Happy 2020, everyone! It’s crazy how fast time flies, eh?
Spring will soon be upon us, and with that comes Chinese New Year (CNY) and the multitude of highly-anticipated CNY bazaars that follow. While establishments scurry to take down and store away all their Christmas collaterals and products, one, in particular, has already gone full swing into the CNY sales to give you a head start on getting ready for the festivity – even before the calendar year ended!
Decked out in red and gold at the extensive basement two event square of Takashimaya Shopping Centre with oriental tunes streaming in the background, the CNY Fair organised by Takashimaya Department Store is hard to miss. This year, the fair sees the participation of 67 local and international vendors that offer an assortment of seasonal treats to cater to all household needs and traditions. That’s right, whether you are of Cantonese or Peranakan descent, you are sure to find something here that strikes your (or your elders’) fancy!
Click here to download the list of vendors and their locations
Continue to let your taste buds revel in savoury bliss with homegrown delights from returning vendors, such as Butter Studio, Home’s Favourites, Juz Bread, Kele, My Mum’s Cookies, HarisAnn’s, and Old Seng Choong, all of which are known for their confectionery and pastries like pineapple tarts and sugee cookies. Of course, one cannot miss the presence of CNY staples, such as bak kwa from Bee Cheng Hiang and dried seedless persimmon from Korea-originated Abana that you can consider filling your snack tray with.
Also joining the ranks of these old-timers are new but familiar establishments such as Golden Moment (made famous by their durian charcoal snow skin mooncake but they are stocking up on their durian ice-cream this time), Mdm Ling Bakery (look out for their melt-in-your-mouth butter cookies!), The Lapis Place (known for their creative spin on traditional kueh lapis like pineapple lapis, a flavour exclusive to Takashimaya), One Farrer (try their homemade golden pineapple tarts and gawk in wonder at their Rice Bucket with Gold Coin Bucket Cake on display!) and Eureka (with its super addictive popcorn). Furthermore, famed Fukuoka ramen chain Ichiran will be making a pop-up appearance in Singapore once again to satisfy your famished belly with its limited-edition aromatic Tonkotsu Ramen retail packs, albeit only from 8 to 16 January (limit to 400 packs per day) at the fair and will replace the redemption counter that currently sits at its spot.
Despite the long history of some of the brands mentioned here, their efforts in keeping up with evolving times are evident in the smorgasbord of unconventional yet trendy flavours they offer. If you ever pass by Garden Pastry and Cake‘s booth, request to sample their Raspberry Snow Cookies (that is, if they’re still available because these little pink cookies made with US-imported pure raspberry powder are so highly sought-after, I won’t be surprised if the attendants become too stingy with the samples) – just one small portion of it is enough to make you crave for more! Trust me, I even bought two tins of the cookies immediately after sampling them because they’re just so soft and cake-like! If not for the fact that I might end up with a sore throat, I would have gotten three for 15% off the total purchase!
The Cookie Museum is another local establishment that prides itself on creating one-of-its-kind Singapore heritage-flavoured cookies like Pandan Chiffon, Shrimp Laksa and Chicken Rice. How intriguing, right?! These are perfect for your foreign guests who may not get the chance to try the actual dishes since shutters of most hawker stalls will be shut during the CNY period 😜 Otherwise, you could also opt for a safer choice – Champagne Lychee which is a go-to flavour of mine. Don’t worry, the alcohol concentration in it is as good as nil so yup, perfectly family-friendly.
The culinary adepts would be thrilled to find lots of reunion dinner ideas at The Market Place – a section dominated by imported and prime meats, seafood and condiments essential for preparing lavish and wholesome meals. Instead of rice, you could opt for some wholesome handmade, air- and sun-dried wheat flour noodles from Taiwanese brand Yi Lai Shuen (一来顺) that would merely take 30 seconds to prepare. Top it with one of its signature sauces (black bean, XO, mushroom, chilli bean, garlic chilli.. just to name a few) and voila! A restaurant-standard dish (minus the nasty MSG and preservatives) is prepared 😁 Then, end the meal on a sweet note with delicacies from Pat Chun, a producer of many sauces from Hong Kong which also makes to-die-for desserts and snacks like radish cake and nian gao, as well as their latest nutty additions – Curry Cashews and Spicy Garlic Almonds.
Apart from the edibles, you can also find CNY decorations and gifts for your loved ones overseas when you pay them a visit this festive season. Send your well-wishes for good health by gifting top-grade traditional Chinese medicinal food products from trusted brands such as Thye San Medical Hall and Wing Joo Loong. Alternatively, you could also gift your modern/westernised relatives contemporary tea sets from Pryce Tea or the limited-edition Golden Heritage Bloom from NestBloom.
There are many other stalls which I won’t be able to feature in this write-up without boring the pants off you, so your best bet would be to head down to the fair yourself! As the fair is sure to grow more crowded in the days to come, do plan your schedule ahead of time (i.e. mark out the booths you want to visit first), or drop by on weekday afternoons. Do also remember to head down with an empty stomach (and arm yourselves with a bottle of water to cleanse your palate!) as you will be invited to try a lot of food samples as you comb through the aisles.
Will you be making a trip down to the fair? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!