Dumpling Festival 2021, also known as Dragonboat Festival or Duan Wu Jie (端午节) in Chinese, falls on the 14th of June 2021 – the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. Although the Dumpling Festival is not a public holiday in Singapore, this is the time that families and friends come together to enjoy exquisitely handmade sticky rice dumplings or zongzi (粽子). Traditionally, there are 3 types of rice dumplings:
- Nyonya – Often has a blue tip. The interior features minced meat.
- Hokkien – Juicier than the Nyonya rice dumpling due to the presence of pork belly brimming with fat. The juices get absorbed by the rice.
- Sweet – Filled with various beans, nuts, dates or simply just the sticky rice and nothing else. Also called kee chang. Vegetarian-friendly.
If you were to choose to buy your rice dumplings from hotels and Chinese restaurants, expect luxurious ingredients such as scallops, abalone and even duck. This year, a couple of outlets have introduced some unique flavors. Many of the bak chang listed below for Dumpling Festival 2021 are available not just for takeaway but also for delivery. Here is a list of the best rice dumplings being sold this year:
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Joo Chiat Kim Choo
Joo Chiat Kim Choo traces its humble beginnings from a stall at 34 Joo Chiat Place in Katong, the epicenter of Nyonya culture in Singapore. The brand has now grown to become one of the top rice dumpling names in Singapore with its products selling briskly even outside the Dragonboat Festival. Its top sellers include the Salted Rice Dumpling Bundle (from S$42 for 10pcs) which already includes mix and match of Nyonya, Salted, Salted with Egg Yolk and Cantonese Bean dumplings. For those who don’t take pork, Joo Chiat Kim Choo also sells Chicken Rice Dumpling Bundle (from S$35 for 10).
Order here (free rice dumpling delivery with minimum S$60 order)
*TOP PICK* Michelin-starred Summer Palace at Regent Singapore ushers in Dragon Boat Festival 2021 with 4 types of rice dumplings (bak chang) with the most premium one being the Steamed Rice Dumpling filled with Abalone, Black Mushrooms, Chestnuts, Green Beans, Dried Scallop, Roast Duck, and Salted Egg Yolk (S$42). Each serving weighs a hefty 550 grams – good for 2 or even 3 persons – and comes with 2 plump pieces of baby abalone which is double what one usually finds elsewhere. Other flavors include Steamed Rice Dumpling filled with Dried Oyster, Sea Moss and Kurobuta Pork (S$26) as well as vegetarian options – Steamed Morel Mushrooms and Truffle Rice Dumpling with Five Treasures (Lotus Seeds, Oat, Barley, Sweet Corn and Green Beans) (S$26) and Steamed Rice Dumpling filled with Red Date Paste and served with Osmanthus Honey (S$15). Among the rice dumplings I have encountered this year, the ones from Regent Singapore have the densest concentration of premium ingredients and the dumplings taste really good. If you can only pick from one establishment, I totally recommend their decadent versions of this seasonal treat!
Dates: 24th May to 14th June 2021
Order here (sold out)
Making another appearance this dumpling festival at Shangri-la Singapore is the popular Shang Palace Signature Barbecued Pork Rice Dumpling with Yunnan Ham and Conpoy ($27.80, 750g). If you prefer the savory kind of rice dumpling, you won’t go wrong with this hearty treat. It is available as an a la carte order or as part of the Shang Palace Rice Dumpling Gift Set (S$78.00, 5 pieces) which also includes the following well-loved favorites: Traditional Nyonya Rice Dumpling, Sweetened Purple Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Custard, Black Truffle, Chestnut Pumpkin and Vegan Chicken Glutinous Rice Dumpling as well as a Shang Palace Tea Canister.
All the rice dumplings that are part of the set can also be ordered invidiually. If you prefer the sweeter kind of rice dumpling, I personally would recommend the Sweetened Purple Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Custard (S$16.80). These rice dumplings have flowy lava custard within that oozes out when the dumpling is cut, balancing the savory flavor with the sweetness of the sticky rice.
Dates: Now until 14th June 2021
Kim Choo Kueh Chang
Kim Choo Kueh Chang (金珠肉粽) is one of the most popular places to shop for rice dumplings. They sell bak chang year-round in their main store at East Coast Road in Katong. Their products can be categorized roughly into Nyonya Chang where they have pork, vegetarian and chicken while their Salty Chang comes in salty egg, XO traditional and chili.
Love Dumplings is a home-based business primarily selling rice dumplings. Having been financially affected by the pandemic, they started the business in mid-2020 to positive reviews, with customers coming back for repeat orders. Aside from their Kiam Bak Chang (starts from S$14 for 10pcs), they are also selling Teochew Kwong Qiang (S$54) and Teochew Kueh (S$18 for 12pcs).
Order here (free bak chang delivery with minimum S$60 order)
Xiang Ye Nyonya Dumpling originated in 2001 with a small outlet in Chai Chee. Currently, it has two outlets (Blk 18 Toa Payoh Lor 7 and Blk 166 Bukit Merah) and is one of the best-selling rice dumplings online due to their frequent promos. They sell three types of rice dumplings – Nyonya, Hokkien and Salted Egg.
Order here (free bak chang delivery with minimum S$40 order)
Food Yo (Hup Chong)
Food Yo is a subdivision of the bak kwa brand, Hup Chong and for Dragonboat Festival, they are rolling out special bak kwa flavored rice dumplings for consumption at home. Their Gourmet Bak Kwa Rice Dumpling (from S$12.60 for a pair) comes stuffed with sizeable bits of roast pork within the glutinous rice. There are two variations – with or without egg yolk. Moreover, they are also giving away either a barley drink, bak kwa pao, pineapple juice or a bird’s nest flavored beverage as a free item with each order of a pair of rice dumplings.
Order here (free rice dumpling delivery with minimum S$50)
Tam Kah is a seafood wholesaler and this year, they are also dabbling in rice dumplings. They have no less than 10 different flavors of bak chang, ranging from the likes of Fortune Pork Trotter (S$15.50 for 2pcs) to XO Abalone Scallop (S$39 for 4pcs). In between, they also have more traditional variations like Nyonya (S$14 for 4pcs) and Scallop and Salted Egg (S$19 for 4pcs).
SMH Food Group
SMH has been a long time supplier of Chinese snack items, particularly dimsum, to major supermarkets, hotels and convenience stores the past few decades. Those who shop in Fairprice or Sheng Shiong supermarkets in the heartlands might have encountered their roadshows. They are known for their frozen siu mai, bao and gyoza among others. For Dumpling Festival 2021, they are rolling out the Lotus Leaf Chicken Dumpling with Purple Rice (S$10.60 for 4pcs), Lotus Leaf Nyonya Chicken Dumpling (S$10.60 for 4pcs) and Lotus Leaf Red Bean Dumpling (S$9.60 for 4pcs). The rice dumplings from SMH Food Group are delivered in frozen form where they have a shelf life of up to 12 months.
Order here (free delivery with minimum order of S$50)
Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium (Xin Cuisine)
Xin Cuisine at Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium presents 3 types of rice dumplings (bak chang) this year including their new Mala Chicken with Dried Scallop Dumpling (S$18.80). Weighing approximately 380 grams, each piece delivers a numbing sensation to the tongue as one bites into this dumpling brimming with meat. For those who prefer sweet and/or vegetarian options, the Xin’s Signature Red Lotus Seed Paste Dumpling (S$11.80) is served with osmanthus sauce and comes filled with creamy lotus paste, chestnuts and gingko nuts. Together with the osmanthus sauce, one gets to sense a distinct honey-ed scent from this chewy dumpling.
Xin Cuisine’s rice dumplings can be purchased individually or as a bundle with 2 pieces of each type.
Dates: Now until 13th June 2021
The Fullerton Hotel Singapore
The Fullerton Hotel’s line-up of bak chang this year includes the newly launched Ginseng Chicken Glutinous Rice Dumpling (S$18). Nourishing and rich in flavor, the dumpling delivers the hearty and warming notes of traditional ginseng chicken soup. Taking a page from the property’s local heritage, the Bak Kut Teh Flavour Pork Glutinous Rice Dumpling (S$12) is another new addition and is a variation of Jade’s signature Bak Kut Teh Xiao Long Bao. Chef Leong’s special blend of herbs, spices and garlic possesses fragrant herbal and peppery notes, distilling the flavors of the local dish into a compact rice dumpling.
Dates: 25th May to 14th June 2021 (pre-orders available now)
Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza
Expect a wide array of bak chang flavors this year from Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza, with luxurious options such as the 5-Head Abalone with Iberico & Parma Ham Rice Dumpling (S$28), a spicy Sichuan Pepper Chicken with Lotus Root, Fungus, Peanuts & Mushrooms Rice Dumpling (S$14), sweet Honey Red Dates with Salted Green Beans, Red Beans and Melon Candy Rice Dumpling (S$13) to best sellers including the Vegetarian Black Truffle 5-Grain Rice Dumpling (S$14) and their Signature Pork & Salted Egg Rice Dumpling.
Dates: 24th May to 14th June 2021
Order here (sold out)
Pan Pacific Singapore
There will be 5 types of rice dumplings available from Pan Pacific Singapore. Back by popular demand is the Traditional Jumbo Rice Dumpling with Abalone (S$ 38.80) which comes generously filled with succulent pork belly, salted egg yolk, chestnuts, green beans, lotus seeds and whole abalone. This item is best shared due to its size. Single serving variants from Pan Pacific Singapore this year include the Classic Taiwanese Dumpling with Sesame Oil Chicken (S$18.80) which is inspired by the flavorful traditional Taiwanese specialty and includes chicken leg, fungus, Chinese rice wine and sesame oil and Teochew Dumpling with Yam Paste and Gingko Nuts (S$10.80).
Dates: 14th May to 14th June 2021
Man Fu Yuan at InterContinental Singapore ushers in the Dragon Boat Festival with 7 flavors of rice dumplings including gift bundles encased in limited edition dumpling carriers. A new variation this year is the Mala-braised Beef Brisket Dumpling (S$15.00). Packed with beef brisket marinade and braised to tender perfection with mushrooms, bamboo shoots, coriander and mala spices, this dumpling teases the palate with a delicate tingle with every bite. Another interesting creation is the iconic circular-shaped Smoked Duroc Pork Char Siew Dumpling with Black Gold Garlic (S$12.00). Created with Man Fu Yuan’s Signature Duroc Pork Char Siew, this dumpling offers a balance between the sweetness of char siew and the earthy aroma of hefty black gold garlic loaded with antioxidants.
Dates: 31st May to 14th June 2021
Gim Tim Restaurant
Gim Tim is a Hokkien / Cantonese restaurant in Ang Mo Kio with a strong emphasis on catering services and takeaways. For Dumpling Festival 2021, they have rolled out 3 types of rice dumplings – the Rice Dumpling with Abalone and Conpoy (S$7), Rice Dumpling with Conpoy (S$6) and Nyonya Rice Dumpling (S$6). The abalone rice dumpling in particular, is among the lowest-priced rice dumplings that’s stuffed with abalone this year.
Order here (free delivery on orders of S$60 or more)
Sheraton Towers Singapore
Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant introduces a new creation this year – Vegetarian Multi-grain Rice Dumpling (S$28 for 500grams), a savory parcel filled with meat-free nugget, different types of mushroom (Matsutake, King Oyster, and Chinese), assorted fungus (elm, yellow, snow, and black), beancurd skin, multi-grain rice, kidney bean, lotus seed and chestnut. For those who prefer the restaurant’s bestsellers, Li Bai offers its signature Traditional Rice Dumpling (S$48 for 1kg) which is filled with customary ingredients such as pork belly, roast duck, Chinese mushroom, chestnut, salted egg, conpoy and dried shrimp. A refined treat is the premium Abalone and Pumpkin Rice Dumpling (S$48 for 1kg). A yearly favorite, its generous filling comprises whole abalone, pumpkin, Chinese mushroom, pork belly, salted egg, chestnut, conpoy and mung bean.
Dates: 24th May to 14th June 2021
Conrad Centennial Singapore
Golden Peony at Conrad Centennial Singapore has some of the most creative flavors of bak chang for Dumpling Festival 2021. For those who prefer something sweet, check out the Egg Custard Sweeties Rice Dumpling (S$12.80). Each piece comes served with a side of gula melaka syrup. For savory dumplings, they have the Singapore Black Pepper Chili Crab, Prawn and Bedford Scallops Rice Dumpling (S$28.80). So far, this is the only rice dumpling I have seen in 2021 that comes stuffed with crab, and with a local flair at that. For duck lovers, another unusual flavor is the Crispy Smoked Duck, Chestnut Rice Dumpling (S$24.80) which comes with a generous portion of the bird stuffed within the sticky rice.
Dates: Now until 13th June 2021
Yuen Chen Siang
Those craving for rice dumplings from Malaysia – particularly Southern Malaysia – can now order them online for delivery straight to your doorstep. One of the popular brands that offer this service is Yuen Chen Siang (源珍香) which originates from Muar in Johor. Popular flavors include the Salted Egg Rice Dumpling (S$8.23), Shuang Pin Rice Dumpling (S$9.05) and Afternoon Nyonya Rice Dumpling (S$8.23). The Shuang Pin Rice Dumpling in particular, is a mix of sweet and savory. There’s the distinct sweetness from the red bean paste while the savory part comes from the salted egg yolk, pork and dried mushrooms.
As these rice dumplings come from Malaysia, deliveries take about 1 to 2 weeks to arrive so plan ahead if you want it to reach you by Dumpling Festival.
Order here (free delivery with minimum order of S$15)
Raffles Hotel Singapore
Raffles Hotel Singapore ushers in Dumpling Festival 2021 with 3 types of rice dumplings with inputs from MasterChef Jereme Leung. A luxurious option is the Traditional Abalone and Jinhua Ham Glutinous Rice Dumpling (S$48) which comes with a 12-head abalone, Jinhua ham, Japanese dried scallops, roast duck, pork belly and chestnuts under the wrapping. For a piquant twist, the Spiced Pork Belly Glutinous Rice Dumpling (S$18) is accentuated with sambal and Sakura shrimps.
For those with a sweet tooth, the Kee Chang with Raffles Signature Kaya Jam (S$22 for 5pcs) offers a local twist to the rice dumpling. Each order of 5pcs comes with a 200gram jar of Raffles Signature Kaya Jam.
Dates: 1st to 14th June 2021
Thye Moh Chan
If you like your rice dumplings brimming with lots of fatty pork, you won’t go wrong with Thye Moh Chan’s version of Teochew-style rice dumplings. They have 2 kinds this year – the Teochew Salted Egg Bak Chang (S$6.50) and the Teochew Double Delight Bak Chang (S$6.50). The latter is a mix of sweet and savory. The glutinous rice comes with pork belly, shiitake mushroom, chestnut and homemade sweet tau sar. You can also order their bak chang as a set of 3 / 7 / 12 pieces.
Dates: Until 14th June 2021