Many of this year’s Chinese New Year snacks have a local twist.
Besides planning for bountiful reunion feasts, it is just as important to stock up goodies for your snack platter for when guests visit.
Many Chinese New Year fairs in shopping malls are already rolling out the snacks and sweet treats, while hotels and restaurants are also busy taking orders.
Many of this year’s new snacks have a local twist. They include nasi ulam florentines from the Cedele restaurant chain and salted egg yolk kue lapis by Ollella bakery.
Others are upping the spice factor, such as Sichuan-flavoured broad beans from Careshop de Cafe and sambal bak kwa cookies from Peony Jade restaurant.
Housewife Grace Lim, 54, who bought the Sichuan-flavoured broad beans, says: “My family loves to eat spicy goodies. I’m also stocking up on pineapple tarts, love letters and the must-have prawn rolls. I usually hit the Chinese New Year fairs as I get to sample everything.”
For the more health-conscious, there are low-sugar and gluten-free items as well. And since it will be the Year of the Dog, expect plenty of canine-shaped items, from pineapple tarts to mochi.
Here are 18 interesting snacks, cookies and desserts to chow down on.
ROSE PINEAPPLE TARTS
What: Chinese New Year gets a dose of millennial pink with Kele’s new rose-flavoured pineapple tarts ($28.80). Other interesting pineapple tart flavours include pandan and cocoa, priced at $26.80 a tub.
Where: Kele, 2 Smith Street, open: 10am to 8pm (Sundays to Thursdays), 10am to 9pm (Fridays and Saturdays). 10am to 5pm on Feb 15, 17 and 18. Closed on Feb 16. Chinese New Year booths at Takashimaya Square, Nex and Suntec City
SAMBAL CHICKEN FLOSS COOKIES
What: The Baker Haus, which specialises in cookies, has a new sambal chicken floss cookie ($30) that is mildly spicy.
Where: The Baker Haus’ Chinese New Year booths at Takashimaya Square, VivoCity, Bugis Junction and Tampines Mall.
OATMEAL NONYA SPICY DRIED SHRIMP COOKIE
What: These addictive cookies, or “oatkies” ($18), are flourless and made with oatmeal instead, which makes them extra crunchy. They are best eaten within five days and warmed up in the oven. Two more festive flavours are tangerine dark chocolate and salted egg.
Where: Coco & Frank, 12 Haji Lane, 11.30am to 7.30pm daily; Chinese New Year booths at Takashimaya Square and VivoCity
Info: Call 6341-7041 or go to www.facebook.com/Cocoandfrank
SATAY AND BAK KUT TEH COOKIES
What: Pastry chef Daniel Tay’s three-week-old Old Seng Choong store offers a range of cookies in local flavours, such as satay cookies ($18.80) and bak kut teh cookies ($19.80) which are infused with white pepper, herbs and spices. There are also cereal prawn cookies ($19.80) and putu mayam cookies ($18.80).
Where: Old Seng Choong, 01-48 Clarke Quay Central, 6 Eu Tong Seng Street, 11am to 10pm daily; and Chinese New Year booth at Takashimaya Square
ONDEH ONDEH COOKIES
What: While you may not get a burst of liquid gula melaka in your mouth, these ondeh ondeh cookies ($17 for 42 pieces) are still tasty treats. The pandan-flavoured pastry is soft and crumbly, and topped with sweet gula melaka paste and coconut shavings.
Where: Sweet Fillings by Aidynafi Nasir, Chinese New Year booth at Square 2 until today, or place orders by Wednesday
Info: Call 8150-0571
SAMBAL BAK KWA COOKIES
What: Peony Jade’s sambal bak kwa cookies ($38.88) pack quite a punch with tasty bak kwa bits.
Where: Peony Jade’s Chinese New Year booth at Takashimaya Square
LEMONGRASS EARL GREY PINEAPPLE TARTS
What: SPRMRKT’s signature pineapple tarts ($38.80) get a new flavour with pineapple jam that bears hints of lemongrass and their buttery shortcrust pastry is blended with Earl Grey tea leaves.
Where: SPRMRKT, 2 McCallum Street, 8am to 9.30pm (weekdays), 9am to 5pm (weekend); and SPRMRKT Daily, 41 Robertson Quay, 8am to 11pm (Mondays to Wednesdays, and Sundays), 8am to midnight (Fridays and Saturdays); pre-order until Feb 15, 3pm. Order at least two days in advance
NASI ULAM FLORENTINE
What: This crispy rice biscuit ($21.50) is a play on nasi ulam, a Peranakan herb rice salad. These fragrant flat discs are laced with herbs, chilli and sesame seeds and are gluten-and dairy-free. Other festive flavours include green tea, almond ikan bilis and gula melaka coconut.
Where: Cedele, outlets include Novena Square, Wheelock Place, and Parkway Parade. Until March 2 or while stocks last
SALTED EGG YOLK YAM CHIPS WITH SICHUAN SPICE
What: Goodwood Park Hotel’s salted egg yolk lotus root chips ($36.80) last year was one of the best-selling Chinese New Year snacks. It returns this year, along with salted egg yolk yam chips with Sichuan spice ($36.80).
Where: Goodwood Park Hotel, The Deli, 22 Scotts Road. Until March 2, order five days in advance by Feb 26, noon
Info: Call 6730-1786 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
GADO GADO CHIPS
What: While these chips ($12) are not quite like gado gado – the popular Indonesian salad with potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, fried tofu and a peanut dressing – the mix of chilli and lime flavours will make you reach for more.
Where: Rasa Sayang’s Chinese New Year booths include Takashimaya Square, Raffles Xchange, Novena Square and Tampines Mall. Order by Feb 2
SALTED EGG SKIN YUBA
What: Bake Inc’s salted egg skin yuba ($19.80) is an interesting take on the salted egg yolk trend. Plus, it is extra crispy.
Where: Bake Inc outlets include Block 449 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10, 01-1713; Block 275 Compassvale Link, 01-01; and Block 317 Yishun Avenue 9, 01-02. Chinese New Year booth at Takashimaya Square
SICHUAN CHILLI BROAD BEANS
What: If you like Sichuan mala flavours, this will be your go-to snack. These crunchy broad beans ($8) pack in the aroma and heat of the Sichuan peppers. Other broad bean flavours include sriracha and wasabi.
Where: Careshop de Cafe Holdings, 33 Hamilton Road, 11am to 10pm (Mondays to Saturdays), closed on Sundays and public holidays; Chinese New Year booth at VivoCity
Info: Call 6293-9298
SALTED EGG YOLK GOLDEN CRACKERS
What: Food manufacturer Kwong Cheong Thye, better known for its variety of sauces, has come up with salted egg yolk golden crackers ($6.60) – perfect for jazzing up your yusheng this year. Limited quantities available. The stall also sells yusheng sets.
Where: Kwong Cheong Thye’s Chinese New Year booth at Takashimaya Square
ORH NEE CAKE AND MACARON
What: Antoinette’s chef Pang Kok Keong has a modern interpretation of the traditional orh nee dessert for Chinese New Year.
The orh nee cake ($10 for a slice, $45 for 15cm whole cake for four to eight people) has layers of yam mousse with yam cake, gula melaka and pumpkin cremeux with fried shallots. It is topped with almond crumble and candied gingko nuts.
The other option is the orh nee macaron ($3 each, $19 for a gift box of six pieces). The macaron shell is topped with bits of coconut and filled with candied pumpkin, fried shallots and coconut yam cream.
Where: Antoinette outlets at 30 Penhas Road; and 02-33/34 Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Road. Until Feb 28
Info: Call 6293-3121 (Penhas Road) or 6836-9527 (Mandarin Gallery), or go to antoinette.com.sg
GOLDEN JOY PASTRY
What: Teochew confectionery Thye Moh Chan’s flaky pastry offerings include The Golden Joy ($3 a piece, $22.80 for eight pieces), which are filled with red bean, mochi, spicy pork floss and salted egg yolk. The other new item is Golden Bangle ($18.80 for eight pieces), where the pastry is filled with mung bean paste and diced bak kwa.
Where: Thye Moh Chan outlets at B1-11/12 Paragon, 290 Orchard Road, and 01-45/46 Chinatown Point, 133 New Bridge Road. Until March 2, 10am to 10pm daily
MANDARIN PISTACHIO TART
What: New offerings at Tarte by Cheryl Koh include mandarin pistachio tart, with pistachio frangipane, pistachio chiboust cream, chopped pistachios and candied orange, as well as fresh mandarin orange segments, curd and mousse.
Other highlights include the raspberry lychee tart and coconut pandan tart. All tarts cost $22 for a 12cm tart and $38 for a 16cm tart.
Where: Tarte by Cheryl Koh, 02-12 Shaw Centre, 1 Scotts Road. From Feb 1, order two days in advance.
SALTED EGG YOLK KUE LAPIS
What: Kueh lapis gets a savoury twist at Ollella, with its Salted Egg Yolk Kue Lapis ($24 for 350g, $50 for 700g, and $90 for 1.4kg). It has bits of salted egg yolk between the buttery layers. Prune, Nutella and original flavours are also available.
The brand – better known for its choux pastry – also has a Prosperity Choux Tower containing 30 pieces of choux pastry with pineapple compote and fresh Chantilly cream.
Where: Ollella, Takashimaya Food Hall, B208-4 (until Feb 22), and Chinese New Year booth at Takashimaya Square.
Info: Order online at ollella.oddle.me
BAK KWA MADELEINES
What: Diced bak kwa is added to these buttery French cakes. Each tub costs $25.
Where: One Farrer Hotel & Spa, 1 Farrer Park Station Road. Order by Feb 27, three days in advance
Info: Call 6705-7825 or order online at orders.onefarrer.com
CHINESE NEW YEAR FAIR LOCATIONS
• Nex, Level 1 main atrium
• Novena Square, Level 1 atrium (from Jan 29)
• Raffles Xchange, Basement 1 atrium
• Suntec City, Level 1 east atrium
• Takashimaya Square, Basement 2
• Tampines Mall, Level 1 main atrium (from Jan 31)
• VivoCity, Level 1 main atrium
• All fairs run till Feb 14.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 28, 2018, with the headline ‘Bountiful CNY snacks’.