Dragon's Breath and other unusual finds at Chinese New Year bazaar

Dragon's Breath and other unusual finds at Chinese New Year bazaar
PHOTO: The Straits Times

More than 400 stalls along Pagoda, Smith, Sago, Temple and Trengganu streets are selling the usual festive wares and foods at the annual Chinese New Year street bazaar in Chinatown.

The bazaar, organised by the Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizens' Consultative Committee, runs daily till next Friday, the eve of Chinese New Year.

New this year is YouthEats at Temple Street, where 12 entrepreneurs can be found serving not your standard Chinese New Year treats, but shabu burgers and dragon's breath, a trendy new dessert that makes you look like you are breathing out smoke.

The Straits Times susses out six new or unusual finds at the bazaar.

Dragon's breath dessert

Dragon's Breath DessertPhoto: The Straits Times

It may be the Year of the Rooster that is arriving, but one stall at the bazaar will have you channelling your inner dragon.

At Smoke Out, dragon's breath is a dessert that has one breathing out smoke like the mythical creature while biting on crunchy meringue cookies.

The sweet treat is the latest food trend that is popping up all over social media. The smoke is due to the use of liquid nitrogen, at a temperature of minus 196 deg C, which is tossed with the cookies.

The stall's owner, Mr Irvine Chen, 31, got the idea to sell the dessert after watching a YouTube video of it in Seoul.

He sells the cookies in eight flavours, including chocolate, mango and Oreo. He says the dessert is not dangerous to consume, but customers need to blow on the cookies before popping them in their mouths to prevent frostbite.

There are instructions at the storefront on how to do it safely.

Where: Along Temple Street next to Sri Mariamman Temple and closer to the South Bridge Road entrance Open: 5pm - midnight daily Cost: $7 for a mixed cup and $8 for a one-flavour cup

Charcoal and organic love letters

Charcoal and Organic Love LettersPhoto: The Straits Times

Black may not be the colour of choice for the Chinese during this season, but it makes for an eye-catching shade for festive treats.

At Noelle Grandma's Cookies, the black charcoal love letters stand out in a sea of light brown cookies. The taste is similar to that of regular love letters.

Setting up shop at the bazaar for the first time this year, the home-grown business is also selling another unique item - organic love letters. The black beans used to prepare the treat are organic and the skin is stripped so that even gout patients can enjoy the love letters without worry.

Other unusual flavours available include nasi lemak and pizza cookies.

Where: 17 Temple Street Open: 2pm - midnight daily Cost: From $10.80 for a box of cookies

Shabu burgers

Shabu BurgerPhoto: The Straits Times

If you are hungry, try the beef or chicken shabu burgers by two graduates of culinary school At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy.

Sceptical of the content of some burger patties, Mr Lee Tong Hong, 24, and Mr Denny Lai, 26, decided to come up with burgers made using thinly sliced meat doused in a secret marinade. The smoky teppanyaki-like flavours of the meat are nicely balanced with caramelised onions and a cheese or citrus herb sauce.

The two friends started their roving food business, What's That Food, last year and are part of the new YouthEats initiative at the bazaar.

Where: Along Temple Street next to Sri Mariamman Temple and closer to the South Bridge Road entrance Open: 2 - 11pm daily Cost: $5 for a chicken burger and $6 for a beef burger Info: www.facebook.com/wtfoodsg

Frozen flowers

Frozen FlowersPhoto: The Straits Times

Decorate your home with brightly coloured micro chrysanthemums that need little care and attention.

Freezing technology is used to help the pretty flowers, which are imported from Japan, to survive for up to a decade. They need to be watered only once a month and should be kept indoors, away from sunlight. They will not grow taller.

At the stall Freezy Flower, the dainty flora sits alongside adorable figurines of iconic cartoon characters such as Hello Kitty and Doraemon.

Where: 24 Temple Street Open: 4 - 11.30pm daily Cost: From $15 to $38 Info: www.facebook.com/Freezyflowersg/

Metal Chinese teapots

Metal Chinese TeapotsPhoto: The Straits Times

Ceramic Chinese teapots are a dime a dozen in Chinatown, but one stall stands out at the bazaar for selling intricately designed cast-iron teapots made in Taoyuan, Taiwan.

The teapots can be put on display or used to make tea, says the company, Chun Jheng Enterprise from Taiwan, which is at the bazaar for the first time.

The teapots are in shades of black and gold, with floral designs or Chinese characters signifying good fortune, prosperity and happiness. Some pots have lids with flowers for knobs.

Where: Pagoda Street, next to Sri Mariamman Temple Open: 3 - 10.30pm daily Cost: From $18 to $750 for a teapot

Diamond-shaped lanterns

Diamond-shaped LanternsPhoto: The Straits Times

Think Chinese New Year decor and round, red lanterns spring to mind. Stand out from other homes with patterned diamond-shaped lanterns instead.

Available at the House Of Lanterns, these are shaped like hot air balloons and include hand-painted floral motifs on white fabrics. The stall also has lanterns in other materials, including silk and artificial leather, as well as revolving LED red lanterns.

The lanterns are made locally or sourced from places such as China, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Where: Smith Street, next to Chinatown Complex Open: 11am - midnight daily Cost: From $2 for a small paper lantern, $5 for a small nylon lantern and $10 for a small fabric lantern

This article was first published on Jan 20, 2017.
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