Gone are the days when Chinese New Year treats just meant your regular pineapple tarts, cookies, love letters, and nian gao. Sure, you can still get your hands on these OG goodies, but with all the experimental trends and fusion flavors these days, it’s always fun to try new creations. (Even though you may regret it 90 percent of the time.)
So if you’d like your home to stand out from the multitude of visitations this Year of the Dog, try stocking up on something out of the norm. Like espresso pineapple tarts. Or laksa cookies. Or salted egg yolk kueh lapis. At the very least, your unconventional snacks will be the talk of the family reunion.
Grab your unusual CNY goodies from these 15 brands below.
Once again, Antoinette never fails to impress us with its seasonal dessert creations. If yam is your jam, order the orh nee cake ($10/slice, $45/cake) for creamy layers of yam mousse, yam cake with gula melaka, and pumpkin cremeux with fried shallots. Or sink your teeth into bite-sized almond macaron shells piped with a blend of coconut yam cream, candied pumpkin and fried shallots ($3/piece).
Cookie monsters can go for the Singapura cookie tin ($24), which serves up six intriguing flavors – curry and cheese, spiced salted egg, ondeh ondeh, kopi susu, osmanthus, and hae bee hiam (spicy dried shrimp sambal).
Forget chicken floss buns. Now you can get in on last year’s fluffy castella cake craze with a chicken floss-topped confection spread with mayo and roasted white sesame seeds ($13). Alas, it’s only available till the end of February, but other uniquely Singaporean versions include pandan ($11) and milo dinosaur ($13).
Pineapple tarts come in all shapes and flavors this year, including chrysanthemum and hae bee hiam at Bakerzin ($23.80/assorted box). The former gives off a subtle floral scent, while the latter has a hint of spice amidst the sweetness of the paste. For the more atas among us, try the buttery tarts ($32/box) stuffed with pineapple and wolfberries that’ve been soaked in XO liquor for up to a month.
To further indulge, go for the cookie selection, with options such as Long Jing tea, coconut chia, charcoal black sesame, and Thai milk tea.
Besides its dog-shaped buns with bak kwa filling, the ubiquitous bread store is also offering rainbow kueh lapis (meh) and a salted egg twist on pineapple tarts ($19.80/box). Guess the salted egg trend still refuses to leave us alone.
For crumbly, buttery pineapple pastries (what other kind is there?), hit up halal bakery Butter Studio for its signature parmesan pineapple cheese balls ($29.80/jar) or try its new invention – espresso pineapple tarts, made with a coffee-infused base ($29.80/jar).
Move over, spicy salted egg yolk lotus root chips. This year’s soon-to-be crowd favorite from Goodwood Park Hotel is its salted egg yolk yam chips with addictive spicy Sichuan seasoning ($36.80/jar). The resulting numbing sensation is nothing a packet of chrysanthemum tea can’t wash down.
The perennial local favorite for handmade Nonya treats continues to take Chinese New Year by storm with its luscious array of goodies, including laksa cookies ($20.90/jar) and love letters ($21.90/jar) in flavors like pandan and charcoal.
So many mouthwatering goodies, so little stomach space. At least you’ve got a couple days’ worth of festivities to indulge, so pace yourself when you shop at Old Seng Choong’s new Clarke Quay store, which sells all kinds of cookies inspired by local tastes. Options include satay, cereal prawn, bak kut teh, putu mayam, laksa, and bak kwa ($18.80-$19.80/jar).
If that’s not enough to satiate your hunger for CNY tidbits, pineapple tarts also come in flavors like yuzu, orange peel, bak kwa, and hae bee hiam.
Seems like Ollella has come up with Singapore’s first salted egg yolk kueh lapis ($24-$90) – or so it claims. In addition to its addictive spiced and prune rum renditions, the brand’s buttery new flavor offers the tiniest hint of salted egg yolk without overwhelming your palate. Too bad its Nutella version is just as subtle – we’d love to see a more generous dose of the hazelnut spread (but that’s just our love for chocolate speaking).
If you’d like to be a little extra this year, order the Prosperity Choux Tower ($88) and promptly plop the 30-piece Chantilly cream choux with pineapple compote on your dining table as a centerpiece. It even comes with four hidden “auspicious numbers” that you can probably use in your next attempt to strike the lottery.
Who needs an actual plate of nasi lemak when you can stuff yourself silly with multiple cookies that taste just like the original? Okay, we kid. Nasi lemak will never go out of style.
But even though the craze was so 2017, you can now taste the flavors of the popular local dish in coconut- and ginger-infused cookies ($18/jar), thanks to this homegrown brand. And in case you were wondering, tom yum cookies made with homemade paste and lemongrass are also up for grabs.
Nian gao (sticky rice cake) gets the calorie-laden, King of Fruits treatment with Peony Jade’s Prosperity Gold Bar 100 percent Pure Black Gold Mao Shan Wang Durian ($118.88). Damn, just reading its name gives us the confidence to march out into the world and buy Toto in anticipation of a fortune-filled year ahead.
More bak kwa shenanigans, this time in the form of popcorn ($15/box) by homegrown brand The Kettle Gourmet. Packed in re-sealable bags, this snack is great for those who want to keep grazing during the commute from one relative’s place to the other. A teh tarik flavor – which starts off sweet and melts into a slightly bitter aftertaste – is also available.
To keep yourself entertained during the visits of distant relatives you only see once a year, scatter a few of these mandarin orange domes ($12) around your table and sit back to watch while people try to grab them, only to realize they’re not actually fruits. Alternatively, take the high road and dish out rose-flavored sweetheart cakes ($30/box) or persimmon maple walnut pound cakes ($68) from The Fullerton Hotel’s new range of sweets.
The taste of salted caramel, Earl Grey, peanut butter, yuzu, Nutella, and rose may be familiar to us all, but when they’re piped into Chinese New Year zodiac macarons ($45/12) – each a different flavor – it’s adorable as hell. For more sugary satisfaction, get the red, gold, or dog-shaped chocolate cake popsicles ($30/six), and you’ll be the new favorite cool aunt/uncle among the kids in your fam.
This is the last bak kwa-flavored treat, we promise. Fans of Teochew pastry brand Thye Moh Chan’s tau sar piah (bean paste pastry) can munch on mung bean filling mixed with bits of dried barbecued meat when you try the new Golden Bangle recipe ($18.80/box); otherwise, there’s always Golden Joy’s red bean paste flecked with mochi, spicy pork floss, and salted egg yolk ($22.80/box).
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