everyone would appreciate (besides money), which is snacks? But gifting the usual pineapple tarts, crispy love letters and spicy dried shrimp rolls can get a little predictable after awhile. Here are a few unusual picks you might like! Some of these are limited-edition items, so you’ll definitely want to stock them up this festive season. They are so pretty, you can even gift them to lucky family members (or hoard them all for yourself!).
Text: Xie Huiqun
Additional text: Zoe Zeng
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1. Purple Sweet Potato Pineapple Tarts from Kele
Last year, their Rose Pineapple Tarts captured the hearts of many tart fans. This year, the good folks at Kele have come up with a gorgeous open-faced Purple Sweet Potato Pineapple Tart ($29.80 per tin). It features the natural sweetness of sweet potato alongside a sweet-tangy pineapple topping. Kele is widely known for having one of the best pineapple tarts in Singapore, so you can be sure you won’t be disappointed with their offerings. For non-pineapple tart fans, there is also the new Sweet Potato Cookie ($21.80 per tin), which also comes in the same pretty purple hue.
To order, click here.
2. Auspicious Chinese Deity Bak Kwa by Hock Wong
Hock Wong debuts its bak kwa this CNY with a series of eye-catching gift boxes. These adorable three-dimensional cut-out caricatures of mythological (and auspicious) Chinese Deities, namely the Deity of Blessing (“Fu”); Deity of Fortune (“Lu”); Deity of Longevity (“Shou”); God of Happiness (“Xi”); and the God of Wealth (“Cai”), make for perfect gifts. The Minced Pork Bak Kwa set of five boxes goes for $148 (600g per box) and $245 (1kg per box) respectively. Each slice of bak kwa is individually vacuum sealed for convenience. There is also a limited edition Barbecued Bacon Bak Kwa ($48 per 600g; $72 per kg) that is made from premium pork belly (read: luscious fat) of up to 20cm in length and roasted to attain their signature charred fragrance then individually vacuum packed.
To order, click here. Look out for Hock Wong pop-ups at Suntec City (from Jan 7), Westgate (from Jan 14), VivoCity (from Jan 15) and more. All pop-ups will conclude on Feb 3. For enquiries, call 6904 5521.
Photo: Hock Wong
3. Mala Crab Sticks by Ooh
Ooh, the 1st local Mala Snack Brand that is made in Singapore, was founded in February 2018 by Gervor Quek. Fuelled by his love for spicy and numbing Szechuan cuisine, aka the “Ooh” factor (hence its name), Gervor creates recipes using dried chilli, peppercorn, fennel and ginger to bring that authentic “mala” taste to his snack creations. After introducing the Ooh La La (Mala Cassava Chips) and Ooh Ma Ma (Mala Potato Chips), Gervor added Ohh Nuts! — Mala Peanuts ($10 for 400g) and Ooh Crab! — Mala Crab Sticks ($18 for 150g) to the mix. The crispy Mala Crab Sticks, which are sweet and pleasantly numbingly spicy, are surprisingly addictive. Each customer will be limited to two sets per purchase. While stocks last.
Ooh is at #06-K5 (outside Kopitiam), Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Road, Singapore 238839.
4. Nasi Lemak Cookies by HarriAnns
HarriAnns, a homegrown brand that specialises in traditional Peranakan delicacies, has always been a hot favourite for CNY snacks. Their pink Tingkat Cookies Set (Pineapple Tarts, Sambal Prawn Rolls, and Almond Cookies, $72.90 for CNY) is especially popular. The latest addition to their ever-growing list is the Nasi Lemak Cookie ($20.90 per tin). This crunchy cookie contains fragrant anchovies (aka ikan bilis), spicy sambal and creamy coconut milk, and you can taste the savoury ikan bilis and the heat of the sambal chilli gently burning on your tongue. A pretty good cookie indeed.
HarriAnns is at #01-416A, Suntec City Mall Tower 5, 3 Temasek Boulevard, Singapore 038983
5. Avocado Gula Melaka Roll Cakes from Kele Roll Cake
This latest venture, also by Kele (yes, the same folks who dole out delicious pineapple tarts), features a light and fluffy roll cake (from $9.90) made with premium Japanese flour and filled with delicate cream that comes in a myriad of flavours. Try their Avocado Gula Melaka Roll Cake that has a fine filling of mashed avocados infused with sweet Gula Melaka that gives it a wonderfully rich taste. They have also created “cocktail cakes”, such as the Pina Colada Roll Cake, which has pineapple chunks and coconut cream laced with rum, and Lychee Martini Roll Cake, which has juicy lychee bits in a sweet pink cream. So satisfying.
Kele Roll Cake is at #B2-K10, Vivocity, 1 Harbourfront Walk, Singapore 098585.
6. Assorted Shrimp Crackers from Papatonk
These Premium Indonesian Shrimp Crackers from Papatonk ($2.60) come in four flavours — Original, Hot Chilli and Lime, Chicken Curry, and Roasted Tomatoes. It is said that these shrimp crackers have the highest shrimp content amongst their counterparts (containing 35 per cent shrimp) and are made with non-frozen seawater shrimp following an authentic Indonesian recipe. Definitely something to add to your shopping list.
Available at Sheng Siong, POPULAR Bookstore, TaoKaeNoi Land @ L3 Suntec & NinjaSnacks@Shopee.
7. Curry Cookies from Old Chang Kee
We never thought we would see the day that Old Chang Kee sells cookies, yet here we are. The much-loved local heritage brand has two local flavoured cookies ($16.80 per jar) prepared for this CNY – Curry and Nasi Lemak. The savoury Curry cookie is made using the same curry recipe as Old Chang Kee’s coveted Curry’O, and we can already imagine the familiar curry puff taste in a bite-sized cookie. The Nasi Lemak cookie is a bright amber cookie topped with crispy fried ikan bilis and peanuts and we hear it packs a quite a punch.
Available at select Old Chang Kee and Curry Times outlets from Jan 6 to Feb 28.
Photo: Old Chang Kee
8. Mandarin Orange Chiffon Cake by One Farrer Hotel
This year, in addition to One Farrer Hotel’s annual-classic Traditional Chinese Coin Red Dates Nian Gao, they have also added an Orange Chocolate Chiffon Mousse Cake ($38, 1kg). Created especially for Lunar New Year 2019, the creation features three layers of light Mandarin orange chiffon layered with mousse and finished with an orange-hued mirror-glaze. Its shape was inspired by the Chinese coin, which signifies wealth, and it is decorated with koi fish chocolates (prosperity), chocolate oranges (abundance) and the chocolate ‘Fu’ (luck), and adorned with edible gold leaves for celebrating a successful year ahead. It’s so auspicious, you won’t want to miss it.
One Farrer Hotel is at 1 Farrer Park Station Road, Singapore 217562, tel: 6705 7825.
Photo: One Farrer Hotel
9. Limited edition CNY gift tins by Yoku Moku
The 2019 Chinese New Year limited edition tin box ($38) by renowned Japanese confectionery brand Yoku Moku is made for gifting. It contains an assortment of three flavours of cookies; Cigare (rolled butter cookie, eight pcs), Billet au chocolat au lait (butter-vanilla cookies covered in milk chocolate, eight pcs) and Billet aux amandes chocolat (butter cookies coated with a milk chocolate base and topped with almond slivers, four pcs) with individually wrapped gold films. The box’s intricate design with motifs of lanterns and flowers celebrate the beginning of the new year, while the pine, bamboo and plum which are drawn as decorations of lanterns represent longevity (pine), prosperity (bamboo) and beauty and nobility (plum). These are three auspicious symbols in Japan, and especially associated with New Year celebration. Chinese New Year Daruma Cigare Polybag ($16) and Chinese New Year Fortune Sea Bream Cigare au chocolat Polybag ($19) options are also available.
Yoku Moku is at B4-39 ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn, Singapore 238801, tel: 8787 7190; and B1-50 Raffles City Shopping Centre, 252 North Bridge Road, Singapore 189768, tel: 8787 7189.
Photo: Yoku Moku
10. Foie Gras Pineapple Tarts by Racines
Looking for something unique? This unusual handcrafted traditional-French-meets-Chinese pineapple tart ($38+ for 30 pieces) was created by Executive Pastry Chef Sam Leong and is true to the culinary spirit of Racines, which features both French and Chinese cuisines. In this pairing of foie gras with acidic fruits, the clever use of rich foie gras butter in the dough gives a well-rounded savouriness to the pastry and helps balance the sweet and, at times, sharp flavours of the pineapple. Takeaway items are available online. Collection only available from Jan 21 to Feb 22.
Racines is at Sofitel Singapore City Centre, 9 Wallich Street, Singapore 078885, tel: 6428 5000.
Photo: Sofitel Singapore City Centre
11. Nian Gao with Apricots by Li Bai
Besides their usual favourites, such as Radish Cake with Conpoy and Preserved Meat and Water Chestnut Cake with Osmanthus, renowned Cantonese restaurant Li Bai presents traditional nian gao with a fruity twist. The new Nian Gao with Cane Sugar and Apricot ($50) draws natural sweetness from cane sugar and that’s complemented with apricot with a hint of tartness for a touch of freshness. A refreshing take on a CNY classic. Available for dine-in and takeaway.
Li Bai is at Sheraton Towers, 39 Scotts Road, Singapore 228230, tel: 6839 5623.
Photo: Sheraton Towers
12. Valrhona chocolate Piggy Bank by SweetSpot
SweetSpot’s Valrhona chocolate Piggy Bank ($78) is too cute to resist. Sitting atop a treasure chest filled with luscious dark, white and milk chocolate truffles, this bright pink piglet makes a perfect centrepiece. Crack it open with the accompanying wooden hammer (if you can bear to) to reveal more chocolate ingots and coins, symbolising an abundance of fortune for the new year. Available from Jan 13 to Feb 10.
SweetSpot is located at Marina Bay Sands, Hotel Lobby Tower 3, 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956, tel: 6688 8588.
Photo: SweetSpot, Marina Bay Sands
13. Limited Edition Chocolate Piggy Bank by Janice Wong
Besides a delectable twist on traditional goodies, such as Chocolate Strawberry Love Letters and Chocolate Chip Bakkwa Cookies, another highlight of celebrated local pastry chef Janice Wong’s Chinese New Year collection is this playful Chocolate Piggy Bank, complete with three edible gold coins ($33). This lovable creation takes on a more modern piggy form and comes in myriad of vibrant pinks and reds.
Janice Wong has several locations. For her online shop, visit here.
Photo: Janice Wong
14. Lemongrass Earl Grey Pineapple Tarts by SPRMRKT
Sink your teeth into these buttery melt-in-your-mouth tarts ($38.80+ for 600g) crafted by SPRMRKT’s chef-owner Joseph Yeo and his team. Their creation gives the traditional pineapple tart a surprising twist with an addition of aromatic early grey tea leaves in the short crust pastry and a dash of lemongrass in the pineapple jam filling. The result? Pineapple pastry balls that look darker than usual, but are surprisingly light on the palate. Although the earl grey flavour only sets in after a few bites, when it hits, it packs a punch.
Available at both SPRMRKT’s STPI (41 Robertson Quay, Singapore 238236, tel:9736 4032) and Cluny Court (#02-13 Cluny Court,501 Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 259760, tel:9736 4170) locations from Jan 21 onwards. Pre-orders can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling either outlet, or directly over the counter. Orders can only be confirmed upon collection of full payment.