Rice to the occasion
Go chi-chi this dragon boat festival with these high-end rice dumplings
The season of gourmet rice dumplings is back.
Once a year, during the duanwu jie (or dragon boat festival), I ignore the "buy from coffee shop auntie" type of dumplings and head straight for the ones made by chefs.
It is great to have a choice and some of these high-end rice dumplings are really good. Just remember to give the heartland businesses some support the rest of the year.
Here are some chi-chi dumplings to try, which are all available till June 20:
1 BRAISED PORK BELLY
The Braised Pork Belly with Black Garlic dumpling ($14.75) from Min Jiang (Goodwood Park Hotel and One-North) had me hooked on the smoky garlic. The dumpling also contains chestnuts, salted egg yolk and slow-cooked pork belly.
Call 6730-1704 (Goodwood Park Hotel) or 6774-0122 (One-North) to order.
2 CHICKEN RICE
Now that we are celebrating SG50, there are so many local flavours to champion, even in a dumpling. At Shang Palace (Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore) it is the SG50 Pandan Chicken Rice Dumpling ($17.10), inspired by chicken rice, with meat from chicken drumsticks, Chinese mushroom and green beans.
To order, call 6213-4473.
3 CHILLI CRAB
Park Palace (Grand Park City Hall) is offering an iconic Singaporean dish as a dumpling. The Singapore Chilli Crab dumpling ($8.80) is a new creation with shredded crab meat and whole claws. It is tricky to eat but delicious.
To order, call 6432-5543.
Mandarin Orchard Hotel is offering an interesting option. Its Japanese chef Chen Kentaro, who helms the Chinese restaurant Shisen Hanten, is offering a Nonya dumpling.
The XO Nyonya Dumpling ($8.80) has XO sauce, a Nonya sauce with roasted pork belly and dried shrimp. It is as multicultural as it gets.
To order, call 6831-6262.
The Steamed Abalone and Pumpkin Rice dumpling ($36) has been a favourite at Li Bai (Sheraton Towers Singapore Hotel) and for a good reason - it is a delicious mix of sweet and savoury.
To order, call 6839-5623.
6 SAMBAL CHILLI
Here is something new: A spicy rice dumpling.
The Fullerton Hotel Singapore's Jade is offering the Spicy Sambal Chilli Marinated Chicken with Turmeric Glutinous Rice dumpling ($9.80). It is inspired by Nonya cuisine, with a gorgeous colour, thanks to the turmeric and sambal chilli.
To order, call 6877-8178.
A high-end vegetarian option is the Eight Treasures Vegetarian Rice Dumpling ($22) from Summer Palace at Regent Singapore.
It has seven grain variations, including oat, brown rice, buckwheat, lentils and pearl barley, as well as morel mushrooms, bamboo piths and chestnut.
To order, call 6725-3288.