Turn down for huat! This CNY, we’re bingeing on rose pineapple tarts, D24 love letters and pineapple bak kwa cookies.
Chinese New Year goodies like pineapple tarts, love letters and bak kwa are the cornerstone of festive snacking. They’re especially useful for stuffing your face when you’ve got to fend off endless questions about your love life and your career from the umpteenth relative of the day. But beyond traditional treats, brands across the island are constantly thinking up unexpected flavours to keep things interesting. Intrigued? Read on for unconventional CNY snacks…
Where to buy unique CNY snacks in Singapore
What started out as a little confectionery decades ago has since bloomed into a go-to brand for pineapple tarts. As usual, Kele doesn’t disappoint, with its rich variety of the iconic CNY tidbit in flavours like rose, tangerine, cheese, sweet potato, matcha and cocoa. Whether you prefer yours flower-shaped or in golden-brown spheres, there’s something for everyone.
Kele, available online and at 2 Smith Street, Singapore 058917
A homegrown store in love with cakes, Baker’s Brew takes a stroll around Singapore to rediscover local flavours this Chinese New Year. Its Peranakan Nostalgia collection of unique CNY snacks are packed in mini versions of retro biscuit tins that come decked out in familiar landmarks. The ondeh ondeh cookies are made with pandan-infused dough and gula melaka coconut filling. Meanwhile, the pineapple bak kwa cookies give you a mix of sweet and savoury. Let’s not forget the muah chee peanut cookies for a nostalgic treat filled with roasted peanuts and peanut butter!
Baker’s Brew, available online and at multiple locations including Great World City and Plaza Singapura
Mdm Ling Bakery
A trio of millennials are the bakers behind Mdm Ling, whipping up goodies such as pineapple tarts, kueh bangkit, love letters and butter cookies for Chinese New Year. Some of the more unusual treats include cranberry pineapple balls, kopi siew dai cookies and golden yuan yang or seaweed chicken floss love letters. Cookies are also available in options like hae bee hiam, purple sweet potato and red velvet cheese.
Mdm Ling Bakery, available online
So you’re a fan of yam? Head to Whisking Bakes for your fill of orh nee tarts this CNY. Think pineapple balls, but with creamy taro filling instead of tart pineapple. Inspired by the local dessert, the snack is 100% natural and made from scratch using fresh yam.
Whisking Bakes, available online
Teaspoon of Love
We’ve gotta say, this bakery’s Earl Grey pineapple tarts are some of the best – hands down – we’ve ever had. It’s the perfect combination of buttery crust, not-too-sweet pineapple filling and subtle tea flavour. Every bite is so good, you’ll be wishing you ordered more.
Teaspoon of Love, available online
Old Seng Choong
Known for its bakes inspired by local flavours (laksa or cereal prawn cookies, anyone?), this homegrown brand takes its experimentation to the next level with unique CNY snacks. We’re looking at pineapple tarts in yuzu or bak kwa varieties to switch things up. Oh, and besides the unusual range of cookie flavours, it pays tribute to local zi char dishes with crispy har lok and Marmite chicken floss cookies this year. The former is a savoury treat with dried shrimps and fried shallots, while the latter combines Marmite jam with chicken floss.
Old Seng Choong, available online and at multiple locations including The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands and Clarke Quay Central
This snack brand gives prawn rolls a twist with hae bee hiam (spicy dried shrimp) that’s coated in salted egg. That means you get savoury, spicy goodness in every mouthful. While you’re at it, you might as well stock up on more addictive treats here!
Irvins, available online and at multiple locations including Plaza Singapura and VivoCity
Pineapple Tarts Singapore
With a name like that, you know this brand has only one snack in mind (although it actually does sell other treats). But pineapple tarts are the main star for good reason. These orbs of sweet and savoury goodness melt in your mouth like butter. Plus, they come with an added touch of cheese, salted egg, and even truffle flavours. A stickler for spice? Try the mala version for a kick.
Pineapple Tarts Singapore, available online
Janice Wong is a name synonymous with fancy chocolate, and the local dessert maestro doesn’t disappoint with her offerings for the Year of the Ox. There’s the chocolate koi that’s hand-painted, coated in single-origin dark chocolate and filled with praline feuilletine and candied orange. Additionally, snacks come in varieties such as chocolate bak kwa cookies, chocolate pineapple balls and love letters with hazelnut dip. Best of all, you can gift CNY hampers to your loved ones! They’re filled with cookies, pineapple tarts, tea tins and even wine or champagne.
Janice Wong, available online and at multiple locations including Paragon and Raffles City
Famed for its pineapple cakes, this Taiwanese brand makes its signature treat with organically grown pineapples and all-natural ingredients. Besides that, it also offers apple cake tarts and D24 durian love letters. How’s that for something different?
SunnyHills, available online and at 3 Seah Street, Singapore 188379
A pastry shop that never fails to put out fab seasonal creations, Ollella’s 2021 selection of CNY snacks includes unique flavours alongside classic ones. Want to go beyond its signature spiced kueh lapis? Try options such as Nutella or cempedak. Almond cookies also come in vegan versions here. Or go for new tidbits such as jade ondeh balls (gula jawa-soaked coconut in pandan butter crust) and hebi hiam balls (rempah udang in buttery crust).
Ollella, available online and at 454 Race Course Road, Singapore 218697
Bonus: Le Vyr
So you love your kombucha and kefir? Le Vyr puts a fun twist on Chinese New Year tidbits by turning them into drinks. The first-of-its-kind pineapple tart milk kefir is a probiotic beverage that’s tangy, sweet and salty with a layer of homemade pineapple coulis. Oh, and it comes with four pineapple tart kosong pieces that you can nibble on while you sip. Another new creation, the mandarin orange kombucha is a citrus delight infused with different parts of the fruits during fermentation. Psst: the brand also has other locally-inspired kombucha and kefir flavours including Singapore Sling, kopi o and mango sago.
Le Vyr, available online
So, which CNY snacks are you most excited to try?