Chinese New Year snacks worth the calories

If you have not stocked up on Chinese New Year goodies, tarry no more.

The shopping mall festive bazaars will run for just a week more. Bakeries and snack shops are running low on stock for popular picks with many having already closed pre-orders.

The Sunday Times rounds up a smorgasbord of treats that are still available (the last we checked). From trending flavours of mala and truffle to Instagram-worthy desserts that make the perfect centrepiece, we bring you the best of the best, and present our food critics' top picks.


Tea-infused goodies

Food Critics’ Pick: BAKERZIN


 Bakerzin's new matcha cookies, part of its cookie collection (from $8.80 a bottle) which includes coffee, black sesame and coconut chia seed flavours. PHOTOS: BAKERZIN SPRMRKT

Whether it is in cookies or kueh lapis, different types of tea are being infused into Chinese New Year treats.

Earl Grey tea, in particular, is a popular choice.

The Lapis Place offers an Earl Grey kueh lapis (from $24, VivoCity's Chinese New Year fair).

Sprmrkt's Lemongrass Earl Grey Pineapple Tarts (from $38.80+ at STPI and Cluny Court outlets) make a return after a successful debut last year.

Local tea brand Teaspoon of Love (www.tspoflove.com), which specialises in tea-related products, has an Earl Grey Pineapple Tart, along with a new Osmanthus Longjing Pineapple Tart (from $28 each) - a spin on the classic Austrian Linzer cookie with a pineapple-osmanthus jam centre. Longjing green tea is a pan-roasted green tea produced in Hangzhou, China.

For a more familiar tea flavour, try Bakerzin's new matcha cookies, part of its cookie collection (from $8.80 a bottle) which includes coffee, black sesame and coconut chia seed flavours.


Pineapple tarts with a twist

Food Critics’ Pick: TIONG BAHRU BAKERY’S LUCKY PINEAPPLE TART


Tiong Bahru Bakery's Lucky Pineapple Tart ($8.80). PHOTOS: TIONG BAHRU BAKERY

The quintessential pineapple tart - open-faced or closed - is pretty much sold everywhere.

Everyone has his favourite. The most popular brands include the bite-sized ones from Yang Yang (yangyang.com.sg); golf ball-sized tarts from Le Cafe Confectionery & Pastry (www.lecafe.com.sg); as well as those from Kele (available at various Chinese New Year fairs, www.kele.sg).

The hotels also churn out premium versions, such as Goodwood Park Hotel's over-sized 6.5-inch Huat! Tart ($48, call 6730-1786 or e-mail deli@goodwoodparkhotel.com).

Kele's sweet potato pineapple tarts - with a purple buttery crust - were already sold out islandwide since last weekend. Limited stock of its other flavours (from $27.80), such as rose and traditional pineapple tarts, along with the closed pineapple balls, are still available.

For pig-shaped ones, opt for Paradise Group's piggy tarts ($29.80 for 18 pieces, at various Paradise Group outlets).

If you prefer something more tangy, order the lime pineapple tarts ($21.80) from Provisions (available at Takashimaya Chinese New Year fair, or at provisionsfood.oddle.me), which have just the right amount of sour to balance the sweet.

Limited stock available, along with its other snacks such as Masala Lavosh Crackers ($13.80) and Curry Cashews ($8 or $18).

For a refreshing spin on the traditional pineapple tart, try Tiong Bahru Bakery's Lucky Pineapple Tart ($8.80).

The tart crust is filled with pineapples poached with passionfruit puree, ginger confit, coconut lime and almond cream. It is topped with more pineapple chunks, a sphere of pineapple-mango confit, red currants and the obligatory gold leaf.

The best part? It doubles as dessert too.


Local flavours

Food Critics’ Pick: PAPAPENG


New snack on the block is Papapeng, which has launched its first Chip & Dip snack box. PHOTOS: PAPAPENG

From nasi lemak to chicken rice and hae bee hiam (spicy dried shrimp sambal), snacks that boast local flavours are always the most addictive crowd-pleasers.

The nasi lemak cookies ($20.90, available at Takashimaya Chinese New Year fair or in stores) from HarriAnns is a crunchy cookie made with sambal, coconut milk, and ikan bilis, while the Chicken Bak Hu Kue Lapis (from $34 at Takashimaya Chinese New Year fair or at ollella.oddle.me) has layers of chicken floss between the sweet and soft sponge lapis layers - a combination of sweet and savoury.

Peanut snack company The Nutkins (thenutkins.com) has launched two new flavours - Black Pepper Crab and Baked Prawn ($5 each).

The company is by The Kettle Gourmet (www.thekettlegourmet.com) - known for its gourmet popcorn - and the chicken rice-flavoured popcorn (from $10 for three packets) is an intriguingly tasty option.

New snack on the block is Papapeng ($8, available at VivoCity Chinese New Year fair, or at www.papapeng.sg), which has launched its first Chip & Dip snack box.

It comes with lightly salted potato chips and a spicy hae bee hiam dip.

And if you must have a salted egg yolk snack, check out snack company Star Chew's Salted Egg Brainless Shrimp Cheek  ($9).

It is called "brainless" because the roe is apparently removed.


Dessert centrepiece

Food Critics’ Pick: GOODWOOD PARK HOTEL’S DRUM OF FORTUNE


Goodwood Park Hotel: The Drum of Fortune PHOTOS: GOODWOOD PARK HOTEL

No festive dessert table is complete without an Instagram-worthy centrepiece.

Goodwood Park Hotel offers a showstopper that is almost too pretty to eat.

The Drum of Fortune ($108 nett, call 6730-1786 or e-mail deli@goodwoodparkhotel.com) is a chocolate marble cake coated in red and gold fondant, and topped with eight Mandarin oranges made with dark chocolate and mini chocolate ingots.

One Farrer Hotel's Orange Chocolate Chiffon Mousse Cake ($38, call 6705-7825 or order at www.orders.onefarrer.com) has Mandarin orange chiffon layered with mousse and coated in an orange glaze.

It is decorated with koi chocolates, chocolate oranges and edible gold leaves.

To make the kids squeal with joy, SweetSpot at Marina Bay Sands has made a Piggy Bank ($78, call 6688-8588 or e-mail SweetSpot@MarinaBaySands.com) with Valrhona chocolate.

It sits on a treasure chest filled with dark, white and milk truffles.

The pig can be cracked open to unveil more chocolate ingots and coins.

Meanwhile, ice cream parlour Cold Stone Creamery also has a party pleaser for kids.

It has limited-edition Despicable Me ice cream cakes that feature the 12 zodiac animals ($65 or $90 in store or at www.coldstonecreamery.com.sg).


Mala and truffle

Food Critics’ Pick: OOH MALA CRAB STICK


Ooh has launched limited-edition crab stick ($18) and peanuts ($10, 06-K5 Plaza Singapura). PHOTOS: OOH

The top two trending flavours of the season - mala and truffle - are a must.

Spice up the New Year with mala chips ($15) from Antoinette patisserie at Penhas Road and Mandarin Gallery, flavoured with a mix of seven peppers including Sichuan lantern peppers and Sichuan bullet head peppers. Another alternative is The Pine Garden bakery's mala peanut ikan bilis cookies ($18.90, www.pgcake.com).

But if you want something that packs a punch, snack brand Ooh is it.

Besides its scrumptious mala potato and cassava chips, it has launched limited-edition crab stick ($18) and peanuts ($10, 06-K5 Plaza Singapura, or order at www.ooh.sg).

A good deal is its Chinese New Year set of crab stick, peanuts and two packets of chips for $38.

Can't take the heat? Two local brands offer truffle-flavoured treats. 25grams Bakery has rolled out truffle white chocolate macadamia cookies ($27, available at Takashimaya and VivoCity Chinese New Year fairs) - an interesting blend of flavours.

Another truffle and nut pairing is Careshop de Cafe's truffle pistachio cookies ($21.90, available at Takashimaya, VivoCity and Bugis Junction Chinese New Year fairs).

Do not miss the new macadamia Fortune sticks ($19.90) - coffee or yuzu - which are fancy versions of the Pocky stick snack.


Good for gifts

Food Critics’ Pick: HOCK WONG


Hock Wong's gift boxes (from $148 for a set of five boxes, available at various Chinese New Year fairs) are shaped like the auspicious gods of blessing, fortune, longevity, happiness and wealth. PHOTOS: HOCK WONG

If you are looking for a corporate gift hamper, try Malaysian bak kwa brand Hock Wong, which makes its debut in Singapore for Chinese New Year.

Its gift boxes (from $148 for a set of five boxes, available at various Chinese New Year fairs or at hockwong.com.sg) are shaped like the auspicious gods of blessing, fortune, longevity, happiness and wealth.

Each piece of bak kwa (minced meat or bacon) is individually vacuum-sealed so that the meat remains tender and moist.

The limited-edition bacon bak kwa, in particular, is a sinful treat.

If bulk is your thing, go for Mdm Ling Bakery's limited-edition Chinese Zodiac Auspicious Cookies Collection ($128 a set, call 8787-4142, go to www.mdmlingbakery.com).

There are 12 bottles of Chinese New Year goodies, each with a different snack, such as pineapple balls, kueh bangkit, and arrowhead crisps, and labelled with a different zodiac animal and a brief prediction of the year ahead.

And for your favourite foodie relative, grab a Sinpopo Brand hamper (from $138 at Sinpopo Grocer at Paragon; Sinpopo Brand Restaurant at 458 Joo Chiat Road).

It features its well-loved kueh lapis and gula melaka honeycomb cake, along with a selection of kaya and cookies.

  • Chinese New Year fair locations

    • Jurong Point, Level 1 atrium

    • Marina Square, Level 1 atrium

    • Nex, Level 1 main atrium

    • Northpoint City, Level 1 atrium

    • Raffles Xchange, Basement 1 atrium

    • Suntec City, Level 1 east atrium

    • Takashimaya Square, Basement 2

    • Tampines Mall, Level 1 main atrium

    • VivoCity, Level 1 main atrium

    All fairs run till Feb 3.

• Follow Eunice Quek on Twitter @STEuniceQ

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 27, 2019, with the headline 'Snacks worth the Calories'. Print Edition | Subscribe