Chinese New Year goodies celebs love to pig out on

Local stars describe in yummy detail which snacks they like to hog during CNY

Chinese New Year goodies celebs love to pig out on
Chinese New Year goodies celebs love to pig out on
22 Jan 2019

Chinese New Year goodies celebs love to pig out on

When it comes to food, celebrities are just like us. They have their guilty pleasures and comfort foods that they can’t say no to. With Chinese New Year just two weeks away, we caught up with some local stars to find out what festive goodies they are most looking forward to pigging out on. Warning: Don’t read this when you are hungry.

Zoe Tay
Zoe Tay
22 Jan 2019

Zoe Tay

Favourite CNY snacks: Sunflower seeds and nuts

Regardless of how busy Zoe is, she always makes time for her festive shopping at the Chinatown bazaar so she can check out and sample new varieties and flavours of seeds and nuts like black groundnuts and even leopard print ones.

“I like sunflower seeds too and during Chinese New Year, you can find flavoured ones at the bazaar. I am very skilled at eating them – you have to bite and twist to shell it. I think I started snacking on them after I had a pet squirrel. I used to watch it eat and decided to try it for myself. I snacked on this so often that everyone called me a bird. But I don’t eat shelled sunflower seeds. The joy is in shelling it by mouth,” said Zoe.


Chen Hanwei
Chen Hanwei
14 Jan 2020

Chen Hanwei

Favourite CNY food: Yu sheng

Hanwei loves to lou hei so much that he can eat yu sheng all throughout the festive season (he already had his first session two weeks before Chinese New Year). But not just any yu sheng - he particularly loves the one from vegetarian eatery Ci Yan Vegetarian Health Food at Smith Street, which the lady boss makes specially for him.

“It is made by the auntie and she has her own ‘pattern’. She uses ingredients that are not commonly found in yu sheng, like fried yam slices and different types of fruits. It is like a salad – crunchy, healthy, simple, but very nice. I can eat it as a main dish. I won’t get sick of it regardless of how much I eat,” he said.

Desmond Tan
Desmond Tan
22 Jan 2019

Desmond Tan

Favourite CNY snack: Love letters

Forget mass produced love letters (“they taste like plastic!”), Desmond only wants the handmade ones – extra points if they are done the old school way over a charcoal flame. During his heyday, he could polish an entire tin of egg rolls in one day, despite his queer way of savoring them.

“I used to unroll the love letter and nibble it bit by bit, but over the years I’ve become lazy. I have OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) so I cannot stand it when people eat it downwards like they are drinking from a straw and the crumbs end up all over the floor. I have to eat [with the egg roll pointing upwards]. I do this also because I have dogs and I don’t want them to pick up the scraps,” revealed Desmond.

Photo: Toggle 

Xiang Yun
Xiang Yun
22 Jan 2019

Xiang Yun

Favourite CNY snack: Pineapple tarts

We have not seen anyone as crazy about pineapple tarts as Xiang Yun. Not only would she stock up on a variety of pineapple tarts, she would go around sampling them at her friends’ homes during visitations. Despite this, she is quite the pineapple tart snob. Only the homemade ones (preferably the “enclosed” version so there’s more pastry to pair with the filling) are worth her calories.

“I really like the ones my friend makes. She uses peanut oil, as opposed to butter, to make the pastry so it is very fragrant. When you bite into it, you can taste the peanut followed by the sweet pineapple filling,” said Xiang Yun. “But she doesn’t bake them every year and sometimes I have to beg her for it.”

Photo: Toggle, TPGOpen/CLICK PHOTOS

Kayly Loh
Kayly Loh
15 Jan 2020

Kayly Loh

Favourite CNY snack: Pineapple tarts

Like Xiang Yun, Kayly loves pineapple tarts and the golf ball-sized ones from Le Cafe are her absolute favourite. The actress tells us these are the only pineapple tarts she buys and it is normal for her to finish an entire tub in one sitting. Serious.

“I will just put the entire ball in my mouth. It is very big but at least I don’t lose any crumbs. I love the pastry more than the filling. Sometimes I find that they are too generous with the filling. I would love to ask them to just give me the pastry,” she revealed. Very weird, this one.

Photo: Kayly Loh, Instagram/@lecafe_sg

Chase Tan
Chase Tan
14 Jan 2020

Chase Tan

Favourite CNY snack: Gummy candy

Who would’ve guessed that the actor and sportsman would have the palate of a kid. Nothing gets him more excited than gummy candies in all shapes, flavours, and forms. In fact, his parents already have a stash ready for him.

“See - I really have it at home,” said Chase while showing us a photo of his favourite candy. “My parents buy it ‘cos they know I like to eat it. I can finish the entire box but I don’t eat so much of it anymore because it’s fattening. I am already 30 years old leh. If I feel a little bloated from the Chinese New Year feasting, I will go for a jog or do some push-ups before I sleep. It makes me feel better.”

Photos: Chase Tan

Shane Pow
Shane Pow
22 Jan 2019

Shane Pow

Favourite CNY snack: Kuih Loyang

The first thing Shane heads for at the Chinese New Year snack table is kuih loyang, or honeycomb cookies. Crunchy, aromatic and addictive, Shane prefers his cookies sweeter and sprinkled with sesame seeds. “The nice ones don’t smell of oil. And how I enjoy it is I will nibble around the edges first before eating the middle. It also helps to kill time,” laughed Shane.

Photo: Instagram/@shanwpowxp

Jeffrey Xu
Jeffrey Xu
22 Jan 2019

Jeffrey Xu

Favourite CNY snack: Seaweed crackers

Though Jeffrey rarely spends Chinese New Year in Singapore, he hankers for one local snack each year – seaweed crackers made by one of his fans. “They are so fragrant and addictive!” raved Jeffrey. “Those that are homemade somehow taste different from store-bought ones, so I find this rather special. I usually just take one bottle from her because I shouldn’t be eating so much of it. It is very salty and heaty!”

Chen Liping
Chen Liping
22 Jan 2019

Chen Liping

Favourite CNY food: Bak kwa

A list on Chinese New Year goodies would not be complete without perennial favourite bak kwa (barbecued meat jerky). At the top of Liping’s list is the fragrant and tender sliced pork jerky from Lim Chee Guan, which sees insanely long queues during the festive season each year.

“I like the sliced pork bak kwa, not those made with minced meat, and the bacon ones are good too. Actually I prefer the loose pieces that they sell, like the ends or chao tar (burnt) bits because those are the best parts. They aren’t so good for you health-wise, but they are very smoky,“ said Liping.

Ian Fang
Ian Fang
14 Jan 2020

Ian Fang

Favourite CNY snack: Bak kwa

Also a fan of bak kwa is Ian, who not only indulges in it during Chinese New Year, but also buys it as gifts for his friends and relatives in Shanghai ‘cos the ones here are more “authentic”. His go-to rou gan is the one from Bee Cheng Hiang, which his shi fu Christopher Lee endorses and helps him procure every year so he doesn’t have to queue for it himself.

“It is best enjoyed with smoky and hot whiskey. Trust me! First, you heat up a bit of bak kwa in the microwave for 10 seconds so it sizzles slightly. Then, you take a bite, put the rest in the whiskey, and take a sip. It is really good!” he gushed. Perhaps he can offer this pairing at his restaurant, House of MU?

Photo: Toggle, Bee Cheng Hiang

Wong Jinglun
Wong Jinglun
22 Jan 2019

Wong Jinglun

Favourite CNY food: Hakka abacus seeds

What Jinglun craves for the most are traditional Hakka delicacy abacus seeds, or suan pan zi, a sautéed yam gnocchi dish that his grandmother used to make during Chinese New Year. “I am Hakka so we will eat abacus seeds (which signifies wealth) during Chinese New Year. But it is very labour-intensive and my grandma is getting on with age, so I haven’t had it in a few years,” said the Taiwan-based singer-host.

Photo: Toggle, TPGOpen/CLICK PHOTOS

Carrie Wong
Carrie Wong
22 Jan 2019

Carrie Wong

Favourite CNY snack: Pistachio nuts

Carrie is a hardcore pistachio lover (you could say she’s nuts about nuts). She likes the nut in all forms (even pistachio tea) and gets her fix all year round. In fact, if you looked in her bag right now, you’d probably find a pack of it in there. Though you can buy pistachios shelled, she prefers to eat them straight out of the shell because “they just taste better”.

“I have a habit. I will remove all the shells first and then eat them all in one go. Actually I am someone who hates to shell food, be it prawns or nuts, but my love for pistachios overcomes everything. I am willing to do it for pistachios,” said Carrie. Now that’s true love.

Photo: Toggle, TPGOpen/CLICK PHOTOS

Romeo Tan
Romeo Tan
22 Jan 2019

Romeo Tan

Favourite CNY snack: Kueh bangkit

Romeo is a purist when it comes to kueh bangkit and every year, he will stock up on the ones from local brand Home’s Favourite. Airy, milky, with a coconut-y aftertaste, the actor is so obsessed with these melt-in-your-mouth cookies that he can inhale half a bottle in one go.

“I like the traditional ones, not those with special flavours. But I will keep the good ones in my room and leave those that are not so fresh in the living room for guests. Shucks, my mum is going to scold me when she reads this!” confessed Romeo.

Andie Chen
Andie Chen
22 Jan 2019

Andie Chen

Favourite CNY snack: Nian gao fritters

Though most festive goodies are out of bounds for Andie due to his allergies – anything with eggs and milk are no-nos – one snack that he can freely indulge in are nian gao (glutinous rice cake) fritters, a specialty of wife Kate Pang (she even makes her own nian gao!). Instead of coating sliced nian gao in egg batter, Kate wraps them in wanton skin before pan-frying. The result? A flaky pastry that is crispy on the outside, and chewy and soft on the inside.

“I’m not sure if she adds any secret ingredient but it is very delicious. And sometimes fried nian gao can get very messy if you leave it sitting out for too long but hers is very neat. It looks a bit like a square samosa,” said Andie.

Photo: Toggle, TPGOpen/CLICK PHOTOS

Paige Chua
Paige Chua
22 Jan 2019

Paige Chua

Favourite CNY snack: Spicy shrimp rolls

Also a fan of mini popiah snacks is Paige, but she likes them with the spicy hae bi hiam (dried shrimp) filling, though the super-disciplined actress only allows herself a few pieces of the treat: “It is spicy, a little sweet, plus I like fried food and savoury food so it’s got a little bit of what I like in there.

“But I won’t buy it myself because if I do, I will finish the entire bottle. I will just have a few at my parents’ place. I read that you’re only supposed to have five pieces – and that’s already a lot of calories. I’ve definitely taken more than five in one shot and I felt super guilty after that.”

Photo: Toggle, TPGOpen/CLICK PHOTOS

Zhang Yaodong
Zhang Yaodong
22 Jan 2019

Zhang Yaodong

Favourite CNY food: Cured meat rice (la wei fan)

La wei fan is a must for Yaodong’s family during Chinese New Year and the one his mum makes is his favourite. Cooked with preserved meats including lup cheong (Chinese sausage), liver sausages and waxed duck, the rice is infused with all the oil and flavours from the meat.

“I love my mum’s cooking and in my opinion she makes the best cured meat rice. Even though she chides me for eating too much, she will cook it for me. She has switched to cooking it with basmati rice because it is healthier and I find that it is less oily and more aromatic too. Maybe it’s because I like nasi briyani (which uses basmati rice) so this is like a combination of all my favourite dishes,” Yaodong’s eyes lit up as he told us.

Photo: Instagram/@qrios77

Related:
Best Chinese New Year takeaways and goodies to bring home
7 steamboat delivery services that are sure to satisfy your CNY reunion dinner needs

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