Chinese New Year is the absolute worst time in the year to fall sick. Not because it's inauspicious to start the new year with the sniffles, or because clinics will happily rip you off with a festive surcharge…. but because you'll be missing out on delicious CNY goodies like pineapple tarts, kueh lapis, love letters, kueh bangkit, etc.
Brand-conscious Singaporeans usually automatically queue for Kele pineapple tarts and Bengawan Solo CNY cookies, but guess what? Many other bakeries sell the same thing too, and at lower prices. Shocking, I know.
Let's see how much popular CNY goodies cost for 2022.
Pineapple tarts price list 2022
I've compiled the prices for 10 popular "branded" pineapple tarts in Singapore - these are the names you always see on those "best pineapple tarts in Singapore" lists.
It's hard to compare these apple-to-apple since the actual weight and number of pastries inside each box or bottle varies a lot, but I've sorted them by absolute price, just to give you an idea.
|Pineapple tarts shop||2022 price per box or bottle|
|Le Cafe (“golf ball”)||$29.90|
|Bengawan Solo||$21.80 (small), $38.60 (large)|
|Sunny Hills||$27.30 (10pc)/ $42.40 (16pc)|
|Amethyst Pastry & Cakes||$28 (round) / $30 (cheese)|
For the budget-conscious, you can get $8 pineapple tarts easily at supermarkets like NTUC FairPrice.
Its low price point is close to that of neighbourhood bakeries (~$12 to $15 a bottle), yet it's received pretty good reviews from the likes of The Straits Times and MissTamChiak, so it seems like a good compromise between affordability and quality.
If you're looking for "branded" pineapple tarts to give as gifts or to show off, be prepared to shell up to $30++.
Kueh lapis price list 2022
Kueh lapis isn't as ubiquitous as pineapple tarts, but in my household, it's one of the very few must-have items for Chinese New Year. But as we all know, the ultra-dense, ultra-rich, thousand-layer cake can be really expensive.
Here's a look at how much kueh lapis costs this year at nine popular kueh lapis sellers. Again, cake sizes differ, so bear that in mind - this isn't an apple-to-apple comparison.
Most bakeries sell it in two sizes: A large square format (typically ~1kg) and a smaller size (usually half of the big square, so ~500g).
|Kueh lapis shop||2022 price per cake|
|Ollella||$24.80 for 350g|
|Deli Indo||$26 for 600g|
|Layers Batam||$28 for 550g|
|IndoChili||$39 for medium|
|Rainbow Lapis||$35 for 500g|
|Rasa Sayang||$41 for half|
|Bengawan Solo||$52 for medium|
For established local brands like Bengawan Solo and Smiling Orchid, you can expect to pay upwards of $60 for a large cake. Yikes.
Personally, I very much prefer Indonesian kueh lapis to Singaporean Nonya-style ones. As a bonus, it's a lot cheaper.
It's no surprise that the two cheapest large cakes are from Indonesian brands: Layers Batam (formerly called LaMoist - ick!) and Deli Indo.
Other CNY goodies: Salted egg fish skin, love letters, kueh bangkit & more
Your Chinese New Year spread isn't complete without all the other "side dishes" like love letters, melt-in-your-mouth cookies, prawn (hae bee hiam) rolls and salted egg fish skin.
While big-ticket items like pineapple tarts, kueh lapis and bak kwa (which is so crazy it got its own article) are the biggest wallet drains, the good news is that the other CNY goodies CAN be pretty cheap…
… BUT only if you don't fall for brand names.
Check out how dramatic the price difference can be between "branded" snacks sellers and non-branded ones:
|CNY goodie||Price at “branded” bakery||Non-branded price range|
|Salted egg fish skin||$16 for 230g bag (Irvins)||$12 for 600g (Golden Boy)|
|Love letters||$18.80 (Bengawan Solo)||$6.80|
|Sugee cookies||$19.80 (Bengawan Solo)||$7.35|
|Kueh bangkit||$22.80 (Butter Studio)||$10.80|
|Crispy prawn rolls||$22.90 (HarriAnns)||$5.95|
Prices for non-branded CNY snacks are taken from NTUC FairPrice.
Is there a big difference in terms of taste? Well… most of these snacks are mainly flour/sugar/oil anyway, right?
Unless your favourite gourmet bakery adds gold shavings to their kueh bangkit, I very much doubt the premium you pay goes to ingredients.
This article was first published in Moneysmart.