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Wrapped in fragrant bamboo-leaves, rice dumplings, or zong zi as they are called in Mandarin or bak chang in Hokkien, started out as a festive treat during the Dragon Boat Festival. These days, they’re enjoyed all year round.  With the Dragon Boat Festival coming up (23 June 2012), restaurant chefs have taken the traditional treat to a whole new level. Here are six best new, innovative and delicious rice dumplings to try this year.

Stewed pork trotter dumpling
Szechuan Court, Fairmont Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Road, Singapore 189560; Tel: 6431 6156
Opening Hours: Noon to 2:30pm (Lunch), 6:30pm to 10:30pm (Dinner)

Szechuan Court - Stewed pork trotter dumpling

Stewed pork trotter dumpling

Price: $48++ per piece

Availability: From 8 to 23 June 2012

What’s under the wrap: Known for their supersized 1kg dumplings, Szechuan Court’s master chef Sebastian Goh has come up with this year’s rendition of the irresistibly succulent stewed pork trotter dumpling.  The pig trotter is slow-cooked to succulent perfection and infused with aromas and nutrients from the authentic Chinese herbs used.  This dumpling will be a hit with the older generations and is set to amaze with its aromatic and melt-in-your-mouth fillings.

 

Petite cool dessert dumplings
Crystal Jade My Bread outlets; Tel: 6512 0800
Opening Hours: 10am to 10pm (Mon -Sun)

Crystal Jade - Petite sweet corn ice dumpling

Petite sweet corn cool dumpling

Price: $2.70 for three pieces and $5.00 for six pieces

Availability: From 4 to 23 June 2012

What’s under the wrap:  If you want something different this year, try Crystal Jade’s sweet dumpling treat.  These desserts are inspired by local desserts and they come in the shape of dumplings. Choose from sweet corn cool dumpling – sweet corn mixed with evaporated milk, to black glutinous rice and sago cool dumpling – black glutinous rice cooked to tender stickiness with fragrant coconut milk, to cream cheese and peach cool dumpling made with cream cheese and canned peaches.

 

Steamed ‘kee zhang’ served with durian dip
Min Jiang, Goodwood Park Hotel, 22 Scotts Road, Singapore 228221; Tel: 6730 1704
Opening Hours: 11am to 2:30pm, 6pm to 10:30pm

Goodwood Park Hotel - Steamed 'kee zhang' with durian dip

Steamed ‘kee zhang’ with durian dip

Price: $4.80 for three pieces

Availability: From 8 to 23 June 2012

What’s under the wrap:  Famed for its durian pastries, Goodwood Park Hotel has taken a step further to tempt the taste buds of durian lovers this dumpling festival.  The mini steamed glutinous rice dumpling, or known as ‘kee zhang’ is paired with a heavenly D24 durian dip.  The rich durian dip gives the plain dumpling a power-packed flavour that explodes and lingers in your mouth.

 

Glutinous rice dumpling with goose web in abalone sauce
Man Fu Yuan, InterContinental Singapore, 80 Middle Road, Singapore 188966; Tel: 6825 1062
Opening Hours: 11:45am to 3:30pm, 6:30pm to 10:30pm

Man Fu Yuan - Glutinous rice dumpling with goose web in abalone sauce

Glutinous rice dumpling with goose web in abalone sauce

Price: $12.80 per piece

Availability: From 9 to 23 June 2012

What’s under the wrap: Just like the chicken feet dish at any dim sum restaurant, goose web is an acquired taste.  This is one of the most creative dumpling creations we have come across this year.  The glutinous rice is tossed in abalone sauce to soak in its rich flavour, and then wrapped together with traditional Chinese delicacies such as pork belly, peanut, mushroom and gelatinous goose web imported from France. Just like the dim-sum-style chicken feet, be prepared to work through the bones.  It’s a bit of a hassle to eat but it’s delicious.

 

Hong Kong-style rice dumpling
Mandarin Court Chinese Restaurant, 333 Orchard Road, Mandarin Orchard Singapore, Singapore 238867; Tel: 6831 6262/66
Opening Hours: Noon to 2:30pm (Mon – Fri), 11am to 2:30pm (Sat, Sun & PH), 6:30pm to 10:30pm (Mon – Sun)

Mandarin Court - Hong Kong-style rice dumpling

Hong Kong-style rice dumpling

Price: $22 per piece

Availability: From 5 to 23 June 2012

What’s under the wrap: If you are a meat lover, you will fall in love with the Hong Kong-style rice dumpling from Mandarin Court.  The savoury dumpling is packed with roasted duck, kurobuta pork, salted egg yolk, shiitake mushroom, chestnut, dried shrimp and lotus seed.  Celebrate the festival and enjoy this flavourful new creation by executive chef Sunny Kong with your family.

 

Mini treasures crystal dumplings
Peach Blossoms, Level 5, 6 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Mandarin Singapore, Singapore 039594; Tel: 6845 1118
Opening Hours: Noon to 2:30pm (Mon – Fri), 11am to 2:30pm (Sat, Sun & PH), 6:30pm to 10:30pm (Mon – Sun)

Peach Blossoms - Five treasures crystal dumplings

Five treasures crystal dumplings

Price: $28.80++ per set (5 pieces)

Availability: From 4 to 23 June 2012

What’s under the wrap: The hot weather here has inspired chefs to come up with interesting chilled dessert dumplings this year.  The kids and adults alike will be attracted to these brightly coloured crystal dumplings specially created by Peach Blossom’s dim sum chef, Kerene Cheng. There are five flavours to choose and our favourites are the refreshing Japanese-inspired yuzu dumpling with aloe vera and the lemongrass dumpling with mango, which is strongly reminiscent of Thai cuisine. Other flavours include the black sesame with sweet rice filling, peppermint dumpling with chocolate and dragon fruit dumpling.

If you are desired for traditional dumplings, you may want to try the following:

Traditional Cantonese rice dumplings
Taste Paradise, #04-07, ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn, Singapore 238801; Tel 6509 9660
Opening Hours: 11:30am to 3pm, 6pm to 11pm (Mon – Fri), 11am to 4:30pm, 6pm to 11pm (Sat, Sun & PH)

Paradise Pavilion, #02-01, Marina Bay Financial Centre, Ground Plaza, 8A Marina Boulevard, Singapore 018984; Tel: 6509 9308.
Opening Hours: 11:30am to 3pm (Mon – Fri), 11am to 4pm (Sat, Sun & PH), 6pm to 11pm (Daily)

Paradise Group - Rice dumpling with pork belly

Rice dumpling with pork belly

Price: From $3.80 to $19.80 per piece

Availability: From 9 to 23 June 2012

What’s under the wrap:  If you are looking for Cantonese-style rice dumpling, try the traditional rice dumpling with pork belly, salted egg, green bean and peanuts ($6.80 per piece) at Taste Paradise and Paradise Pavilion. For a more luxurious treat, try their deluxe rice dumpling with abalone that is loaded with a wonderful mix of roasted duck, roasted pork, pork belly, mushroom, dried scallop, green bean, chestnut, and salted egg ($19.80 per piece, for 2 to 4 persons).  If you prefer something sweet, go for their rice dumpling with lotus paste ($3.80 per piece).

 

Traditional Hokkien rice dumplings
Tien Court, Level 2, 403 Havelock Road, Copthorne King’s Hotel Singapore, Singapore, 169632; Tel: 6318 3193/ 198
Opening Hours: Noon to 2:30pm, 6:30pm to 10:30pm

 

Tien Court - Traditional Hokkien rice dumpling

Traditional Hokkien rice dumpling

Price: From $8.80+ to $25.80+ per piece

Availability: From 8 to 23 June 2012

What’s under the wrap: If you like those dark Hokkien variation dumplings, celebrity master chef Ho Tien Tsai at Tien Court will woo your palate with his traditional Hokkien rice dumpling. This savoury dumpling is packed with mouth-watering ingredients including shrimp, onion, black mushroom, salted duck egg, pork belly, chestnut and glutinous rice. You can also opt for the premium version which includes generous ingredients such as abalone, dried scallop, roast pork belly, chestnut, salted egg yolk, shiitake mushroom, dried shrimp and glutinous rice.

See also: More rice dumplings 2012.

Author: Javan Ng
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