The time-honoured Dragon Boat Festival or 端午节 (duān wǔ jié) falls on 3 June this year. Yes, those glutinous rice dumplings a.k.a. 粽子 (zòng zǐ) a.k.a. bak chang are back! If you find the delectable parcels of sticky rice hiding delicacies under their leafy garb as irresistible as we do, then read on. Whether you’re a stickler for traditional versions or enjoy trying new varieties, you won’t want to miss out on the best classic and contemporary bak chang of the year.
1. Bak Kut Teh Rice Dumpling
Just for this festive season, Golden Peony launches chef’s speciality, Bak Kut Teh rice dumpling ($25.80 nett). After simmering with herbs for hours, meaty pork ribs are carefully wrapped in mushroom-scented glutinous rice. For an extra umami kick, pour over the savoury sauce it comes with.
- Sweeties Red Bean Rice Dumpling ($13.80 nett)
- Dried Velvet Mushroom 5-Grain Rice Dumpling ($22.80 nett)
- Singapore Black Pepper Chilli Crab, Prawn, and Bedford Scallops Rice Dumpling ($29.80 nett)
- Traditional ‘Hong Kong’ Style Rice Dumpling ($34.80 nett)
Available till 3 June at Golden Peony, Conrad Centennial Singapore. To order, call 6432 7482 or shop online (25% off till 22 May)
2. Hainanese Grandma Rice Dumpling
Wrapped in tradition, The Hainan Story’s Hainanese Grandma Rice Dumpling uses an age-old recipe passed down from a Hainanese grandmother. Each contains a generous chunk of braised pork belly, alongside chestnuts, peanuts, mushrooms, and salted egg yolk. Cuttlefish, lightly fried with dried shrimps and shallots, adds a unique crunch. Available in a bundle of four ($50+), they are best enjoyed with the accompanying bottle of Hainanese Sambal Chilli.
Available from 15 May to 3 June at The Hainan Story outlets. To order, WhatsApp 9178 2929 or shop online
3. Hae Bee Hiam with Winter Melon Rice Dumpling
This Dragon Boat Festival, Jade’s Chinese Executive Chef Leong Chee Yeng presents The Fullerton Classics. Headlining this new Nyonya-inspired selection is the appetising Hae Bee Hiam with Winter Melon Rice Dumpling. Umami-rich spicy dried shrimp and candied winter melon match each other to perfection. It is available exclusively in the Golden Treasures Hamper ($138 nett), which contains six dumplings, including Blue Pea Nyonya Rice Dumpling and Gourmet Bak Kwa with Yolk Rice Dumpling.
- Truffle and Trio Mushroom Five-grain Rice Dumpling ($16 nett)
- Nostalgia Five-spice Pork Rice Dumpling ($20 nett)
- Traditional Hong Kong-style Abalone Treasure Rice Dumpling ($48 nett)
Available till 3 June at Jade, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore. To order, visit The Fullerton Cake Boutique or shop online
4. Emperor’s Rice Dumpling
The grand Emperor’s Rice Dumpling ($16.80 nett) is a novel creation enhanced by Joo Chiat Kim Choo’s secret recipe boasting an intricate blend of 22 spices. Each bak chang is packed with the finest ingredients such as premium braised pork, dried scallops, Chinese sausage, salted egg yolk, gingko nuts, chestnuts, and shiitake mushroom.
- Kee Zhang (from $1.50 nett)
- Kee Zhang with Red Bean (from $2.50 nett)
- Hokkien Rice Dumpling (from $4.20 nett)
- Nonya Rice Dumpling (from $4.50 nett)
- Hokkien Rice Dumpling with Salted Egg Yolk (from $4.80 nett)
- Cantonese Bean Rice Dumpling (from $4.80 nett)
- Hakka Pork Belly with Preserved Vegetables Rice Dumpling (from $6.80 nett)
- Pulut Hitam Nonya Rice Dumpling (from $6.80 nett)
Available till 3 June at Joo Chiat Kim Choo outlets islandwide. To order, call 6272 5743 or shop online (20% off orders till 1 June; 15% off thereafter)
5. XO Dried Scallop Bak Zhang Onigiri
For something out of the ordinary, dig into Fiesta’s XO Dried Scallop Bak Zhang Onigiri ($4 nett). Each bite delivers dried scallop marinated in XO sauce, stuffed in glutinous rice with chilled pork belly, dried shrimp, chestnut, shiitake mushroom, Chinese sausage, and a blend of XO spices. The fun part? These classic bak chang ingredients are wrapped in seaweed onigiri-style!
- Pork Bak Zhang Onigiri ($3.50)
- Nyonya Pork Bak Zhang Onigiri ($3.50)
- Nyonya Chicken Zhang Onigiri ($3.50)
- Chestnut Mushroom Bak Zhang Onigiri ($3.50)
- Azuki Bean with Sweet Chestnut Onigiri ($3.50)
Available till 30 June at Kuriya Japanese Market outlets islandwide. To order, shop online ($6 for any 2 pieces, except X.O. Dried Scallop Bak Zhang Onigiri)
(See also: 9 Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas for Kids That Mums Love Too!)
6. Spicy Mala Pork Belly and Abalone Rice Dumpling
Spicing up the Dragon Boat Festival is Man Fu Yuan’s Spicy Mala Pork Belly and Abalone Rice Dumpling ($29.50 nett). It features pork belly braised to tender perfection in house-made spicy mala sauce. Together with abalone, mushrooms, and chestnuts, this new bak chang teases the palate with every bite.
- Black Sesame Lye Rice Dumpling ($12.50 nett)
- Red Bean Lye Rice Dumpling ($12.50 nett)
- Signature XO Sauce Nyonya Rice Dumpling ($17.50 nett)
- Signature Black Bean Chicken Dumpling ($17.50 nett)
- BBQ Honey Char Siew Dumpling ($17.50 nett)
- Traditional Hokkien Style Premium Rice Dumpling ($17.50 nett)
- XXL Jumbo Rice Dumpling with Chicken, Mushrooms, and Chinese Sausages wrapped in Lotus Leaf ($39.50 nett)
Available till 3 June at Man Fu Yuan, InterContinental Singapore. To order, call 6825 1008 or shop online (25% off orders till 15 May)
7. Laksa Dumpling with Sambal Chilli
Inspired by a local favourite, this rice dumpling stars a traditional spice mix of chilli, lemongrass, and laksa leaves. The creative dim sum chefs at Min Jiang have also packed shredded chicken and sakura ebi into the Laksa Dumpling ($32 nett for 2 pieces). It is best enjoyed with the accompanying house-made sambal chilli.
- Classic Hokkien-style Dumpling ($30 nett for 2 pieces)
- Bak Kut Teh Dumpling ($38 nett for 2 pieces)
- Hong Kong-style Dumpling with Homemade Soya Sauce ($38 nett)
Available till 3 June at Min Jiang, Goodwood Park Hotel. To order, visit The Deli or shop online (Hotel Gourmet Cardmembers receive 1 complimentary dumpling with every 10 purchased)
8. Specialty Truffle Char Siew Rice Dumpling
Truffle lovers can look forward to Paradise Group’s new Specialty Truffle Char Siew Rice Dumpling ($12.80+). A delicate truffle sauce ties together Duroc pork char siew, dried shrimp, mushroom, pork belly, chestnut, and salted egg yolk. The ingredients in this east-meets-west creation are embedded in glutinous rice that’s further enlivened with drops of truffle oil.
- Red Bean Paste Rice Dumpling ($6.80+)
- Pork with Conpoy and Chestnut Rice Dumpling ($11.80+)
- Salted Pork Belly Brown Rice Dumpling ($11.80+)
- Premium Abalone Rice Dumpling ($23.80+)
- Novel ‘Nonya’ Spicy Rice Dumpling (exclusively available in the Specially Curated Rice Dumpling Gift Set, $62.80+)
Available till 3 June at selected Paradise Group restaurants. To order, visit Taste Paradise, Paradise Teochew, Seafood Paradise, Beauty in The Pot, Paradise Dynasty, Canton Paradise, Paradise Classic, or Paradise Hotpot (10% off purchase of 4 or more dumplings)
9. Hokkaido Sweet Potato ‘Lava’ Rice Dumpling
Those with a sweet tooth will enjoy the Hokkaido Sweet Potato ‘Lava’ Rice Dumpling ($18.80+) from Peach Blossoms. Specially handcrafted by award-winning Executive Chinese Chef Edward Chong, the blue-speckled butterfly pea glutinous rice holds luscious purple Hokkaido sweet potato custard within.
- Hakka Kurobuta Pork Belly Rice Dumpling ($20.80+)
- Premium XO Cantonese Rice Dumpling ($38.80+)
- Blazing Pig Trotter Rice Dumpling ($128++, for dine-in only)
Available till 3 June at Peach Blossoms, PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay Singapore. To order, call 6845 1118 or shop online (up to 25% off orders till 22 May; 15% off thereafter)
10. Smoked Eel and Pork Tendon Dumpling
Look forward to table65’s Smoked Eel and Pork Tendon Dumpling, Chef Dayal’s first-ever attempt at making a bak chang. Black and white glutinous rice envelops melt-in-the-mouth braised pork tendon and Sakura wood-smoked eel from Germany. It’s one of five creations that make up Resorts World Sentosa’s Signature Dumpling Feast ($118 nett) this year.
Included in the price:
- Eight Treasures Dumpling (traditional Cantonese-style dumpling from Feng Shui Inn Executive Chef Li Kwok Kwong)
- Beef Cheek Dumpling (Chef Danny Fong from Osia Steak & Seafood Grill showcases Australian Sanchoku Wagyu and chunky cured chorizo)
- Zakkoku Okowa Dumpling (nourishing rice dumpling with savoury Japanese ingredients from Chef Noriyoshi Teruya of Syun)
- Sweet Banana Dumpling (RWS Chef de Cuisine Surangkana “Aae” Sub-Anan pays homage to the region’s love for coconut milk and banana desserts)
Available from now till 4 June at Feng Shui Inn and Malaysian Food Street, Resorts World Sentosa. To order, shop online (30% off orders for Maybank credit card holders)
(See also: 11 Meaningful Festivals that we Celebrate in Multiracial Singapore)
11. Truffle Pork Rice Dumpling with Salted Egg
While upholding the traditions of this longstanding festival, Shang Palace hopes to deliver a message of new hope and vitality. This luxe rendition of old-meets-new pairs the traditional bak chang with the robust flavour of black truffle. The Truffle Pork Rice Dumpling with Salted Egg ($21.80 nett) is also studded with braised pork belly and salted egg yolk.
- Black Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Japanese Purple Sweet Potato Custard wrapped with Mochi Dough ($18.80 nett)
- Dried Sarcodon, Vegan Chicken, and Organic Grains Vegetarian Glutinous Rice Dumpling ($18.80 nett)
- Traditional Nyonya Rice Dumpling ($19.80 nett)
- Shang Palace Signature Barbecued Pork Rice Dumpling with Yunnan Ham and Conpoy ($29.80 nett)
Available till 3 June at Shang Palace, Shangri-La Singapore. To order, call 6213 4511 or shop online (use promo code EBRD22 for 15% off orders till 15 May)
12. Oat Rice Dumpling with Mushrooms
TungLok’s handcrafted bak chang meld quality ingredients with time-tested recipes. For guilt-free indulgence, try the meatless Oat Rice Dumpling with Mushrooms ($6.80+). It packs vitamin-rich nutrients with nameko pearl mushroom and fresh king oyster mushroom encased in glutinous rice studded with oats.
- TungLok XO Rice Dumpling ($6.80+)
- Pork Belly with Preserved Vegetables Rice Dumpling ($6.80+)
- Honey Dates Rice Dumpling ($33.60+ for 12 pieces)
Available till 3 June at all TungLok restaurants. To order, shop online (receive 1 complimentary dumpling with every 6 purchased)
13. Unagi Abalone Dumpling
For Dragon Boat Festival 2022, Xin Cuisine Chinese Restaurant shines its spotlight on a lavish new creation. The Unagi Abalone Dumpling ($28.80 nett) promises a luxurious affair that hits all the right notes. Besides bursting with umami flavour, it’s also rich in nutrients that are essential for strengthening our immune system.
- Signature Red Lotus Seed Paste Dumpling served with Osmanthus Sauce ($12.80 nett)
- Xin’s Signature Home-made Traditional Dumpling ($16.80+)
Available till 3 June at Xin Cuisine Chinese Restaurant, Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium. To order, call 3138 2531 or shop online (20% off orders till 22 May; 15% off thereafter)
14. Steamed Spicy Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Black Pork Fillet and Diced Shrimps
Relish robust Sichuan flavours with Yàn’s Steamed Spicy Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Black Pork Fillet and Diced Shrimps ($22+). Australian black pork tenderloin and dried shrimps are stir-fried with Sichuan peppercorn, Sichuan peppercorn oil, and chilli oil. Pair it with Yàn’s house-made Yellow Bean Chilli Sauce to add another layer of spice.
- Steamed Glutinous Rice Dumpling with 6 Head Abalone, Roast Duck, and Lotus Seeds ($33.80+)
Available till 3 June at Yàn, for dine-in, takeaway, and delivery. To order, call 6384 5585 or shop online
(See also: May 2022: What’s In, Out, and About for Families in Singapore)
Featured image: Joo Chiat Kim Choo