It’s time for all things pink as we enter spring. Your heart will go doki-doki as you picnic under Singapore’s own cherry blossom trees with this assortment of sakura flavoured snacks.
Gardens by the Bay
Forget the expensive plane tickets – Gardens by the Bay has brought Japan to Singapore with their extravagant ‘Sakura Matsuri’ festival, that sees 23 different species of cherry blossoms from Japan and Europe taking over the Flower Dome. Showcased against a Japanese-inspired landscape that includes iconic red torii gates, a Japanese house and bridges, visitors can also look forward to traditional dance and song performances, as well as a tea ceremony demonstration and kimono parade, in partnership with the Embassy of Japan in Singapore’s Japan Creative Centre (JCC).
Pretend you’re strolling the sakura-lined streets of Kyoto as you don a yukata ($20 for the day, 10am-8pm) and nibble on sakura mochi and sorbet as part of the Sakura Japan Fair. The fair starts on 30 March and ends together with the Sakura Matsuri on 8 April. The array of food, workshops and performances is curated by the Japan Tourism Board, hungry visitors can expect kawaii sakura and matcha dango ($3) from Samurice, as well as sakura-flavoured gelato from Japan Rail Cafe. Out of the two flavours, Sakura Milk and Hokkaido Milk with Strawberry Sakura Drizzle (both $6), we preferred the latter as the addition of the strawberry gave it added sweetness. They also serve an icy Sparkling Sakura ($6) – sakura syrup in soda that will have you taking Instagram photos as you swirl the two together. 18 Marina Gardens Drive. Tel: 6420 6848
If there’s one thing we love more than sakura, it’s fried sakura. This popular Osakan kushikatsu chain has created the Sakura Mochi Kushikatsu ($2.50), where the sakura mochi is wrapped in a pickled cherry blossom leaf, before being deep-fried in batter and topped with a preserved sakura blossom. The batter is light and not overly oily, and the mochi is filled with traditional red bean paste. Wash it down with their Sakura Highball ($7.50). Made from Jim Beam bourbon, amazake, cherries and garnished with beautifully preserved cherry blossoms, it’s perfect for a girl’s night out. 3A River Valley Road, Merchant Court Clarke Quay Block A #01-01B. Tel: 6258 3789
Using premium ingredients and the rice from Niigata prefecture is online dessert store Dezato Dezato. Their fluffy round daifuku comes in a variety of traditional Japanese and local Singaporean flavours, but in spring, try the limited edition Sakura Daifuku ($2.80/piece, $10/four pieces). The chewy cherry blossom skin is filled with white bean paste, so you get a hit of both flavours when you bite into it. Order online and collect your gooey balls of goodness from Isuramuya Japanese Restaurant & Marketplace at JCube in Jurong East. dezatodezato.com. Tel:6566 7128.
For the first time ever, popular ramen chain IPPUDO brings sakura flavoured ramen to Singapore. What’s more, it’s pink! While they do sakura ramen in Japan, the Insta-worthy pink colour is exclusive to Singapore as they felt consumers here would appreciate it more. The IPPUDO Sakura Ramen ($15) is topped with sliced pork chashu, shredded egg crepes, spring onions, sliced lettuce, pickled mustard leaves, shredded seaweed, and a dollop of addictive homemade mentai sauce, that gives the dish a spicy kick. Sakura denbu (pink sugar) is sprinkled generously on top. Mix all the ingredients together for that perfect umami taste. Guests can choose to add a tamago (poached egg) for an extra $1. Available until 30 April at all outlets. ippudo.sg
This elegant purveyor of ‘wagashi’(traditional Japanese-style sweets) has been a fixture in Takashimaya’s food hall for years. Unlike the usual mochi, their seasonal spring desserts will have you feeling like you’re walking the streets of Meiji-era Japan. Treat yourself to their Sakuragoromo ($4.50/per piece, $42.50/box of nine), where red bean paste is wrapped in a delicate sakura crepe with a cherry blossom on top, or Oukashigure ($4/per piece, $50/box of nine), which contains a decadent double-layer of sweet bean paste with sakura, and sweet red bean paste. In typical Japanese fashion, the wagashi are individually wrapped – perfect as gifts. Available until mid-April or when stocks run out. http://www.kitchoan.com/ #B206-1, Takashimaya Department Store, 391-A Orchard Road. Tel: 6735 1315
Gokoku Japanese Bakery
Founded in Kobe in 1961, Gokoku Shichifuku (or Gokoku Japanese Bakery as it’s known here) produces healthy buns using quality ingredients such as Japanese flour and grains. For this special season, they’ve created the Sakura Coronate ($2.20), a white chocolate coated puff (though the chocolate is pink) filled with light sakura cream and Dainagon (premium red bean paste) from Hokkaido. Made fresh daily, the chocolate has a nice crunch to it, and the sakura cream isn’t too rich – you won’t feel guilty about enjoying this. If you prefer strawberries, sink your teeth into the king of Japanese strawberries, the Amaou, with their Amaou Strawberry Melon Pan ($2.50). The pink melon bun is filled with Amaou filling from Fukuoka prefecture. Available till 30 April or while stocks last. #B1-79, Jurong Point Shopping Centre, 1 Jurong West Central 2. Tel: 6795 6714
Selling cakes, cupcakes, pound cakes and with over 22 flavours of macaron, chef-owner Lin Weixian’s Sakura Macarons ($3/piece) are (unsurprisingly) a hit with the ladies. They contain natural sakura paste imported from Japan for the sakura buttercream filling, and are available everyday, all year round. The pink colour comes from beetroot – no artificial colouring here. For another floral flavour, try the Rose Macarons ($3/piece). bonheurpatisserie.oddle.me
Kuriya Japanese Market
With locations across Singapore, Kuriya Japanese Market has plenty of sakura flavoured snacks and drinks to satiate your cravings. Apart from the daifuku and mochi, there’s also sakura sushi! Choose between the Sakura Tai Sushi ($8.80) and the Sakura Tai Maru Sushi (7.80). The former contains sea bream and fish roe wrapped in beancurd, with a pickled sakura on top, while the latter sees thick slices of sea bream topped with a cherry blossom. Say kampai with friends as you sip on the Sakura Sarasara ($18.90), a wonderfully light liquor made from barley shochu and fruits, with an ornamental sakura inside. Drink it alone or mixed with shochu. kuriyajapanesemarket.com.sg/en