It's interesting, to say the least, when you live in a location where Chinese New Year takes over the entire country. Prior to Singapore, my only experience has been to notice celebratory decorations inside Chinese restaurants. Here, it's everywhere, and it has been going on for weeks up to the actual holiday this past weekend.
As you probably know, it's now the year of the snake. During this time of year many folks like to have the lion dance performed in front of their home or business, just for a little extra insurance in the good luck department. The sound of drums permeates the air for days and days as the performers roam from shop to shop. I love watching the lion dance. I just want to cuddle the giant furry cartoon head.
Here's the dance being performed at Maxwell Food Court, my local hawker center. (I actually shot this video last year, but it's exactly the same every year.)
Watch the Lion Dance Video
Now, Back to the Pizza
Street vendors set up shop in huge tents, some auctioning off wares well into the early morning, mandarin bushes adorn everyone's front doors, and foods abound with prefixes like 'abundance', 'lucky', 'prosperous', and 'wealthy'. It's all about good fortune this time of year, and after missing out on last year's Fortune Bag Pizza at Pizza Hut Singapore, I was not gonna miss out on the fortune pizza this year: cheese stuffed, golden coin shaped pizza topped with golden pumpkin paste, bits of taro (to symbolize gold and a good year ahead), pineapple (for prosperity), diced BBQ chicken, and mushrooms. How could I resist?
In hindsight, I should have.
It came coin-shaped with a container of crispy wonton strips to sprinkle on top. I couldn't detect any chicken at all on this pizza—oh wait a minute, that's what the sweet ham chippy things really were (chicken bakkwa). The tasteless, pasty taro cubes were strange, and the pumpkin paste was just sweet. And you can't miss the cheese surprise lurking in the crust.
I really could have used a beer to keep my spirits up and wash it all down, but my husband somehow hit gold and polished off three slices. I won't lie, it wasn't exactly inedible. The worst part was that for exactly the same price as this pizza ($24 SG) I could have had a wood fired squash blossom, burrata, and tomato pizza at Pizzeria Mozza right down the road.
About the Author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Easy Artisan Bread. You can also watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. She presently lives in Singapore working on her new baking cookbook, and as a recipe developer for HungryGoWhere Singapore. Check out her blog: shophousecook.com . Follow Yvonne on Twitter.