The Dragon Boat Festival, a traditional Chinese holiday, takes place on the fifth day of the fifth month according to the Chinese calendar, typically falling in late May or June as per the Gregorian calendar.
In Singapore, dragon boat races are organised to commemorate this traditional festival across Marina Reservoir or Bedok Reservoir (which will take place on 24 & 25 Jun 2023).
A significant part of celebrating this special period is the coming together of family members and friends to make and eat zongzi (rice dumplings). Glutinous rice is used to encapsulate various sweet or savoury fillings, which is then wrapped with bamboo leaves to enhance its aromatics.
Read on as I’ve compiled a food guide which tells you where to hunt for the 10 best rice dumplings to celebrate Dragon Boat Festival 2023 in Singapore.
1. Paradise Group
And in the blink of an eye, the annual Dragon Boat Festival is approaching once again! This year, discover new, exciting and delicious rice dumpling flavours from Paradise Group.
Hand-wrapped with love by a team of exceptional chefs, their range of Hong Kong-style rice dumplings bursts with generous top-end ingredients, possessing great texture and guaranteed to wow your taste buds.
The Gula Melaka Red Bean Paste Rice Dumpling (S$6.80) contains the ideal hint of sweetness with caramelised and smoky notes of gula melaka. It’s filled with a silky smooth house-made red bean paste that is not overly sweet, stuffed inside the glutinous rice.
The Braised Pork Belly with Japanese Mushroom and Conpoy Rice Dumpling (S$12.80) features richly flavoured braised pork belly, and encompasses the perfect blend of ingredients to create a well-balanced flavour, which will surely invoke nostalgic memories.
For a subtle spice kick, savour the crowd favourite Roasted Pork with Dried Shrimp and Conpoy Spicy Rice Dumpling. The rich umami-ness of the dried shrimp and conpoy complements the melt-in-the-mouth pork belly so well.
Do note that this flavour is only available as part of the Rice Dumpling Gift Set (S$68.80). But unfortunately, the gift set is already sold out.
However, their range of à la carte dumpling selections such as Premium Abalone Rice Dumpling (S$23.80), Salted Pork Belly Brown Rice Dumpling (S$11.80), Pork with Conpoy and Chestnut Rice Dumpling (S$12.80) and Black Truffle Charred BBQ Iberico Pork Rice Dumpling (S$13.80) are still available— best to grab them before they’re all sold out too!
Enjoy 10% off for Citi, Maybank Credit or Debit Card Members and PGR members with purchase of Rice Dumpling Gift Set.
Available for pre-order for takeaway till 22 June 2023 (while stocks last) at Taste Paradise, Paradise Teochew, Seafood Paradise, Paradise Dynasty, Canton Paradise, Paradise Classic and Paradise Hotpot restaurants.
2. Jia He Chinese Restaurant
Jia He Chinese Restaurant, located on the first storey of One Farrer Hotel Connexion specialises in time-honoured Chinese delicacies. So, you can rest assured that the quality and taste of their rice dumplings is the same.
For this year’s rice dumpling festival, the culinary team have created a new flavour: Hokkien Spicy Pork and Dried Shrimp Dumpling (S$9.72). Your taste buds are in for a ride with fragrant heh bi that’s bursting with umami-ness coupled with a fiery punch at the end from the scrumptious spicy pork.
Impress your family and relatives with popular crowd-favourites such as Traditional Roast Meat Dumpling (S$22.46), Premium X.O Braised Pork Dumpling with Chestnut (S$9.94), Blue Butterfly Pea Nonya Dumpling (S$9.50) and Hokkien Salted Egg Yolk Dumpling (S$9.72).
Looking for sweet dumplings which will be popular with the little ones? Try the Alkaline Rice Dumpling with Red Bean Paste (S$5.94).
Early bird promotion with 10% discount is available from 22 May to 4 Jun 2023 (except for Jia He Dumplings Combo Set). Pre-order is required.
For self-collection and delivery, click here.
3. Kim Choo Kueh Chang
With 2 iconic locations at Katong and Joo Chiat, Kim Choo Kueh Chang has managed to preserve the Peranakan heritage since 1945 and will continue to do so for the future.
Besides its array of Nyonya kueh and goodies, I’ve been eating their Nyonya bak zhang ever since I was a child. Though my grandma is wheelchair-bound now, I can still remember the times she and my late grandfather would travel down to Kim Choo Kueh Chang at Katong by bus just to buy their Nyonya rice dumplings.
The sweet-scented winter melon and piquant pork meat complement each other so well and its deliciousness still lingers in my mind.
From 1 to 30 Jun 2023, the prices for their bak zhang have been adjusted for the upcoming Dragon Boat festival. The Nyonya Chang comes in pork, chicken and vegetable variations (S$5.50 each).
If you love the savouriness of the Traditional Salty Chang (S$5.50), take it up a notch with their other fillings like Salty Egg (S$6.50), Chilli Prawn (S$6.50) and X.O. (S$8.50).
60 Joo Chiat Place, Singapore 427784
+65 6344 0830
Daily: 9am – 9pm
4. Man Fu Yuan
Do you follow tradition and stick to what’s nostalgic and familiar to you? Or would you rather break rules and embrace innovation instead? Whichever side you choose, celebrate the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival with Man Fu Yuan at InterContinental Singapore to get the best of both worlds.
Be spoilt for choice over their 7 artisanal rice dumpling selections specially made by the chefs of the award-winning Cantonese restaurant. Taking the spotlight this year is the all-new limited-edition Man Fu Yuan Classic Cantonese XL Rice Dumpling with Red Quinoa (S$88).
This show-stopping 1kg rice dumpling is stuffed with an abundance of luxurious ingredients such as 2 5-head South African abalones, five-spiced pork belly, giant dried shrimps imported from Hong Kong, dace fish, roasted duck and red quinoa (only 88 are available for purchase).
For those who love a tinge of sweetness, the new Japanese Sweet Potato with Sesame Rice Dumpling (S$19.80) and Australian Sweet Pumpkin with Quinoa Rice Dumpling ($19.80) is a breath of fresh air from the conventional savoury rice dumplings.
Man Fu Yuan’s signature crowd-favourites are also making a return: Signature Smoked Duck with Yunnan Black Gold Garlic Rice Dumpling (S$22.80), Traditional Hokkien-Style Rice Dumpling (S$22.80) and Signature XO Nonya-Style Rice Dumpling (S$22.80).
Looking for something meaningful to give to your family and friends? Man Fu Yuan offers 2 gift sets to make them feel extra special.
Each gift set includes 5 dumplings and guests may opt for the Mastery Bundle ($108.80), which includes one Tie Guan Yin loose-leaf tea in a traditional tea canister, or the Indulgence Bundle (S$148.80) that comes with a 750ml bottle of Prosecco.
For Sethlui.com readers, simply quote “DBFSL15” to enjoy 15% off your rice dumpling orders. This is not applicable for Man Fu Yuan Classic Cantonese XL Rice Dumpling with Red Quinoa and Rice Dumpling Bundle Sets.
Complimentary delivery to 1 location with a minimum spend of S$450 nett after discount. Self-Collection (22 May to 22 Jun 2023) is available daily from 11.30am – 3pm & 5:30pm – 7pm.
5. Hiong Kee Dumplings
Hiong Kee Dumplings is a stall specialising in rice dumplings and it’s located on the second floor of Hong Lim Market & Food Centre. It has been operating for more than 40 years and is currently helmed by the 2nd generation. It also offers a dine-in option as opposed to other establishments who only do takeaway.
For people who dislike pork, they have chicken options like Chicken Dumpling (Chicken, Mushroom, Chestnut, Salted Egg) (S$5.80).
I tried the Nonya Dumpling (S$5.20) and the filling was delicious with a nice balance of pork meat and winter melon.
The menu also has Pork Dumpling (Pork, Mushroom, Chestnut, Salted Egg) (S$5.80), Belly Pork Dumpling (S$5.80), Kee Chang (S$2.20) and Red Bean Kee Chang (S$2.50).
Do note that they will be increasing their prices by S$0.50 every week as the Dragon Boat Festival is approaching. If you decide to patronise them, do come in early to avoid disappointment.
6. Xiang Ye Nonya Dumpling
It all started in 2005 when Xiang Ye Nonya Dumpling was just a small and humble family business selling traditional rice dumplings at a shop in Chai Chee. They subsequently moved to Serangoon and Aljunied before settling at Gourmet East Kitchen (main factory) at Bedok North.
They even had a retail branch located at Kim Keat Palm Market and Food Centre for 12 years. Due to high rental costs, they closed it down in Feb 2023. They focus on manufacturing and supplying rice dumplings to various markets and retailers.
Customers are also able to walk into their factory to purchase their bak zhang. They sell only 3 flavours: Salted Egg (S$2.80), Nonya (S$2) and Hokkien (S$2).
Do note that from 8 Jun 2023 onwards, the prices of the rice dumplings will increase by S$1 due to the festive season.
From now till 21 Jun 2023, they will be operating from 7am to 5pm.
Self-collection is welcomed or you can order online.
7. Beng Hiang
Established in 1978, Beng Hiang is renowned for delivering authentic and delicious Hokkien Cuisine in the heart of Jurong.
The chefs, who are responsible for dishing out the yummy Hokkien fare, have come up with 3 classic rice dumplings. Keep traditions going as you reunite with family and loved ones to enjoy these savoury treats.
Take your pick from the Nonya Dumpling (S$6.80), Hokkien Rice Dumpling (S$6.80), or indulge in the Hokkien Rice Dumpling with Salted Egg (S$7.50).
If you’re thinking of gifting something meaningful to your family or colleagues, check out their Festive Dumpling Combo Set A (S$48.80) which contains 1 Hokkien Rice Dumpling, 1 Hokkien Rice Dumpling with Salted Egg, 1 Nonya Dumpling, 3 rolls of five-spiced sausages, and Beng Hiang Silver Fish Chilli Sauce— great for a party of 3!
Get 15% off with their early bird promotion happening from 22 May to 11 Jun 2023.
8. Kim Lee Hokkien Zhang and Crispy Puff
Kim Lee Hokkien Zhang and Crispy Puff at Jalan Berseh is run by husband and wife duo, Ken Lee and Chi Le.
Ken is a jack of all trades, who started off as a hotel pastry chef before becoming a personal trainer. During the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, the couple’s careers were badly affected and that was when they decided to start their own home-based business selling rice dumplings and curry puffs.
Things were looking great and in Jul 2022, they opened their first stall selling dim sum, fried snacks, congee, as well as freshly-made bak zhang and curry puffs.
The Mini Nyonya (S$2) has hints of blue pea rice and looks aesthetically attractive. The Hokkien Zhang (S$3.70) and Hokkien Zhang with Salted Egg Yolk (S$4.30) is filled with tender pieces of pork belly meat and chestnut.
From 12 to 22 Jun 2023, the updated prices for the Dragon Boat Festival will be as follows: Mini Nyonya (S$2.20), Hokkien Zhang (S$3.90), Hokkien Zhang with Salted Egg Yolk (S$4.70) and Hokkien Zhang with double salted egg yolk (S$5.30).
If you wish to pre-order or get it delivered, you can WhatsApp Ken at +65 9090 5806.
9. SohGood Bak Zhang
SohGood Bak Chang is nestled within the massive labyrinth of stalls located at Chinatown Complex Market and Food Centre. The stall is owned by Mr Soh who switched careers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He put his heart and soul into learning how to make Hokkien bak zhang which his grandmother used to make when he was younger.
The 2 savoury choices over here are: Traditional Pork Belly Bak Chang (S$4) and Traditional Pork Belly with Salted Egg Yolk (S$4.80). Aromatic glutinous rice is stuffed with melt-in-your-mouth pork belly, chestnut and mushroom.
For something more unique, get the Tangerine Peel Red Bean Paste Kee Chang (S$2.80). The combination of salted glutinous rice with sweet red bean paste and fragrant citrusy skin is a breath of fresh air.
The rice dumplings here are very popular, so make sure you arrive early to avoid disappointment.
335 Smith Street, Chinatown Complex Market and Food Centre, #02-209, Singapore 050335
+65 8897 2561
Tue: 2.30pm – 5pm
Wed to Sat: 9.30am – 5pm
Closed on Mon & Sun
10. Gim Tim Restaurant
Gim Tim Restaurant at Ang Mo Kio started off as a catering business before converting into a full-fledged restaurant. It focuses on Hokkien and Cantonese cuisine. What’s more important is that you can also find rice dumplings being sold here.
Whenever relatives or friends give you loads of bak chang, I’m sure you’ll scramble to search for storage space or struggle to finish them off as soon as possible to avoid spoilage— not a problem here.
For the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival, Gim Tim Restaurant offers an assortment of 3 rice dumplings which conveniently come in frozen vacuum packs so you don’t have to worry about consuming them within a short period. Simply defrost, heat them up and enjoy.
For those who yearn for a burst of seafood, you should try the Conpoy Rice Dumpling (S$7). Unfortunately, the Rice Dumpling with Abalone & Conpoy (S$8.80) is unavailable for now until stocks come in. Alternatively, you can go for the traditional Nyonya Rice Dumpling (S$7).
Promotion: Buy 4 pieces and get 1 free (while stocks last).
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