Whether the hero ingredient is Shangri-La Hotel Singapore's Japanese purple sweet potato custard (left) or Crystal Jade's peach gum and yuzu peel, some of this year's bak chang offerings are simply wild and wonderful! | Photos: Shangri-La Hotel Singapore (left) and Crystal Jade
The dragon boat festival has rolled around again and now that the pandemic has finally evolved into an endemic, there are drum beats and paddling across Singapore’s waters, and lots of new rice dumplings to sink into our bellies.
Traditional rice dumplings filled with pork are everywhere, as are new and novel offerings that run the gamut from meat-free to dessert. Here are a couple to whet your appetite.
Photo: Goodwood Park Hotel
Laksa Dumpling With Sambal Chilli
Why dream up strange new concoctions when you can look to tried and true flavours? And who doesn’t love laksa, right? This is one of Goodwood Park Hotel’s new offerings this year, featuring shredded chicken dressed in a traditional mix of chillies, lemongrass and laksa leaves, and given a jolt of umami with the addition of Sakura ebi ($32 for two). A homemade sambal gives it extra kick. Available till 3 June, order five days in advance.
Photo: Shangri-la Singapore
Truffle Pork Rice Dumpling With Salted Egg
Once a rare ingredient, truffles are now akin to gourmands' ketchup, employed in all manner of dishes to add a whiff of luxury. At Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, black truffles lend pork dumplings their earthy flavour and enrich the already robust qualities of salted egg yolk and quality glutinous rice ($21.80 each).
Photo: Shangri-la Singapore
Black Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Japanese Purple Sweet Potato Custard
We love the idea of a custard made from Japanese sweet potato encased in a thin layer of chewy mochi skin. This fun little nugget is secreted within the dumpling ($18.80 each), also from Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, made from black and white glutinous rice. When cut into, the warm custard oozes beautifully for that money shot. Then mix it into the rice for a heart-warming dessert to share with your fam. Available till 3 June.
Photo: Resorts World Sentosa
Zakkoku Okowa Dumpling
Every year, the chefs from Resorts World Sentosa’s restaurants come up with impressive dumpling flavours, and this year is no different. Among the novel options in its five-piece Deluxe Dumpling Set ($118) is one by chef Noriyoshi Teruya of Japanese restaurant Syun that comprises a mixture of 16 rice and zakkoku (the collective term for grains in the grass family that bear small fruit seeds, like millet and barley) imported from Japan. The grains are cooked in dashi so each one is suffused with umami and mixed with chunks of Kurobuta pork from Kagoshima, sustainably sourced prawns, Sakura ebi, shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots and Japanese pepper.
Photo: Tung Lok Group
Meatless Oat Rice Dumpling With Mushrooms
Being on a plant-based diet doesn’t have to mean foregoing a delicious rice dumpling at duan wu jie this year. The Tung Lok Group has a Meatless Oat Rice Dumpling packed with nemoko pearl and king oyster mushrooms wrapped in glutinous rice made less starchy with the addition of oats. Happily, it only costs $6.80 a piece.
Spanish Pork Rice Dumpling
New modern Asian restaurant Path enters the fray with its own creative take on the zhong zi. Chef Marvas Ng’s decidedly non-traditional dumpling ($38, feeds two) features a Spanish pork hock stuffed with glutinous rice, porcini mushrooms, chestnuts, abalone, Chinese sausages and dang gui (angelica sinesis). That’s right, the rice is tucked within the pork and not the other way around. Only 50 pieces will be made this season, and is available from 1 to 4 June.
Photo: Crystal Jade
Petite Peach Gum With Yuzu Peel Crystal Jelly Dumpling
Technically, not a rice dumpling, but still pyramid-shaped, these little jelly treats ($8.40 for three) from Crystal Jade are a great way to end your dumpling binge on a sweet note. It comes studded with nourishing peach gum, wolfberries and tangy yuzu peel. Available till 3 June.