Traditional Bites : Old Seng Choong Pineapple Tarts
The Chinese New Year season here in Singapore has always been extra special for Paul and I. Wanna know why? It was when we opened a new chapter in our lives as we moved to this beautiful country a couple of years ago. I can still remember flying in on the 1st day of CNY and we both noticed how unusually quiet the whole city was. Apparently, it's tradition here that shops close to allow people to go attend their family gatherings for two full days. Days after that, we had our first try of the lo hei and we got to try a couple of traditional snacks that's really new to us too -- pineapple tarts, countless types of nuts and chips, bak kwa and more! It's interesting to see how different a particular holiday is being celebrated in this part of the region.
The Year of the Rooster is just around the corner and we're starting to have our fill of our favorite CNY snacks. Not to mention, we're both looking forward to doing numerous rounds of lo hei all throughout the season. It will be a fun and prosperous year, I can totally feel it! Let's start with the Pineapple Tart. We got these two pretty boxes from Old Seng Choong where we got to try 4 of their newest flavors -- Rose, CharGold Bak Kwa, Coconut and Yuzu.
Do you know why Pineapple Tarts are one of the more popular Chinese New Year snacks? It's because pineapple is ong lai in Hokkien which sounds like "prosperity arriving". Thus, pineapple is a widely used ingredient in most Chinese New Year snacks and dishes. No complains here as I loveeee pineapples all the more when you make it into a jam and fill it inside a buttery pastry. Yummy!
There's also an option should you prefer to buy two flavors in one box such as the Coconut and Original Pineapple Tarts (S$23.80 / 10 pieces) or the Rose and Yuzu Pineapple Tarts (S$24.80 / 10 pieces). In addition to these tarts, they also got the traditional cakes on sale such as Yam Cake, Nian Gao, Red Date Cake and Carrot Cake. Yummy!
Let me tell you more about the individual flavours:
1) CharGold Bak Kwa Pineapple Tart (S$28.80 / 10 pieces)
For one thing, it doesn't look like your typical pineapple tart. Covered in charcoal powder which is said to help ease digestion, take a closer look and you'll see tiny gold specks for that touch of class too. Inside is a generous serving of bak kwa slices and pineapple jam which is interestingly yummy. If you like salty sweet combination then you'll surely love this. I surely did!
This was definitely our favorite flavor among the four! We both love the combination of coconut bits with the citrus-y pineapple filling. It reminds me of a coconut macaroons with a very Chinese feel.
3) Yuzu Pineapple Tart (S$24.80 / 10 pieces)
A year ago, Yuzu seemed like the flavor of the season! Holiday log cakes, mooncakes, cookies, candies and ice cream were all yuzu flavored! I'm so glad it's making a comeback and this combination made perfect sense especially for those who wants the strong citrus taste.
4) Rose Pineapple Tart (S$24.80 / 10 pieces)
I got to admit that I was really hesitant to try this as I never really liked rose or anthing that tastes like fragrant stationary. However, Paul convinced me to just give it a try and I was quite pleased that it has a lychee-like taste and not much of the stationary-tasting/smelling one.
*photos by Paul Ang
Check out Old Seng Choong's stall at Takashimaya Square B2 Level, 391 Orchard Road, Singapore 238893. You may also do your CNY shopping online! (pssst...big discount when you purchase online!)