Singapore Dining - Restaurants, Local Dishes & Other Cuisines

Fried Sesame Ball (Jian Dui)


Dim Sum restaurants and Chinese bakeries in Singapore are aplenty, and you are sure to find this fried Chinese pastry on the menu. Coated in sesame seeds, these balls are fried till crisp on the outside and are not much to look at. However, once you bite into it, you will realise what all the fuss is about. 

Its sweet and chewy texture, together with its hollow centre, makes it a delicious snack. The plain versions are light and nutty, while those that are filled with sweet red bean or lotus seed paste are equally enjoyable.

Kuih Bom is the Malay version of this snack, and is prepared the same way. The only difference is that Kuih Bom often contains shredded sweetened coconut, as well as the occasional green or red bean paste. Other snacks and desserts made from glutinous rice flour include Nian Gao and Tangyuan.

Nian Gao, a sticky and sweet pudding, is traditionally eaten during Chinese New Year. Meaning “a greater or higher year” in Chinese, it is eaten steamed or pan-fried (and sometimes with egg) during this time for good luck, although it’s also available all year round.

On the other hand, Tangyuan is traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Today, however, it can also be found at food centres and even in supermarkets all year round. Served with a sweet soup, it comes either plain or filled with a variety of fillings, such as ground sesame, ground peanuts or red bean paste.

Jian dui, with its golden colour and round shape, resembling gold coins, is a symbol of fortune and wealth. There is a Chinese belief that as the Jian Dui grows bigger when it is fried, so will your wealth. So next time when you’re at a Dim Sum restaurant or a Chinese bakery, be sure to have some Jian Dui and watch your fortune increase. 


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