This year’s dumpling delights feature plenty of local dish-inspired flavours and more options for the health-conscious.
Dragon Boat Festival, also known as Duan Wu Jie, commemorates the life of Qu Yuan. He was a third century BC poet and minister who drowned himself in a river when he heard that his beloved Chu kingdom was captured by the Qin state. Legend has it that village folk rowed out in their boats after him, throwing rice cakes into the water so that his body wouldn’t be harmed. While the dumplings we see today are getting more new-fangled by the day, the ancient spirit of celebrating a scholar’s passion and patriotism lives on.
This year’s Dragon Boat Festival falls on 7 June, with several dragon boat events held around this time, such as the DBS Marina Regatta 2019 at Marina Bay on 31 May-2 June and the Singapore Dragon Boat Festival at Bedok Reservoir on 13-14 July. Even if you’re not a fan of the races, tradition is as good enough a reason as any to indulge in these sticky rice morsels, large or small, sweet or savoury. Some of these more unusual highlights may just strike your fancy.
For fans of the piquant flavours of Singapore-style white pepper crab, Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant’s new white pepper crab rice dumpling ($18 per piece) will be a dream of a dumpling. It’s savoury, mildly spicy, and chock filled with indulgent slivers of crab meat. To order, head here.
Level 3, Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, 320 Orchard Road. Tel: 6831 4605
If you love your unagi rice bentos, imagine tucking into Japanese restaurant Syun’s pyramid heap of grilled unagi, shiitake mushrooms, and sakura ebi seasoned with shiro goma and sansho kinome. Enjoy it via the RWS five-in-one takeaway King of Dumplings Set ($108), featuring premium dumplings from Tangerine, Forest 森, Osia Steak and Seafood Grill, Syun and Feng Shui Inn. For information and reservations, head here.
#02-135 & 135A Crockfords Tower, 26 Sentosa Gateway. Tel: 6577 6867
Chef Mok Kit Keung, formerly of two-Michelin starred Shang Palace Kowloon, gets creative this season with several new offerings, including the eight treasures dumplings with mixed grains ($20.80) made with nutrition in mind. Reminiscent of a Chinese calligraphic scroll, this work of art uses a bamboo tube to encase a rice dumpling of cordyceps flowers, red dates, wolf berries and organic quinoa. Make an order here.
Tower Wing, Lobby Level, Shangri-La Hotel. 22 Orange Grove Road. Tel: 6213 4398
For those who are game to try plant-based pork, go for the vegetarian five-grain and assorted mushrooms with Omnipork glutinous rice dumpling. Omnipork, made with ingredients such as pea, non-GMO soy, shiitake mushroom and rice, is pan-fried with ginger and added to grains such as oats, barley and brown rice to form a wholesome treat. To order, contact The Fullerton Cake Boutique at 6877 8943 or head here.
Fullerton Hotel Singapore, 1 Fullerton Square. Tel: 6733 8388
Mitzo’s innovative dumpling offerings this season stay true to their gaudy interiors and modern Cantonese cuisine. Try one of their floral renditions, the sweet rice dumpling with rose lotus paste ($8) made with white lotus paste, rose tea and glutinous rice. Make an order by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or clicking here.
Level 4 Grand Park Orchard. 270, Orchard Road. Tel: 6603 8855.
Get set for a nutritious parcel packed with flavour via Golden Peony’s Chinese wine, Sakura chicken and salted egg yolk dumpling ($24.80). Otherwise, if you’re a crazy seafood lover, go for the Singapore chilli crab, prawn and whole Bedford scallop dumpling ($28.80). For reservations, call 64327482/88 or email sinci.goldenpeony @conradhotels.com.
Level 3 Conrad Centennial Singapore 2 Temasek Boulevard. Tel: 6334 8888
One of Hai Tien Lo’s new offerings this year is crystal dumpling with red bean and sago ($8.80). This sweet treat uses sago instead of the usual rice to form the outer crust of the dumpling, giving it a diamond-esque shiny hue. Enjoy them on their own or as part of the Premium Rice Dumpling Gift Set ($95.15). For orders, email email@example.com, call 68268240 or head here.
Level 3 Pan Pacific Hotel 7 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Square. Tel: 6336 8111
Purple-hued with an oozy centre, Peach Blossom’s blue flower rice dumpling with Japanese sweet potato and egg custard ($12.80) would make a light sweet ending to a raucous family meal. Otherwise, try their rice dumpling with rendang kurobuta and otah ($12.80), which has a rich aroma of local curries. To order, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 6845 1118.
Level 5, Marina Mandarin Singapore. 6 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Square. Tel: 6845 1000