The annual Dragon Boat Festival is a time of merriment; a traditional holiday commemorating filial piety where merrymakers revel in food, wine and dragon boat racing. Given the lunisolar Chinese calendar, the festival, which occurs on the 5th day of the 5th month of the traditional Chinese calendar, varies each year on the Gregorian calendar. Also known as the Duanwu Festival, some of the more popular activities include preparing and eating the delicious sticky rice dumplings, known as the zong zi. For this year’s festival, which falls on May 30, here’s where to get the best ones:
#1 Man Fu Yuan
Bak chang lovers will be spoilt for choice at Man Fu Yuan. The restaurant is serving up seven rice dumpling flavours. The two new highlights are ginseng chicken with red dates and black truffle pork belly. The humble dumpling is elevated by premium ingredients like Korean ginseng and X.O. chilli sauce, the latter being a customer favourite.
Intercontinental Singapore, 80 Middle Rd, Tel: 6338 7600
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#2 Min Jiang
While the restaurant specialises in Sichuan and Cantonese cuisine, its dumpling offerings this year are distinctly Singaporean. Min Jiang’s ‘black and white’ rice dumplings come in a popular sambal shrimp filling, and there is also a more adventurous option – an aromatic Mao Shan Wang dip for durian lovers.
Goodwood Park Hotel, 22 Scotts Rd, Tel: 6730 1704
#3 Li Bai
Li Bai’s selection of rice dumplings include the new Wagyu and matsutake mushroom rice dumpling, packed with Australian Wagyu beef and the priced matsutake mushroom. There is also an abalone and pumpkin option, and of course, one can never go wrong with the the traditional flavour.
Sheraton Towers, 39 Scotts Rd, Tel: 6839 5623
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#4 Hai Tien Lo
If a modestly-sized bak chang is not fulfilling enough for you, indulge in Hai Tien Lo’s traditional Cantonese jumbo rice dumpling. Can’t decide on one? The restaurant has a gift set with all three flavours and a bottle of their signature X.O. chilli sauce to pair with.
Pan Pacific Singapore, 7 Raffles Blvd, Tel: 6826 8240
#5 Golden Peony
Famed for their London duck, Golden Peony incorporates the succulent roast duck meat into a rice dumpling. Or try the chilli crab one – it’s filled with delectable chunks of claw meat. For something lighter, the mushroom-filled vegetarian alternative is no less satisfying.
Conrad Centennial, 2 Temasek Blvd, Tel: 6432 7482
Story originally appeared on The Peak.