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Seven Unusual Chinese New Year Snacks To Nibble On

Fanciful flavours are abound this Chinese New Year. We suss out seven scrummy goodies that are worth abandoning diet plans for.
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Pineapple tarts and almond cookies are so passe these days. Amp up the excitement of snacking during Chinese New Year with these snacks that have been tinkled with in the name of breathing new life into tradition. This year, munch on goodies that are inspired by local flavours, spicier morsels and of course, snacks in the shape of dogs.
1. Kueh rempah walnuts

Forget honey-glazed walnuts. The oven-baked nuts are seen in a brand new light by being coated in kueh rempah, a fragrant spice blend that is used in kueh lapis. Let a warm sensation permeate in your mouth with a bouquet of spices such as cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. It is rounded off by a citrus touch from orange zest and a touch of sea salt. Home-grown snack-maker, Provisions, has also launched six Chinese New Year goodies including honey lime pineapple tarts injected with zest from Korean citron tea, and osmanthus and smoked apricot cookies.
Price: $22
Where: Provisions, 492 MacPherson Road, or order online 
Old Seng Choong has rolled out 10 flavours of cookies, mostly inspired by local food. Photo: Old Seng Choong
Old Seng Choong has rolled out 10 flavours of cookies, mostly inspired by local food. Photo: Old Seng Choong

2. Satay and cereal prawn cookies

What happens when hunger pangs call out before dinner? Munch on a cookie. Pastry chef Daniel Tay, and founder of home-grown snack purveyor Old Seng Choong, has encapsulated flavours from popular hawker dishes into cookies. The 1 ½ year-old brand, which opened a nostalgia-laden brick-and-mortar shop in Clarke Quay Central last month, offers 10 varieties of cookies packaged in tins adorned with motifs found in old-school tiles and batik.

The best-selling cookies include the cereal prawn cookies, which is fashioned after the popular zichar dish. The umami-packed cookie, which is studded with crunchy cereals and dried shrimps, teases the palate with a hint of heat from the curry leaves. Nibbling on satay cookies is akin to taking a spoonful of peanut gravy. The cookie is chockfull of chopped peanuts and delivers a spicy punch with cumin and chilli.

Other cookie flavours include laksa, putu mayam (string hoppers) and smoky chicken bakwa. New pineapple tart flavours include the Spicy Nonya Pineapple Tart ($26.80 for 10 pieces) which is what one would taste when stuffing one's mouth pineapple tart with shrimp rolls for a spicy-sweet melange.
Price: $18.80 (satay cookies) and $19.80 (cereal prawn cookies)
Where: Old Seng Choong, 01-48 Clarke Quay Central, 6 Eu Tong Sen Street 

RELATED: Six Unusual Bak Kwa For Chinese New Year

3. Earl Grey Lemongrass Pineapple Tarts

Fancy a pineapple tart with a spot of tea? This pineapple tart might just be your cup of tea. Each golden parcel is loaded with a caramelised lemongrass-infused pineapple jam and encased in a shortcrust pastry shell that is scented with Earl Grey tea leaves. The launch of this lemongrass-scented tart is in conjunction with SPRMRKT Vietnam, a three month-long cultural showcase that shines the spotlight on food, art and design from the land of pho and spring rolls.
Price: $38.80
Where: SPRMRKT, 2 Mccallum Street & 41 Robertson Quay
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4. Nasi Ulam Florentine

Nasi ulam, a Malay mixed herb salad, is a common fixture during Chinese New Year in Peranakan families. The aromatic dish can be tedious to prepare as it calls for a long list of ingredients and for the rice to be cooled before being tossed with herbs. Save the hassle by popping a Nasi Ulam Florentine into your month. One of the four new Chinese New Year cookies rolled out by local bakery chain, Cedele, the wafer-thin crispy rice biscuit is perfumed with ingredients such as ginger flower, lemongrass and laksa leaves.
Price: $21.50
Where: All Cedele outlets till March 2, order online 
5. Longevity & Huat! Huat! Gift Set

Ring in the Year of the Dog with these intricately-crafted ‘pooches’ complete with wagging tongues and floppy ears (pictured in banner). Peony Jade's pastry and dim sum chef, Wong Kok Shyong, has crafted dainty edible figurine made with Valrhona dark chocolate and mandarin orange peel. Order these adorable lovelies three days in advance. Only 88 sets are available.
Price: $118.88
Where: Peony Jade, Level M Keppel Club, Bukit Chermin Road; and 02-02 Block 3A Clarke Quay, call 6276-9138/6375-5562 (Keppel Club) or 6338-0305 (Clarke Quay). Also available at Takashimaya Square B2 booth. 

RELATED: Tossing For Good Health: How To Eat Takeaway Yusheng Safely?
6. Salted Egg Yolk Yam Chips with Sichuan Spice

Following up on last year’s festive hit, spicy salted egg yolk lotus root chips, Goodwood Park Hotel has concocted another unique salted egg yolk snack. Orange-red discs of yam chips are coated in mala (Sichuan spices) and salted egg yolk powder. However, it is not as tongue-numbing as its appearance suggests. The spicy punch sets in only after a few seconds before enrobing one’s mouth with a moreish warm sensation. Very addictive.
Price: $36.80
Where: The Deli, Goodwood Park Hotel, 22 Scotts Road

7. Tom Yum & Togarashi Seaweed Cookies 

Home-grown bakery chain The Pine Garden has rolled out four new Asian-inspired festive cookies to snack on. My favourites include the Tom Yum Cookies ($18.90). Each clover leaf-shaped butter cookie is studded with a dried sakura prawn that gives the morsel a strong umami punch. Contributing to the warmth that permeates in the mouth are is the tom yum paste. The spice level dies out after a while so that you can pop in another addictive piece. If you prefer something more salty than sweet, munch on the Togarashi Seaweed Cookies ($18.90) that is sprinkled with Togarashi Pepper (Japanese chilli powder seasoning) that coats the tongue gently with some heat, then the saltiness kick from a dash of shoyu and strips of seaweed. Other nibbles are the trendy salted egg cereal cookies and the nostalgia-dripping butter cookie swirls. 

The Pine Garden, four outlets include B2-01 Northpoint City and B1-39 Compass One. For more info, go to www.pgcake.com


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