There could be a few reasons why you might be skipping out on the smorgasbord of Chinese New Year meal offerings.
They could be too expensive (some can run into hundreds of dollars), too traditional (same old ingredients, recipes and flavours), or served up in family reunion-sized portions too heavy to consume (if you happen to be dining alone or watching your diet).
There’s no need to go hangry in the Year of the Tiger. Try our prime pickings of some of the novelest chow to be found out there in the F&B jungle, that are as appetising as they are kind to your wallet.
1. Heavenly Wang’s 旺derful Blossom Bundle, $6.60 (U.P. $7.40)
What we love about this: the clever, punny name, the value-for-money price, and that it’s a full drink-and-main set meal.
The best festive bit? That it’s crafted with vibrant colours and taste. This bundle features an Eastern twist on a Western brekkie item, the Yuzu Ham Blossom Open Toastie. Topped with chicken ham, cream cheese and yuzu, this “Wang-derful” toasted slice will tingle your taste buds with both the savoury and the sweet.
Paired with a refreshing floral-fruity Iced Osmanthus Pineapple Tea (it’s only available for a limited time only, btw), the bundle should perk you up for all of the days into the Lunar New Year.
BONUS: SAFRA members enjoy 10% off a la carte purchases at Heavenly Wang at SAFRA Mount Faber and SAFRA Toa Payoh, a well as 5% bonus value when topping up their WANG loyalty card.
2. Popeyes Lousiana Kitchen’s Mala Cheesy Chicken meals, from $8.80
It’s no secret that SG foodies love all things mala. Hurrah, then, that this fast food chain has decided to combine this hot flavour with two equally “hot” (read: beloved) food items, cheese and chicken, for the CNY festivities.
This is the creation: Mala-flavour coated fried chicken, drizzled with cheese sauce. If this cheesy, crispy and spicy heartburn-inducing guilty pleasure is too much for you, cool down with its Yuzu Coleslaw and Passion Fruit Green Tea ($8.80 for a Mala Cheesy Set).
You can also deepen the pleasure by opting for the Mala Cheesy Combo (it comes with 2-piece Tenders for $10.80) or share the guilt with a bud with the Mala Cheesy Feast ($18.80) that comes with another Popeyes Chicken Sandwich main and more.
3. PlayMade x Jia Jia Milk Tea drinks, from $4.20
Bubble tea isn’t exactly a food item, is it? Let us qualify this by saying, firstly, for some of us, BBT is a bona fide Singapore daily diet staple, and secondly, we chew on the pearls and not slurp them down, do we not? So, yes, in our eyes, bubble milk tea with pearls are desserts-slash-drinks.
In any case, this collaboration is too novel not to include in this list of festive eats. Take the traditional Jia Jia Herbal Tea canned liang teh, hipster-fy it through the lens of Taiwanese bubble tea brand PlayMade… and shazam! You got yourself this herbal- and milky-tasting concoction.
Choose either to have it on its own (from $4.20 for a Medium) or add some gold, Jia Jia Herbal Tea-infused boba pearls (from $1.20 for a Medium portion) for extra chewy goodness.
And, if you can’t get enough of this collab or want to bring it as a house visit gift, there’s the Uncle Jia Jia Huat You Kit ($26.80) that comes with Win Big Big playing cards, 2 packs of Super Huat red packets, 2 PlayMade x Jia Jia Milk Tea vouchers and 6 cans of Jia Jia Herbal Tea.
4. IKEA’s Lunar New Year 2022 menu, from $2
This is how you do “Swedishporean” (Swedish and Singaporean) Chinese New Year dining in SG: Head to an IKEA restaurant. Like the furniture retail giant’s wares, the food’s easy-on-the-budget, tasty and even looks good to boot.
Here’s the rundown for the mains: Plant ball with mala spaghetti ($8), Mala pork ribs and vegetable money bag with golden fried rice ($13.80), and 8 treasures lotus leaf rice ($8).
To share: Mala chicken wings (6 pieces for $10).
And for the kids (and also, everyone else, because it’s totes adorbs): Little tiger bun with kaya filling ($2).
Also, there’s a special CNY Platter Set ($28.80) with Mala pork ribs, half spring chicken, salmon fillet, meatballs and vegetable money bags that’s only available at the Jurong outlet.
Plus, at the halal-certified resto at Tampines, there are two recently-introduced dishes: Salmon lasagne with mixed vegetable ($9.90) and Roasted chicken whole leg with lemon sauce and butter raisin rice ($7.90), which are great if you want to get together with your Muslim friends and family members during the CNY period.
5. The Hainan Story’s new dine-in dishes
Like almost all Chinese restaurants during the Chinese New Year period, this Hainanese food specialist is also offering an indulgent feasting package (the Imperial King of Hainanese Abundance for 6 to 8 pax; $488). But, let us point you to the cheaper but no less delish, new offerings in its “Grandeur of Happiness” dining-in menu.
There’s the East-West fusion Mozzarella & Bak Kwa Pork Corden Bleu with Prosperity Pineapple Sauce ($16.80), a cut of breaded and deep-fried heaven stuffed with mozzarella cheese and pork bak kwa, accompanied by house-made Hainanese pineapple sauce. Then, there’s Fen Pi Laksa ($9.80) that’s elevated with a “unique sort of springy gelatinous noodle”.
Another spiced-up take on a humble dish: the Hainanese Curry Porridge with Deluxe of Goodness ($8.80), that’s chicken porridge cooked with jasmine rice, served with handmade pork balls, sliced pork, cuttlefish and mini crispy you tiao, and finished with a splash of curry gravy.
And, get your tongue twisting in delight with the sweet Nian Gao Tart ($2.80), which sees glutinous sticky rice paste blended with coconut cream custard, brown sugar and gula melaka, baked in a crumbly tart shell, coated with gold dust and sprinkled with desiccated coconut flakes.
Trust us, all your “hmmms” will turn into “yums!” when you’ve tried them all.