It’s that time of the year (again) that you’re feasting and making a whole lot of noise at each others’ houses – and what’s Lunar New Year visiting without sitting at a corner and stuffing our faces with cookies and pineapple tarts? While we love ourselves some open-faced pineapple tarts and love letters, here, we’re talking about the snacks that you won’t find at every house. Possibly, the #hipster ones. Load your house with these and be prepared to gather up empty jars at the end of the day – your friends and relatives will thank you (or, not).
1. Plain Vanilla — Bak Kua Cookies & Black Sesame Cookies
Doesn’t matter what they say about bak kwa being good or bad for you – you know you won’t be able to risk some sweet barbecued pork when it’s just right there. Instead of getting your hands sticky, try this tempting treat: Plain Vanilla’s Bak Kua Cookies ($38), made with a cornflake cookie base, which results in a delicious, crunchy biscuit that complements the chewy texture and sweetness of the pork. Or, if you’re up for something that’s both non-traditional, yet still traditional, try the Black Sesame Cookies ($19). The black shade’s almost too cool for CNY, but you’ll find the strong flavour of roasted black sesame seeds, as traditional as you can get, in these bite-sized treats. Butter Pistachio Cookies and Matcha White Chocolate Cookies, $19 each, round off a nice, unique bundle.
Available at Plain Vanilla Holland Village, Tiong Bahru Estate, or the IN GOOD COMPANY store at ION Orchard, or online at plainvanillabakery.com.
2. Sinpopo — Salted Egg Yolk Cookies
We love salted egg yolk everything, including fries, chicken wings and lava cakes, but it’s way more appealing when you can just pop it into your mouth, like these Salted Egg Yolk Cookies ($15) from Sinpopo. It’s a new creation that combines butter cookies with the much-loved fragrance of salted egg yolk and curry leaves, guaranteed to be a hit. You might have to order a few extra jars for yourself.
Available for order online at sinpopo.com.
3. Creme Maison Bakery — Matcha Gomu/French Cheese/Cranberry Mango Pineapple Truffle Tarts
There are buttery, melt-in-your mouth pineapple tarts at Creme Maison Bakery, but if you’re looking for something different, opt for the ones in Matcha Gomu, French Cheese and Mango Cranberry flavours, from $25 to $28 per jar. We tried the Matcha ones, and while it still has the all-familiar taste of sweet pineapple paste, the green tea flavour is a good balance if you like it slightly less sweet and more aromatic.
Available for order on whatsapp (81813689) or email (email@example.com) with the subject ‘CNY Truffle Tarts’. crememaison.com
4. Joe & Dough — Gula Melaka Pandan Cake
This makes for a nice gift if you’re visiting an older relative, because it’s not just any ordinary pandan cake that you can buy from your neighbourhood store (though those are still good), it has a nice drizzle of gula melaka and coconut shavings on top. By Joe & Dough, the Gula Melaka Pandan Cake ($52) also includes finely ground almonds, and is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at the table. Also, trust us when we say it’s one of the nicest cakes that we’ve tried at the NYLON office, light and moist, the pandan sponge tastes fresh and fragrant, while the gula melaka lends a nice sweet, but not overpowering, flavour to the dessert. Some nice Citrus Butter Cookies ($18.80) and Golden Pineapple Tarts ($23.80) complement the cake well too.
Available till 27 Feb 2016 at all Joe & Dough outlets and online at joeanddough.com.
5. Tiong Bahru Bakery — Choc’Orange Loaf & Gong Xi Gateau
More offerings in the desserts department, this time, the rich ones from Tiong Bahru Bakery. Instead of getting those ridiculously overpriced Mandarin orange “da ji da li” plants, put that festive flavour into your dessert. The Choc’Orange Loaf ($6.80/slice, $50/loaf), more like a tea cake, is a classic chocolate loaf cake freckled with bits of candied orange, and then coated with a blanket of luscious orange chocolate ganache. As for the Gong Xi Gateau ($9.80), a zesty orange biscuit sponge is layered with homemade kumquat jam, orange syrup and luscious dark gianduja cream. topped off with dark chocolate. Sinful? Yes, very, but who’s counting the calories anyway.
Available at Tiong Bahru Bakery stores at Eng Hoon, Raffles City and TANGS Orchard. tiongbahrubakery.com
6. Bloomsbury Bakers — Pork Floss Seaweed Cookies & Bak Kwa Sesame Cookies
We just have to give them props for innovation, including Bloomsbury Bakery’s savoury-sounding cookies options, including Pork Floss Seaweed and Bak Kwa Sesame. It’s like being able to have all our favourite, and traditional, CNY snacks in one easy bite. At the same time, they do have classic butter cookies such as Cornflake Raisin Cookies and Almond Cookies, all at $25 each, and made with premium French butter.
Available at Bloomsbury Bakery, 30 Bendemeer Road. bloomsburybakers.com