Chinese New Year 2021: The Best Festive Snacks to Try in Singapore
This story was updated on February 5, 2021.
Snacking is a must during Chinese New Year, which is why the festivities won’t be complete without the traditional goodies. Whether you buy them as gifts for loved ones or for yourself (to munch on), the chefs have stepped up their game to offer new creations and perennial favourites with a modern twist.
1/10 Golden Kumquat Tart
Four Seasons Hotel Singapore's executive pastry chef Audrey Yee fondly recalls visiting her grandparents in Hong Kong during Chinese New Year while growing up and feasting on fresh kumquats (symbolising good luck), which could be found everywhere when in season. This inspired Yee to create the Golden Kumquat Tart for the celebrations this year. She meticulously selects the best fruits before they are hand-sliced and candied with a squeeze of lemon juice. They are then glazed and arranged atop a crisp house-made tart filled with vanilla cream and almond frangipane. The tart is finished with a touch of gold leaves for a decadent finale. Shop here.
2/10 Golden Turmeric Peanut Bar
To create a contemporary Chinese New Year dessert that retains the traditional meaning of the occasion, Kent Ng, the executive pastry chef of Mandarin Oriental, Singapore, crafted the Golden Turmeric Peanut Bar. While it looks like a Western-style cake, it is actually fashioned after a gold bar to represent an abundance of wealth. The base is a banana turmeric sponge that is embedded with layers of luscious peanut and dulcey chocolate ganache. With that, the sweet and nutty flavours are enhanced by the warm, spicy notes of turmeric. Almonds are sprinkled on the bar for an extra crunch. Shop here
3/10 Golden Tart
What is Chinese New Year without the quintessential pineapple tarts? Mad About Sucre co-founder chef Lena Chan has elevated her childhood favourite with the use of premium ingredients. “We use pineapples flown in from Sarawak and the Caribbean Islands for their natural sweetness,” dhe explains, adding that the fruits have to be fully ripened before they are painstakingly made into a pineapple purée. The concoction is rested for 10 days to enrich the flavours, then scooped atop a buttery cookie tart base and garnished with edible gold flakes. “The tarts are individually wrapped to retain freshness so you can take one cookie and pop the whole thing in your mouth.” Shop here.
4/10 Crispy Kangkong with Cheese and Sour Cream
Chinese New Year is all about feasting with loved ones, and the culinary team of Goodwood Park Hotel wanted to celebrate the festivities with “a unique snack that is addictive and light on the palate”. This led to the creation of the crispy kang kong with cheese and sour cream snack in 2020, which is back this year due to popular demand. Kang kong leaves are coated with an in-house batter—a mix of glutinous rice flour, bread flour, self-raising flour, baking powder, water and vegetable oil—and deep-fried till crispy. While they are already good on their own, the chef makes each bite more indulgent with a generous sprinkle of cheese and sour cream powder. Shop here.
5/10 Bakkwa Croissant
Trust Origin + Bloom’s executive pastry chef Antonio Benites to create something modern and delicious for Chinese New Year. And he did not disappoint with new and imaginative creations this festive period such as the bak kwa croissant. Benites explained that they use their “signature croissant dough”, a secret recipe that has been perfected over the years. But he adds fragrant black sesame into the mixture and leaves it overnight to fully imbue the beautiful aromas and flavours. The touch of CNY comes in the form of sliced spicy pork bak kwa encased within the dough before it’s baked to golden brown perfection. Shop here.
6/10 Almond Sugee Cakes
“Almond sugee cookies are enjoyed during many festive celebrations,” explains executive pastry chef Kenny Kong of Resorts World Sentosa. And since CNY this year falls on Valentine’s Day, he has shaped the cookies into hearts to represent wishes of love and good health. These are also baked with premium ingredients such as grass-fed butter, almond, semolina, gula melaka, raw brown sugar, mandarin orange zest and pumpkin seeds. “We chose grass-fed butter which has a full-bodied naturally rich flavour and smooth taste, and added mandarin orange zest for a festive, refreshing taste.”
7/10 Hallabong and Mandarin Ice Cream
Just for the CNY period, Les Amis' chef Sebastien Lepinoy and his team have created the home-made Hallabong & Mandarin ice cream. For this exclusive offering, they use the prized Hallabong Mandarin oranges from the Jeju island, South Korea, which are only in season in November and December. The fruit is also known for its natural sweetness, which makes this ice cream worth the indulgence. Only 500 boxes are available during CNY. Shop here.
8/10 Pecan Coconut Tart
Seriously Keto's delectable pecan coconut tart is made for indulgences, especially since it’s keto-friendly, gluten-free and low carb with zero added sugar. But you won’t be able to taste the difference once you bite into the crumbly crust that holds the luscious pecan-coconut filling. It’s even adorned with gold leaves for that extra festive touch. Shop here.
9/10 US Applewood Charcoal Grilled Spanish Iberico Pork Bak Kwa
This version uses the premium Spanish Iberico pork for its superb marbling and tender texture. To prepare this CNY favourite, the chefs smoke each slice of meat for two hours using US applewood charcoal. And this laborious process ensures the bak kwa is delectably tender and has a caramelised finish with just the right smokiness. Shop here.
10/10 8 Treasures Castella Cake
Perfect as a post-meal reunion dinner snack, this light and airy cake is studded with chrysanthemum, red dates, goji berries, and longan infused with Cointreau. And if that's not enough, it's finished with the restaurant's special ginseng rose and crowned with more of the 8 Treasures. Shop here.