Whether presented as gifts or left at home as snacks to offer guests, delectable goodies usually come to define CNY celebrations at home. These snacks are undoubtedly good to eat but there is actually a reason why people mainly have them during Chinese New Year. There are many popular CNY goodies and these are the major ones:
- Pineapple tarts – In Hokkien, pineapples are called “ong lai” which also means “luck is coming.” Because of this, pineapples are frequently displayed in homes during the Lunar New Year period and pineapple tarts / balls are frequently eaten or given as gifts as a means of bringing in the luck.
- BBQ pork – This is probably the most sought after goodie to try during CNY, especially in Singapore. Although available year round, strips of BBQ pork are most popular during Chinese New Year because of their red color, symbolizing luck. This tasty snack also originated as an expensive food item and as such, people consume them during this period to signify prosperity for the coming year. You can check out my separate guide on the best BBQ pork to try in Singapore.
- Nian gao – Literally translated as the “year cake,” nian gao is usually eaten during Chinese New Year because its sticky and glutinous quality is traditionally believed in Chinese mythology to seal the Kitchen God’s mouth shut. Offering nian gao keeps him from badmouthing you to the Jade Emperor in his annual CNY report.
- Shrimp rolls – Cylindrical-shaped snacks such as shrimp rolls are also popular during Chinese New Year. Their golden color coupled with the cylindrical shape are akin to gold bars and as such, symbolize wealth.
- Radish cake – This savory goodie is another popular food to eat during CNY because its Hokkien name (“chai tow”) sounds similar to the Hokkien word for prosperity and rising fortunes.
- Round-shaped fruits – Fruits such as mandarin oranges and tangerines are usually exchanged during Chinese New Year. Their round shape is meant to symbolize wholeness and prosperity and the Chinese word for orange / tangerine also sounds similar to the Chinese word for luck.
Here are some of the best and most popular places where you can grab these snacks – including some creative variations for the upcoming Year of the Ox:
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PineappleTart.com is back this season. The online store specializes in Melt-In-Your-Mouth Pineapple Tarts (S$22.80), Melt-In-Your-Mouth Kueh Bangkit (S$22.80) and other highly raved snacks perfect for both the young and the elderly. PineappleTart’s recipes retain traditional Nyonya flavors. Their CNY goodies are 100% handmade using only the freshest ingredients with zero preservatives.
Aside from their bestselling pineapple tarts, the store also carries other CNY snacks such as Salted Egg Fishskin Cracker (S$17.80), Almond Cookies (S$23.80), Golden Egg Roll (S$17.80) and more. Free islandwide delivery is provided for orders of S$88 or more.
Kele Pineapple Tarts
Pineapple Tarts: I have personally been eating more than my fair share of pineapple pastries and my favorite is the one from Kele Pineapple Tarts because theirs have a higher proportion of the pineapple filling vis-a-vis the pastry. I also like that their pastry possesses this delectable buttery and flaky texture. For about 30 years now, Kele pineapple tarts and pineapple balls are among the most sought after in Singapore, partly because of this reason and also because they have many different versions of their pineapple tarts. Aside from the traditional sort, they also produce Matcha Pineapple Tarts (S$32.80), Jade Pineapple Balls (S$29.80) with a fragrant pandan and coconut pastry and even Cocoa Pineapple Balls (S$29.80) which comes with a chocolate coating.
CNY Cookies: Equally popular are Kele’s array of cookies, perfect for sharing with visitors as tidbits. My personal pick is the Macadamia Nut Cookies (S$26.80) which contains an out-of-this world nutty flavor enhanced with a tinge of butter. For those with a preference for something more familiar, their Grandparents’ Almond Cookies (S$21.80) contain a drizzle of coconut milk alongside naturally sweet almonds.
Dates: Now until 28th January 2021
Order here (use the exclusive Kele promo code: WANDEREDHERE for extra 10% off on their cookies series)
This year marks the the 50th Anniversary of Shangri-La Singapore and Chef Mok has specially created a Red Bean Nian Gao with 50-year Tangerine Peel (S$58.80 / 900grams) to commemorate the milestone. A rare culinary gem, the 50-year aged tangerine peel is a rare culinary treasure befitting of the occasion, and gives this seasonal treat an extra boost of fragrance. Using only premium Japanese glutinous flour, red bean and sugar, this Red Bean Nian Gao is undoubtedly the highlight of this year’s Chinese New Year goodies. The Three-Layered Nian Gao (S$29.80 / 900 grams) which consists of Purple Sweet Potato, Japanese Pumpkin and traditional nian gao makes for a delightful and tasty delicacy for this Chinese New Year. The appealing combination of purple, yellow and brown colours convey well-wishes of a blooming and prosperous year ahead.
Other CNY goodies at Shangri-la Singapore include the Signature Walnut Cookies (S$28.80), Traditional Radish Cake with Dried Scallops & Chinese Sausage (S$28.80 / 900 grams) and Prosperity Pineapple Tarts (S$24.80) encased in an elegant box.
Dates: 11th January to 26th February 2021
SunnyHills needs no introduction. This Taiwanese sweets shop known primarily for its pineapple tarts is so popular among Singaporeans that it maintains a local presence in our tropical shores. Those who typically head to Taiwan to buy back these goodies will be delighted to note that many of the bestsellers are available here as well. The most popular is their Pineapple Cake Tart (S$30.80). This is done in typical Taiwan style in the shape of a rectangle. The butter shell is made with all-natural New Zealand butter, gourmet Japanese flour, and healthy plump-yoked eggs while the golden filling is made with their famous sun-ripened pineapples. Other popular items at SunnyHills include the Apple Cake Tart (S$19.40). The filling is made from Kougyoku red apples which originate from Tsugaru Fuji in Aomori Ken, Japan. Similar to their pineapple cake tarts, their apple cake tarts also contain no artificial additives and flavorings. For a more local flair, check out their D24 Durian Love Letters (S$13.20) which is made with natural ingredients and durian selected from Pahang.
They currently have a promotion where you can win a staycation at Raffles Hotel Singapore when you spend at least S$100 on SunnyHills products.
Dates: Ongoing (staycation giveaway only for puchases until 8th February 2021)
Order here (use promo code: SUNCNY10 for extra 10% off / free delivery with minimum S$35 spend)
Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium
For those with a sweet tooth, check out the CNY goodies from Xin Cuisine including Xin’s Signature Yam and Pumpkin Cake (S$48) or Xin’s Nian Gao with Coconut Sauce (S$48) that are specifically made in-house.
Dates: 7th January to 26th February 2021
Order here (15% off)
Sheraton Towers Singapore (Li Bai)
Mouthwatering goodies this year from Li Bai at Sheraton Towers Singapore include Traditional Nian Gao with Red Dates and Lotus Seeds (S$66.35 / 1kg), Radish Cake with Conpoy and Preserved Meat (S$66.35), Yam Chips (S$13.90) and Cashew Nuts (S$29.95 / 280 grams). For a slightly more unique CNY goodie, check out the Water Chestnut Cake with Osmanthus (S$66.35).
Dates: 21 January to 26 February 2021
Order here (15% off)
Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza
Savor in Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza’s CNY goodies which are all made inhouse. Bestsellers include their Signature Pineapple Tarts ($44); Bak-Kwah Cornflake Cookies ($44); Crispy Marshmallow Chocolate Cookies ($40); Crispy Rice Cornflake Slices ($40); Golden Nian Gao Tarts with Purple Sweet Potato ($32), Japanese Red Bean ($28), Cempedak ($32) or Yam ($28); Eight Treasures Cake ($66) and more. Among these, my personal pick is their Golden Nian Gao Tarts with Cempedak (S$32). It’s a seasonal treat that I have been ordering for the past 3 years and I just love the pronounced jackfruit flavor emanating from the chewy and well-textured nian gao tart.
Dates: 20th January to 26th February 2021
Man Fu Yuan presents a wide range of Chinese New Year goodies that are available for takeaways – perfect as gifts or as snacks to offer visitors at home. Highlights include Prosperity Pineapple Balls (S$39.80), Kueh Bangkit (S$38), Traditional Gula Melaka Nian Gao (S$38) and Almond Cookies (S$38).
Dates: Now to 26th February 2021
Order here (15% off)
To welcome a year filled with good fortune, traditional favorites and more treats await. Yàn’s housemade Prosperity Nian Gao ($22 / 700 grams) and the classic Pineapple Tarts ($28.80 / 450 grams) are popular mainstays. Other popular goodies include Salted Egg Yolk Cookies (S$28.80), Macadamia Nut Cookies (S$28.80) and Crispy Homemade Caramelized Walnuts (S$28.80).
Dates: 15th January to 26th February 2021
Bread Garden tends to specialize in seasonal goodies and Chinese New Year is no exception. Look out for one-of-a-kind treats such as Premium Charcoal Pineapple Tarts (S$25.80) which is blended with charcoal powder at the exterior for added detox benefits. Other innovative treats include the Mala Lotus (S$18.80) which is presented in chip form that everyone’s familiar with but with an added twist as it’s coated generously with mala powder for a fiery CNY experience. Alternatively, the Spicy Crabstick (S$17.80) makes for another piquant treat.
If you prefer something traditional, Bread Garden also carries CNY staples like Kueh Bangkit (S$19.80), Shrimp Rolls (S$19.80) and Love Letters (S$13.80).
Crowne Plaza Changi Airport
For ready-made CNY goodies to offer guests as well as to indulge yourselves in, Crowne Plaza Changi Airport offers a number of cute and edible items to light up any home. The Mahjong Pineapple Tart (S$38+) is especially instagrammable and pays homage to this popular CNY group activity. Other items to check out include the Koi Fish Ang Ku Kueh (S$18+), Koi Fish Nian Gao (S$68+) and Pandan Sugee Cookies (S$28+).
Dates: Now until 23rd February 2021 (collection from 1 to 26 February 2021)
Goodwood Park Hotel
Goodwood Park Hotel is known for its exquisite creations with every festive season. For CNY 2021, newly introduced creations include the Maple Butter and Almond Garlic Lotus Root Chips (S$36.80), Lucky Fortune Oranges (S$138), Gong Xi ‘Huat’ Cai! (S$78) pineapple crumble tart and Bountiful Box of Sweet Blessings (S$80) – a stunning collection of 15 petit tarts and cakes in a medley of flavors to please family and friends. The Lucky Fortune Oranges cake in particular, features a lucky set of six kumquat butter cakes with a vanilla butter cream layer, donned in fondant in the likeness of mandarin oranges. They sit in a ‘box’ of moist marble cake covered in a rich red fondant decorated with symbolic greetings and designs.
Dates: 24th January to 26th February 2021
Bake Inc can be thought of as a one-stop and fuss-free venue to purchase all the necessary CNY tidbits with its wide range and wallet-friendly prices. In total, they have about 18 kinds of festive tidbits and cookies to offer this year! Bestsellers include their Pineapple Tarts (from S$36.80 – buy 2 tins and get 1 free tin of shrimp roll), Kueh Bahulu (S$21.80) and Traditional Love Letters (S$22.80). They deliver the CNY goodies for free with minimum order of S$50. Otherwise, a S$3.99 delivery fee applies.
If cost is your primary consideration, Emicakes’ Pineapple Tarts are probably the cheapest “branded” ones out there, with each tin starting at only S$18.80 (30pcs per tin for pillow type tarts). They also currently have a promotion where you get 1 free tin of the pineapple tarts with every order of 4 tins. Alternatively, you can also purchase their pineapple tarts + kueh lapis combo starting from only S$29.80. Aside from these tarts, Emicakes is also offering customizable Chinese New Year cakes (from S$35.70). Customers can choose between D24 durian, chocolate truffle or eggless chocolate mousse with two sizes – 600 grams or 1.2kg.
Order here (up to 27% discount)
Mdm Ling Bakery
Cookies are the mainstay of Mdm Ling Bakery and for Chinese New Year 2021, they are offering a number of creatively made versions of the CNY staples. Popular variants include New Zealand’s Premium Anchor Butter Cookies (S$18.80 / 270grams), Pink Himalayan Salt Chocolate Almond Cookies (S$18.80 / 270 grams), Purple Sweet Potato Cookies (S$18.80 / 270 grams) and Green Pea Cookies (S$16.80 / 360 grams).
Order here (free delivery on orders above S$45)
The Fullerton Hotel
The Fullerton Hotel Cake Boutique is offering a number of unique CNY goodies to bring home this season. New creations include the Golden Peacock Pineapple Tarts (S$42 for 6pcs) and Wheatgrass Water Chestnut Cake (S$42 for 800grams). The buttery pineapple cookies are a yearly best-seller. The hotel has a tendency to shape their tarts in the corresponding animal zodiac but has chosen a peacock design this year. The wheatgrass-infused water chestnut cake on the other hand, can be eaten on its own or pan-fried the traditional way. A personal favorite is their Yam Paste Nian Gao Tart (S$33) which has a delightful texture and just the right balance of yam and the glutinous seasonal treat.
Another new creation this year is the Eight Treasures Gula Melaka Cake (S$69). Shaped like a pineapple, the cake is comprised of the eight treasures – wolfberries, red dates, chrysanthemum, dried longan, jasmine, Lilyturf root, dried lily buds and rock sugar. The cake is gently sweetened with Gula Melaka, layered with almond financier, pineapple mousse and Mandarin crème and topped with a sprinkling of gold leaf for a luxurious finish.
Dates: 21 January to 26 February 2021
Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore
Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore’s selection of handcrafted prosperity goodies such as Pineapple Tarts (S$42), Nian Gao (S$28/500grams) and Kueh Lapis (SS68) are great for bringing along to your reunion celebrations or as snacks to offer visitors. For gifting to business associates or loved ones, the Auspicious, Fortune or Prosperity hampers are available from SGD 188, and include either a bottle of Diplomático rum or Côtes du Rhône red wine. The hotel’s CNY goodies will be made available in Colony Bakery.
Dates: 15th January to 18th February 2021
Gin Thye’s Marshmallow Cookies (S$12) is personally one of the more tempting CNY goodies I have come across this year. Offered plain or with flavors such as strawberry and matcha, this handmade gooey snack is sure to draw some attention during house visits within the Lunar New Year period. Other popular products from Gin Thye include their Shrimp Rolls (S$12), Pineapple Tarts and more.
Order here (minimum S$30 spend for free CNY goodies delivery)