Festive dumplings

Is it me or are rice dumplings just better during the Dragon Boat Festival?

Rice dumplings are hardly a rare find in Singapore.

You can get high- and low-end versions year round, but the restaurants seem to get more creative during this period.

As a fan, I'm extremely happy.

These are diet-killers, but there's nothing more satisfying than a taste of these ingredients-filled carbo-loaded parcels of tastiness.

Here are five worth working out for. Tell yourself that after the festival on June 2, you can abstain till the next year.

The dumpling offering from Xin Cuisine at Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium has pedigree.

Xin's Signature tea leaf duck and dried scallop dumpling ($18.80) is a rendition of its Tea Leaf Duck dish, which bagged the coveted Silver Award for Best Dish of 2012/2013 by Chaine des Rotisseurs Bailliage de Singapour.

Besides duck, it also has braised pork, dried scallop, salted egg yolk, green bean and red bean.

To order, call 6731-7173. The dumpling is available till June 2.

Din Tai Fung has brought back its rice dumpling with flavoured pork ($6) for the season.

A marinade - made from a secret recipe containing 15 spices and condiments - adds flavour to the pork belly. The glutinous rice used is from Taiwan.

It is available till June 2, but until the end of next month, you'll get a free red bean rice dumpling if you spend $90 at Din Tai Fung.

The Hong Kong-style rice dumpling ($32) at Fairmont Singapore's Szechuan Court is a meal in itself.

It is packed with roasted pork belly, barbecued pork, roasted duck, Japanese flower mushrooms, salted egg yolk, yellow beans, dried shrimps and chestnuts.

It's available till June 2. To order, call 6431-6156. The restaurant needs two days' notice.

For an interesting take on the dumpling, try the Chinese herbal salted chicken rice dumpling ($18.80) from Pan Pacific Singapore.

For those fond of Chinese herbs, there is dang gui, dang shen (codonopsis root) and yu zhu (Solomon's seal).

For those less fond of such combinations, there are dumplings with Japanese mushrooms, dried scallops and chicken thigh.

You can eat this at Hai Tien Lo or buy it to take away. For orders and inquiries, call 6826-8240.

The festive food at Hua Ting Restaurant at Orchard Hotel is always reliable and its dumplings are no exception.

One of its new creations this year should already be a classic: Rice dumpling with stewed pig trotter and preserved "mui cho from Hong Kong ($12.80).

Who doesn't love a good dose of the mui choy's subtle saltiness?

For reservations and takeaway orders, call 6739-6666.

This article was published on May 21 in The New Paper.

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