What is Chinese New Year without the goodies? We tasted over 100 pineapple tarts, kueh lapis, prawn rolls, kueh bangkit, love letters, and almond cookies, and shortlisted our favourites. By Ho Pei Ying
Photos: Frenchescar Lim
1. KUEH BANGKIT
$19.90 (320g), from Harrianns, all outlets including #01-01A, 230 Victoria Street, tel: 6238-1200.
These melted in our mouths so fast, we barely had time to savour them. But what lingered was a fragrant coconut flavour. Plus, they were not too sweet.
2. ALMOND COOKIES
$19.90 (460g), from Harrianns.
On the powdery side, these also melted in our mouths and left us with crushed almond bits. The strange part: they tasted more like peanut cookies.
3. PINEAPPLE TARTS
$35 (700g), from Bengawan Solo, all outlets including #B2-59 Plaza Singapura, tel: 6835-8137.
A milky, flaky crust encased the pineapple jam, which had a tart bite. They were petite, too, so it was easy to pop one after another into our mouths!
4. ALMOND COOKIES
$16.90 (40), from Fancy Delight, all outlets including #01-04 Kilat Court, 17 Lorong Kilat, tel: 6469-4606.
These pretty heart shapes were topped with almond slivers and egg-washed for a beautiful golden brown. The almond taste was fragrant and strong, lingering long after the cookie was finished.
5&6. KUE LAPIS LEGIT ORIGINAL AND PLUM
$90 (1.8kg Original) and $95 (1.8kg Plum), from Indochili, 54 Zion Road, tel: 6445-1766 and #B1-03 Tanjong Pagar Centre, tel: 6386-6427.
Both were good. The original with almond flakes had a soft yet chewy bite, and a fresh nutty fragrance. The large prune slices covered a good part of the top of the cake and were spread between the layers. They weren’t too wet, sweet or sour, and complemented the kueh lapis well.
7. NONYA PERANAKAN LOVE LETTERS, TIGHTLY ROLLED
$26 (100), from Baker’s Well, 35 East Coast Road, tel: 6348-6864.
More tightly rolled than the crumbly ones we were used to, these were crisp and fragrant with a pleasant, strong coconut aftertaste. Some of us found them too sweet.
8. COCKTAIL PRAWN ROLLS
$10.30 (280g), from Glory, 139 East Coast Road, tel: 6344-1749.
Crispy, thin skins wrapped around a considerable amount of hae bee hiam, these were deliciously salty with a pronounced umami taste.
9. KUEH BANGKIT
$10.30 (160g), from Glory.
These light, crumbly coconut milk-based cookies made with tapioca flour blanketed our mouths in a delicately sweet, powdery yumminess as they quickly melted.
10. PINEAPPLE TARTS (GOLDEN PILLOW)
$18.90 (650g), from Glory.
They looked ordinary but tasted wonderful. Each had a thick, buttery crust with a pineapple jam filling that was the right balance of sweet and tart.
11. LAPIS PRUNE
$58 (1.5kg), from Deli Maslina, #01-1743, 151 Bedok Reservoir Road, tel: 6743-7414.
There were chopped prunes in between the layers, and thick, juicy orbs on the top of the cake. The prune flavour – slightly more tart than Indochili’s version – helped to cut the moist richness of the buttery cake.
12. ALMOND COOKIES
$8 (100g), from Antoinette, all outlets including 30 Penhas Road, tel: 6293-3121.
More crunchy biscotti with a generous helping of almond slivers than traditional almond cookies, this version made the list for extra tastiness.
13. KUEH LAPIS ORIGINAL
$72 (1.2kg), from Ollela, #01-01 Residences@Somme, 3 Petain Road, tel: 9139-9871.
A strong hint of spices and the slight grittiness almost put us off this kueh lapis. To be sure, we gave it another go and pronounced it full-bodied and addictive. It also had an incredible depth of flavour not present in the others.
14. KUEH LAPIS
$55 (1.2kg), from Bengawan Solo.
While the spice wasn’t very obvious, the rich, buttery fl avour made up for it. We loved how moist this was, as well as how thin and even the layers were.
15. SAMBAL PRAWN ROLL (HAE BEE HIAM)
$19.90 (360g), from Harrianns.
The rich, spicy filling made it easy to overlook how thick the skin was. Despite its chunkiness, the crispness had us wanting seconds.
16. PREMIUM PINEAPPLE TARTS
$19.95 (34 pieces), from Bee Cheng Hiang, all outlets including 1359 Serangoon Road, tel: 6500-0888.
The pineapple jam was slightly more tart than the others. On the plus side: this helped to cut the richness of the crumbly crust.
17. NONYA KUEH BELANDA
$14.50 (400g), from Glory.
A delight to eat, these love letters weren’t too sweet, and had a discernible eggy fragrance. They were so crispy and thin that they crumbled beautifully with every bite.
18. TRADITIONAL PINEAPPLE TART
$15 (180g), from Antoinette.
Instead of the usual crumbly tart crust, these had a fragrant crispy pastry and a sweet fibrous jam with a zing.
This article was first published on www.herworldplus.com.