And so the countdown begins. Chinese New Year has always been a time for reuniting with family and friends, but it also heralds a week of countless pineapple tarts, sugary cocktails, and steamboat feasts — a far cry from your usual salad and grain bowl routine.
But what if we told you that it’s possible to indulge without having to do the walk of shame to your gym the week after? With a bigger focus on fitness and wellness than ever before, some bakers and grocers are doing all they can to ensure that you don’t have to feel bad about enjoying your childhood favourites.
Here’s where to shop for healthier Chinese New Year snacks this year.
Followers of the ketogenic diet would know by now that keto-friendly iterations of their favourite bakes often taste and look nothing like the real deal. Thankfully, Seriously Keto has managed to hack the complex world of almond flour and sweeteners with their Chinese New Year specials. Comprising of three popular snacks — the Cashew Cookie, Cheese Crisps, and Kueh Buloh — the festive treats are just as binge-worthy sans the guilt, especially for those with special dietary needs such as gluten intolerances and diabetics.
The Kueh Buloh is an easy favourite; the childhood snack is light and airy despite not using regular flour, and has the same eggy aroma that it’s well-loved for.
One of the most ubiquitous Chinese New Year snacks, the pineapple tart, has also gotten a vegan and paleo makeover thanks to Bakening, a local establishment that’s dedicated to healthy bakes.
These little homemade packages of joy are not only flourless and sugar-free, they’re also made without butter and eggs, resulting in a tart cookie that has a unique, crumbly shortbread texture instead. The jam within is also made from scratch with fresh pineapples, making them the perfect option if these fragrant pastries are your kryptonite during the festivities.
Besides its wondrous array of organic meats and gluten-free products, Ryan’s Grocer is also on its way to proving that bak kwa can too, be a healthy treat during Chinese New Year. Slices of the sweet and savoury favourite here are made from Australia’s Borrowdale Carbon Neutral Free Range Pork, and do not contain preservative, additives, and food colouring.
To sweeten the deal, the bak kwa is also produced with 60 percent less sugar and salt, so you can look forward to more guiltless indulgence. The spicy version is also an addictive option for those looking for a little kick.
One of Singapore’s most well-loved gluten-free kitchen has also jumped in on the Chinese New Year bandwagon. Not content with offering an organic and refined sugar-free iteration of yu sheng, Tiann’s has also rolled out other gluten-free and low-carb treats such as French Butter Biscuits, and Almond Crispies.
The Pandan Kaya Roll is another popular hit; the chef elevates her favourite childhood cake with organic pandan leaves and French butter, before sandwiching the roll with her signature Almond Crispies for a textural twist. The pineapple tarts here are also encrusted with a pastry made from organic brown rice, making them lighter versions of their traditionally-made counterparts.
Delcie’s is another bakery which has managed to hack the complicated world of eggless, dairy- and gluten-free, and diabetes-friendly organic cakes and cookies. This Chinese New Year, the establishment continues to extend its passion for transforming traditional bakes with a healthy spin, so expect a mix of festive staples such as pineapple tarts, white almond cookies, and love letters to choose from.