The annual Dragon Boat Festival is met with excitement from Singaporeans of all ages and walks of life. Whether it’s grandma retelling the famous legend about Chinese poet Qu Yuan drowning in a river over the dinner table, or fragrant glutinous rice bak zhang stuffed with mushrooms and salted egg yolk, the aforementioned festival is no stranger to a Singaporean household.
We know how badly big family gatherings are missed, but that doesn’t mean that this year’s celebrations are any less special. Give this traditional celebration a modern twist with these unconventional bak zhang flavours that are a huge (and yummy!) upgrade.
1. Yì by Jereme Leung
Renowned Masterchef Jereme Leung’s Kee Chang Bak Zhang with Raffles Signature Kaya Jam (S$22) from his restaurant Yì is definitely different from traditional savoury recipes that we grew up eating. Filled with fragrant pandan kaya and sure to satisfy any sweet tooth, this delectable dumpling will be a welcome addition to your plethora of bak zhang options.
Spice lovers can opt for the Spiced Pork Belly Glutinous Rice Dumpling (S$18), an elevated twist to the traditional recipe with the addition of sambal chilli and Sakura shrimps.
2. Eastern Rice Dumpling
Nobody will bat an eye at a glutinous rice bak zhang, but what about a Black Pepper Chicken Rice (S$4.80) dumpling? Filled with black pepper chicken and paired with the well-loved fried glutinous rice, there is no better way to #supportlocal and enjoy two distinct Singaporean flavours at the same time.
Eastern Rice Dumpling also offers a variety of options such as Hokkien Rice Dumpling (S$4.80) and Black-Eye Beans Mushroom Rice Dumpling (S$4) so that you can enjoy a well-deserved treat with your family.
3. Pan Pacific Hai Tien Lo
This year’s celebrations will be extra delicious with Hai Tien Lo‘s unconventional renditions on traditional dumplings, created especially by Executive Chef Ben Zeng, and Dim Sum Chef Ho Kam Fai. Bak zhang fans can expect a delectable Teochew Dumpling with Yam Paste and Gingko Nuts (S$10.80), inspired by orh nee, a local dessert beloved by Singaporeans of all ages.
If you love savoury dumplings, you might gravitate towards their Classic Taiwanese Dumpling with Sesame Oil Chicken (S$18.80), a delicious medley of chicken leg, Chinese wine, fungus, and sesame oil. Hai Tien Lo’s dumplings are also available in a Classic Bundle Set (S$68) and the Premium Bundle Set (S$98).
4. Xin Cuisine Chinese Restaurant
It is undeniable that Singaporeans absolutely love mala. Whether it’s a potato chip seasoning, the familiar spicy dish loaded with chilli, or making its way into glutinous rice dumplings, the smell and taste of mala is welcome anytime. Xin Cuisine Chinese Restaurant‘s star of the show this year is none other than their Mala Chicken Dumpling with Dried Scallops (S$18.80). This spicy rendition of your traditional bak zhang is something the whole family will definitely enjoy as long as their tongues can handle it.
Those who prefer non-spicy options can take their pick from Signature Red Lotus Seed Paste (S$11.80) served with fragrant Osmanthus sauce, or purchase the Assorted Dumpling Bundle (S$68) that carries a variety of flavours to cater to every palate.
5. Paradise Dynasty
Paradise Dynasty offers an extensive menu of traditional bak zhang, but adventurous foodies looking to try new flavours will definitely want to try out their innovative Roasted Pork Truffle Five Grain Dumpling (S$13.18+). Stuffed with fragrant roast pork belly, salted egg yolk, and chestnut, this bak zhang is made special with shavings of black truffle and truffle oil.
Those who want to savour these delicious bak zhangs at a later date will be glad to know that their frozen dumplings are available for both pre-order and islandwide delivery.
6. Joo Chiat Kim Choo
The combination of pulut hitam, a popular local dessert, with the traditional glutinous rice dumpling may sound unusual at first, but don’t knock it until you try it. An exclusive flavour launched this year, the Pulut Hitam Nonya (S$6.80) glutinous rice dumpling will make your meal taste like a dessert with fragrant sweet rice and a familiar, comforting nutty flavour.
If dessert for dinner isn’t quite your thing, the brand’s second new launch might be right up your alley. The Hakka Pork Belly with Preserved Vegetables Rice Dumpling (S$6.80) is the perfect, savoury bak zhang to feast on with your family, studded with pork belly and preserved mui choy.
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