Apart from bonding with family and friends, getting to go shopping for new clothes, and receiving red packets, one other aspect of the Lunar New Year that we always look forward to is the wide variety of snacks available. From perennial favourites such as pineapple tarts and bak kwa (barbecued pork jerky) to staples like nian gao and kueh bangkit (coconut cookies), there’s bound to be something that’ll please every palate. The best part is, these delicious Chinese New Year snacks are a ubiquitous sight at most house visitations — so we can busy ourselves with feasting on them, and avoid the usual interrogations by nosy relatives (“When are you getting married?”/ “Why are you still single?”/ “When are you having your first child?” etc).
Unfortunately, like all other tasty treats, these snacks aren’t exactly nutritious and need to be consumed in moderation. Pineapple tarts tend to be high in sugar and calories, while munching your way through bak kwa and buttery cookies is a surefire way to pack on the pounds.
But we really don’t want to be a killjoy. Since it’s the festive season, why not live a little and pamper yourself with your favourite Chinese New Year snacks? To get you started, we’ve put together a guide to 5 snacks we recommend trying.
(Featured photo: The St Regis Singapore)
From potato chips to fried fish skin, the salted egg yolk trend is very much here to stay. If you can’t get enough of the decadent, artery-clogging treat, try Cantonese restaurant Yàn’s cookies, which are generously flecked with salted egg yolk and curry leaves. We can already predict that these crumbly and tasty snacks will be a hit with guests visiting your home this festive season.
Price: S$28.80 per jar
Yàn, #05-02, National Gallery Singapore, 1 St Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178957, +65 6384 5585
The humble pineapple tart gets a savoury spin at Old Seng Choong, which has mixed hae bee hiam (dried shrimp chilli paste) into the pineapple jam for a spicy kick. The result is a moreish, piquant snack that’ll have you clamouring for more. Old Seng Choong, which launched its first brick-and-mortar flagship store last month, also offers pineapple tarts incorporated with orange peel and bak kwa.
Price: S$26.80 for a box of 10 pieces
Old Seng Choong, Clarke Quay Central, 6 Eu Tong Seng Street, #01-48, Singapore 059817
As much as we adore our bak kwa and assorted cookies, sometimes we find ourselves craving for something a little more substantial. Which makes Yan Ting’s steamed pumpkin cake the perfect midday snack. Studded with dried shrimp, the silky smooth kueh carries the right balance of sweet and savoury flavours without being cloying. For those who prefer sweeter, dessert-like options, Yan Ting also has a water chestnut and osmanthus version.
Yan Ting, Level 1U, The St Regis Singapore, 29 Tanglin Road, Singapore 247911, +65 6506 6887
In conjunction with the Year of the Dog, Jade at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore has rolled out these adorable pineapple tarts shaped to resemble miniature bulldog terriers with chocolate patch eyes. Inside each buttery cookie is an addictive filling of caramelised jam, made from locally sourced pineapples.
Price: S$30 for a box of nine
Jade, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, 1 Fullerton Square, Singapore 049178, +65 6877 8943
A Lunar New Year staple, nian gao is a sticky-sweet glutinous rice cake that can be eaten steamed or pan-fried. Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant has put it in a tart, ensconced in a golden-brown pastry. Each bite reveals a layer of velvety, fragrant yam paste nestled underneath the nian gao. The restaurant also has an alternative rendition with a cempedak base.
Price: S$28 for eight pieces
Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant, Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, 320 Orchard Road, Singapore 238865, +65 6831 4708