From celebrity chef restaurants to humble hawker stalls, here’s a comprehensive list of where to get your fix of bak zhang or glutinous rice dumplings this Dragon Boat Festival.
This year’s Dragon Boat Festival, also known as 端午节 (Duanwu Festival), falls on Monday, 18 June. Occurring on the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar every year, this traditional holiday sees Chinese families the world over preparing and enjoying glutinous rice dumplings (粽子) or as Singaporeans know it best, bak zhang. Some prefer the traditional savoury Chinese or Nyonya rice dumplings, while others enjoy trying new-fangled variants each year. Whichever tickles your palate, the choices are endless, so go ahead and indulge before the season is over!
GOURMET RICE DUMPLINGS FROM AWARD-WINNING RESTAURANTS
1. Celebrity Chefs Restaurants, Resorts World Sentosa
Five celebrity restaurants at Resorts World Sentosa have once again collaborated to create a signature Dumpling Festival Package ($98 nett) this year. The five are, namely, Feng Shui Inn’s New Territories Village Traditional Rice Dumpling (also available for dine-in at $48, serves 4 persons), X.O. Dumpling with Seafood by local celebrity chef Sam Leong at Forest, Tangerine’s Organic Grains, Lotus Seed and Seaweed Dumpling, Spiced Beef Cheek Dumpling from Michelin-star Osia Steak and Seafood Grill and Syun’s Unagi Dumpling.
Click here to learn more about the five dumplings. Available till 18 June at Feng Shui Inn, Crockfords Tower G2. To order, call 6577 6688 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Cherry Garden, Mandarin Oriental Singapore
Select from Cherry Garden’s trio of delectable dumplings. Catering to the health-conscious is the new Five Grain Rice Dumpling ($16; above), a mélange of brown rice, glutinous rice, black glutinous rice, sorghum and millet. It contains chicken floss, chicken sausage, minced chicken, black-eyed peas and oyster sauce. Black Garlic Rice Dumpling ($18) returns with sea whelk, preserved vegetables, bamboo charcoal powder, black garlic and kurobuta pork. The plump Golden Pearl Rice Dumpling ($28) rounds out the trio with slow-braised baby abalone accentuating the classic pork belly, chestnut and mushroom combination.
Available for dine-in and takeaway orders till 18 June at Cherry Garden. To order, call 6885 3500 or email email@example.com
3. Golden Peony, Conrad Centennial Singapore
Making its debut at Golden Peony this year is the ‘Gou Bu Li’ Rice Dumpling ($22.80 nett; above). The melt-in-the-mouth dumpling is made with Iberico pork collar and salted egg yolk. Another new flavour is the healthy Vegetarian Multigrain Rice Dumpling ($16.80 nett) filled with monkey-head mushrooms. Also new is the Green Tea Lotus Paste Rice Dumpling ($12.80 nett) for a sweet treat. Back by popular demand are the X.O. Sauce London Duck Rice Dumpling ($24.80 nett) and Traditional Hong Kong Style Rice Dumpling ($32.80 nett).
Available till 18 June at Golden Peony. To order, call 6432 7482, email firstname.lastname@example.org or shop online
4. Grains & Hops, YOTEL Singapore
The innovative kitchen crew at Grains & Hops has shaken up the traditional glutinous rice recipe to give it a modern spin. This season’s highlight is the Deconstructed Pork Belly Dumpling, served with succulent pork belly steeped in a secret marinade. Glutinous rice is topped with chestnuts, mushrooms and braised peanuts for a well-rounded flavour in each bite. Enjoy it alongside a unique array of other inspired styles of dumplings such as Cream Cheese and Chicken Ravioli.
5. Hai Tien Lo, Pan Pacific Singapore
New offerings at Hai Tien Lo include the Classic Pork Knuckle Dumpling with Yam and Peanut ($17.80; above) and sweet-savoury combination of Brown Rice Dumpling with Salted Egg and Corn ($8.80). Perennial favourite Traditional Jumbo Rice Dumpling ($31.80) returns, packed with dried scallops, Japanese mushroom, pork belly and salted egg yolk. To enjoy with loved ones, get the Classic Rice Dumplings Gift Set ($68.90) and Premium Rice Dumplings Gift Set ($88.90). Each consists of a selection of dumplings packaged with a bottle of Signature Homemade XO Sauce or Sweet and Sour Bean Paste Sauce.
Available for dine-in and takeaway orders till 18 June at Hai Tien Lo. To order, call 6826 8240, email email@example.com or shop online
6. Hua Ting, Orchard Hotel Singapore
Having just bagged “Best Dinner Experience (Asian)” and “Award of Excellence” accolades at the G Restaurant Awards 2018, Hua Ting commemorates this Dragon Boat Festival with a pair of house-crafted bestsellers. Unlike most pyramid-shaped ones, the signature Hong Kong Style Rice Dumpling ($32.80) is shaped like a rectangular golden pillow. Whole abalone, roast duck, roast pork, dried scallops, mushrooms, salted egg yolk and chestnuts are bundled within. The other classic on the menu is the Cantonese ‘Kee Chang’ with Red Bean Paste ($6.80).
Available till 18 June at Hua Ting. To order, call 6739 6666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
7. Jade, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore
From Jade’s Chinese Executive Chef Leong Chee Yeng comes the new Red Vinasse Pork Glutinous Rice Dumpling ($12 nett; above). It’s filled with diced pork cooked in red yeast and flavoured with dried scallops, red beans, chestnuts and Shiitake mushrooms. Or savour the Traditional Salted Pork Glutinous Rice Dumpling ($12 nett) flavoured with five-spice powder. The Vegetarian Five Crops Cordyceps Fungus Glutinous Rice Dumpling ($10 nett) is a healthy option, packed with oats, barley, brown rice and nourishing cordyceps fungus. To enjoy all three, order the Golden Treasures set ($68 nett), comprising two of each dumpling presented in traditional baskets.
Available till 18 June at The Fullerton Cake Boutique. To order, call 6877 8943 or shop online
8. Man Fu Yuan, InterContinental Singapore
The new highlight at Man Fu Yuan is the Barbecued Smoked Char Siew Rice Dumpling ($12.80 nett; above). It features slices of the Cantonese restaurant’s signature Kagoshima pork belly char siew. The Hokkien-style Rice Dumpling ($9 nett) is another new treat featuring five-spice seasoned pork belly, chestnuts and salted egg yolk. Perennial favourites will be also be available, such as the signature X.O. Sauce Nyonya Rice Dumpling ($10.80 nett). For a taste of nostalgia, enjoy the sweet Red Bean Lye Rice Dumpling ($8 nett) scented with orange peel.
Available for dine-in and takeaway orders till 18 June at Man Fu Yuan. To order, call 6825 1062, email email@example.com or shop online
9. Mitzo Restaurant & Bar, Grand Park Orchard
Mitzo Executive Head Chef Nicky Ng has curated three luxe rice dumplings, beginning with the Mitzo Signature Rice Dumpling ($38). It features traditional ingredients such as pork belly, braised duck, pork ham, salted egg with dried shrimps and scallop. The Rice Dumpling with Abalone, Pork and Salted Egg ($24) also packs premium abalone and dried scallops. For a non-savoury option, there’s the Red Dates Rice Dumpling ($6). You can purchase them individually or in a set of three ($68).
Available till 18 June at Mitzo. To order, call 6603 8855 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
10. Peach Blossoms, Marina Mandarin
The new Rice Dumpling with Abalone, Sakura Ebi and Foie Gras ($21.80; above) offers a creative blend of textures. The Traditional ‘Hakka’ Pork Belly Rice Dumpling ($15.80), on the other hand, is a nostalgic package of braised pork belly. Same goes for the classic Hong Kong Style Rice Dumpling ($28.80) with abalone, conpoy, pork belly and salted egg yolk. The Multigrain Rice Dumpling with Abalone, Conpoy and Pork Belly ($18.80), and the Vegetarian Multigrain Rice Dumpling with Cordyceps Flower, Black Truffle and Mushrooms ($11.80) are great healthy choices. Or go for the Peach Blossoms Dumpling Gift Set ($68.80), comprising four different varieties in a lovely red box.
Available till 18 June at Peach Blossoms. To order, call 6845 1118, email email@example.com or shop online
11. Shisen Hanten by Chen Kentaro, Mandarin Orchard Singapore
Two-Michelin-star Shisen Hanten features rice dumplings crafted by Executive Chef Chen Kentaro this season. Leading the way is the signature Hong Kong-style Rice Dumpling ($22.80 nett) made with roast duck, roast pork, Shiitake mushroom, chestnut and dried scallop. Also back by popular demand is the Abalone Dumpling ($25.80 nett) featuring premium baby abalone and pork belly. Health-conscious families will enjoy the Multigrain Vegetarian Dumpling ($11.80 nett) with Shiitake mushroom, lotus seed, black-eyed bean, peanut and chestnut. The Assorted Dumpling set ($65 nett) lets the whole family enjoy the delicious variety together.
Available till 18 June at Shisen Hanten & Mandarin Orchard Singapore’s Festive Counter. To order, call 6831 6262 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
12. Song Garden Chinese Restaurant, Mercure Singapore Bugis
In celebration of the festival, Song Garden Chinese Restaurant is debuting two traditional rice dumplings packed with luxurious ingredients. First, the Song Garden Signature Rice Dumpling ($23.80), a timeless Cantonese classic now featuring 12-head abalone. It also contains dried scallop and shrimp, roast pork belly, green bean, salted egg yolk, mushroom and lotus seed. The Vegetarian Rice Dumpling with Lotus Seed Paste served with Sweet Sauce ($6.80; above) is another classic. The glutinous rice is treated with lye water and packed with smooth lotus seed paste.
Available for dine-in and takeaway orders till 18 June at Song Garden Chinese Restaurant. To order, call 6521 9299 or email email@example.com
13. Summer Palace, Regent Singapore
Dim Sum Chef Leong Kwok Sing introduces two new handcrafted rice dumplings in homage to the summertime harvest. Taking inspiration from Michelin-star Summer Palace’s signature pumpkin seafood soup is the Healthy Five-grain Vegetarian Pumpkin Dumpling ($22; above). A blend of five nutritious grains holds pumpkin, morel mushroom, bamboo pith, lotus seed and green beans. It also comes with a house-made creamy pumpkin sauce. The Dried Oyster, Sea Moss and Kurobuta Pork Dumpling ($28) also uses flavourful pork trotter for a less fatty option. Other options include Abalone Steamed Rice Dumpling ($38) and Red Bean Paste with Osmanthus Honey Rice Dumpling ($13).
Available for dine-in and takeaway orders till 18 June at Summer Palace. To order, call 6725 3288 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
14. Summer Pavilion, The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore
Celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival with Summer Pavilion’s one and only rice dumpling offering this year. The Michelin-star restaurant has decided to focus on perfecting just one variety – a traditional Rice Dumpling ($22). Each contains roast duck, roast pork, dried scallop, dried shrimp, salted egg yolk, mushroom, lotus seed, chestnut and green bean.
Available till 18 June at Summer Pavilion. To order, call 6434 5286 or email email@example.com
15. Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant, Carlton Hotel Singapore
Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant is presenting two traditional savoury rice dumplings this year. The first is the decadent Rice Dumpling with Conpoy ($17.60; above). The parcel of fragrant glutinous rice contains Japanese scallops, roast pork, roast duck, chestnut, mushroom, salted egg and red bean. The other is Rice Dumpling with Salted Egg Yolk ($9.20), stuffed with pork belly, chestnut, salted egg and red bean.
Available till 18 June at Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant. To order, call 6311 8188, email firstname.lastname@example.org or shop online
16. Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant, Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel
New from Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant is the Red Vinasse Chicken Rice Dumpling ($16 nett). Replacing the traditional pork are chunks of chicken thigh meat marinated in a piquant Red Vinasse sauce, accompanied with black-eyed beans and a savoury egg yolk. Also debuting is the wholesome Black Truffle 5-Grain Vegetarian Rice Dumpling ($14 nett) boasting fibre-rich grains and savoury ingredients. A third debutante is the Coconut, Brown Sugar, Red Bean and Chestnut Rice Dumpling with Palm Sugar Sauce ($12 nett; above). Dine in to enjoy it with Coconut Ice Cream. Can you guess which local dessert inspired it? Purchase a set of four rice dumplings elegantly packaged in a premium gold box at 20% off.
Available for dine-in and takeaway orders till 18 June at Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant. To order, call 6831 4605 or visit www.singaporemarriott.com/dining
17. Xin Cuisine Chinese Restaurant, Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium
Seafood aficionados must savour the new Superior Fish Maw and Cod Fish Dumpling ($28.80 nett), complete with dried scallop and salted egg yolk. Another new creation is the perfect match of Truffle and Pork Belly Dumpling ($18.80 nett; above). The bestselling Abalone, Foie Gras and Tea-smoke Duck Dumpling ($38.80 nett) makes a popular return. Purists will appreciate the Xin Cuisine Home-made Traditional Dumpling ($12.80 nett or $58 nett for a bundle of six), while the elegant Osmanthus, Gingko Nut and Chinese Date Paste Dumpling ($10.80 nett) is ideal for afternoon tea. For one of each, go for the Rice Dumpling Bundle ($88 nett).
Available till 18 June at Xin Cuisine Chinese Restaurant. To order, call 6731 7173, email email@example.com or shop online
18. Yàn, National Gallery Singapore
Enjoy a family get-together and savour the authentic Wu Jiao Zong Zi ($10) or five-cornered dumpling. The Cantonese-style glutinous rice dumpling packs a generous serving of braised pork belly, conpoy, dried shrimp and salted egg yolk. The rectangular base pyramid-shaped package is surely as traditional as it gets.
Available for dine-in and takeaway orders till 18 June at Yàn. To order, call 6384 5575 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
19. Yan Ting, The St Regis Singapore
Mainstay offerings from Yan Ting’s masterchefs include the Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Pork Belly and Salted Egg Yolk ($22). Or up the luxe factor with the Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Abalone and Golden Dried Scallops ($38). It’s filled with assorted premium seafood, roast duck, pork belly, chestnut, salted egg yolk, shiitake mushroom and lotus seeds. Those seeking healthier alternatives will enjoy the Vegetarian Black Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Mixed Grains and Black Truffle ($18). Can’t decide? Then get the best of three worlds with the Glutinous Rice Dumpling Gift Set ($68).
Available for dine-in and takeaway orders till 18 June at Yan Ting. To order, call 6506 6887 or email email@example.com
DELIGHTFUL RICE DUMPLINGS FROM POPULAR RESTAURANT CNS
20. Crystal Jade
A must-try for spice-lovers, the ‘Mala’ Rice Dumpling ($8.80, E-store exclusive bundles of $24.80 for three or $39.80 for five; above) is a new offering from Crystal Jade this year. It contains Spanish pork collar and pork shoulder marinated in a proprietary ‘mala’ blend for a fiery kick. Another new creation is the Assorted Mushroom with Pork Belly Dumpling ($7.80, E-store exclusive bundles of $21.80 for three or $36.80 for five). A mix of Shiitake, king oyster and white button mushrooms infuses an earthy aroma to each mouthful. The Premium Rice Dumpling with Abalone ($19.80) and Rice Dumpling with Five-Spice Marinated Pork ($7.80, E-store exclusive bundles of $21.80 for three or $36.80 for five) are also available.
21. Din Tai Fung
If you’ve never tried Taiwanese-style rice dumplings, then head to Din Tai Fung this season. Specially air-flown from Taiwan, the Red Bean Rice Dumpling ($5.50) is handmade with pearl rice generously stuffed with the finest red bean paste. Here in Singapore, succulent pork is steeped in 15 secret spices and condiments to create the Rice Dumpling with Flavoured Pork ($6.50; above). Note that these are available in limited quantities, so hurry before they’re all sold out this season. But we’ll let you in on a little-known secret: the dumplings are actually available year-round, although in limited quantities, so do check in at your favourite Din Tai Fung outlets for availability.
Available for dine-in and takeaway orders at Din Tai Fung outlets islandwide
22. Imperial Treasure
Three flavourful rice dumplings are available from Imperial Treasure this festive season. The decadent Dried Scallop Rice Dumpling ($13.80; above) is generously packed with dried scallops, roast pork, roast duck, pork belly, salted egg yolk and mushroom. The Cantonese classic Traditional Pork Rice Dumpling ($5) is a popular favourite, each bite showcasing tender pork belly. Set to deliver some sweet nostalgia is the Lotus Paste Rice Dumpling ($4). The smooth taste of premium lotus seed paste perfectly complements the chewy glutinous rice.
Available for dine-in and takeaway orders till 18 June at Imperial Treasure restaurants. A “Buy five get one free” takeaway promotion is available at selected outlets
23. Taste Paradise, Paradise Teochew Restaurant, Canton Paradise
New from the Paradise Group of restaurants comes Salted Egg Yolk, Pork and Sakura Ebi Rice Dumpling ($8.90), a combination of pork belly, lotus seed, mung bean, chestnut and dried shrimp. For a luxe option, the Premium Abalone Rice Dumpling ($23.80) features a whole 10-head abalone within. The Deluxe Pork Dumpling with Conpoy and Chestnut ($10.80) also contains dried scallop and Shiitake mushroom. Adding a mouthwatering aroma and taste are deep-fried shallots and five-spice powder. The old-school Lye Dumpling with Red Bean Paste ($5.20) makes for sweet endings. The Paradise Dumplings Bundle ($48.70) lets you try all four.
Available for dine-in and takeaway orders till 18 June at Taste Paradise, Paradise Teochew and selected Canton Paradise outlets
FOR EVEN MORE RICE DUMPLINGS
Of course, you can always depend on your favourite heritage shops that specialise in old-school bak zhang all year round:
24. Hiong Kee Dumplings
Second-generation owners of Hiong Kee Dumplings continue to prepare old-school Hokkien and Nyonya-style rice dumplings the same way since it originated as a street stall in Hokkien Street in 1982. Located at #02-37 Hong Lim Food Centre. Click here for more details
25. Hoo Kee Bak Zhang
Hoo Kee Bak Chang has been serving up traditional authentic Hokkien ‘bak zhang’ since 1948. Each dumpling boasts the best cuts of meat and chestnuts, with salted duck egg yolk and Shiitake mushroom variants also available. Located at #01-18 Amoy Street Food Centre & #01-3735, 161 Bukit Merah Central. Click here for more details
26. Kim Choo Kueh Chang
Specialising in Nyonya-style rice dumplings, Kim Choo Kueh Chang has been a mainstay in Singapore’s rice dumpling culture since 1945. The Hokkien-style ‘salty’ dumplings are also available. Kim Choo Kueh Chang’s flagship store is located at 60 Joo Chiat Place. Also available at these official locations or shop online
And for ultimate convenience, there are always the rice dumpling chains with counters in malls islandwide:
27. Daun Pandan Rice Dumpling
Known for its Nyonya-style glutinous rice dumplings, Daun Pandan Rice Dumpling also has innovative flavours like Black Pepper Chicken and classics such as Kee Chang with Red Beans. Available in various locations islandwide
28. Eastern Rice Dumpling
A third-generation business whose recipe has been passed down for about 30 years, popular variants include Nyonya Rice Dumplings with Chilli Shrimp and XO Salted Egg Rice Dumpling. Available in various locations islandwide, or shop online
Or why not learn to make your own rice dumplings? You can do so as a family – for free! – at this year’s Wan Qing Dumpling Festival:
29. Wan Qing Dumpling Festival 2018
Credit: Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall
The Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall is presenting an exciting weekend of activities associated with the Dragon Boat Festival. The Wan Qing Dumpling Festival 2018 lets you learn more about the history and cultural significance behind this much-loved festival. Learn to stuff, wrap and tie your own glutinous rice dumplings the traditional way – and enjoy them afterwards! Kids can also take part in the ‘Little Carp’s Adventure’ Heritage Hunt, get creative with sand art and kite painting, and enjoy interactive storytelling and crafting sessions. Other happenings include a festive activity trail, photography workshops, a roving balloon artist and an #InstWorthy 3D Photowall. Each day ends with an exciting evening showcase of cultural performances from LED dragon dance to Chinese acrobatic arts.
The Wan Qing Dumpling Festival 2018 takes place on 16 and 17 June from 10am to 9.30pm at the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, 12 Tai Gin Road. Admission is free. Click here to learn more
Unless otherwise stated, all prices above may be subject to 10% service charge and/or 7% GST
Header image: Imperial Treasure
Feature image: InterContinental Singapore