To mark Chinese New Year and celebrate 2020 – the Year of the Rat – bakeries and restaurants are whipping up a myriad of rodent-themed treats.
From more traditional steamed buns to delicately iced biscuits and even Chinese-inspired doughnuts, there’s a wide variety of bakery items to mark the occasion, which takes place on Saturday 25 January.
Here’s some of our favourite items:
Yolkin – a macaron-themed ice cream sandwich bar in London’s Chinatown – is serving up handful of themed treats for this weekend’s celebrations. There are four macarons: a Sweet Lychee Rat, Tropical Pandan Panda, Black Sesame Lantern and jasmine tea for the Chinese phrase ‘Fook’, representing good fortune and happiness. For its ice cream sandwich menu, Yolkin has given its Blueberry Cheese Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich a ratty makeover.
Cutter & Squidge
London bakery Cutter & Squidge has transformed its signature biskie – a sandwiched dessert that is a cross between a cake and a cookie – into a cute little rodent (right). Strawberry buttercream, a digestive biscuit layer and strawberry jam are sandwiched between strawberry shortcake biscuits, adorned with white chocolate shavings and jellybean nose.
It is also offering a Year of the Rat Cake (left) featuring vanilla sponge flavoured with lychees layered with pink vanilla and raspberry buttercreams and peach jam. It’s decorated with dried mango, shortbread cookies, edible rose petals and gold flakes.
Finally, to celebrate the luck associated with rats in Chinese culture, are the Lucky Red Packet Shortbread Biscuits designed to be paired with Lucky Lychee Peach Tea.
Biscuiteers is encouraging customers to celebrate the Year of the Rat with its Chinese Letterbox Biscuits, featuring a rat, red lantern, orange and hongbao (red envelope). The biscuits are twice-baked and hand-iced, delivered in an illustrated gift box that fits through the letterbox.
Found in London’s Chinatown, Bun House is celebrating the Year of the Rat with a Chinese New Year Afternoon Tea Set for 2, available from 25 to 27 January. The restaurant’s famed steamed custard bao buns appear on the menu alongside a variety of sweet and savoury items as well as bellini with salted peach baijiu cocktails. Veggie buns and dim sum in the form of har gau (Cantonese dumplings) and shumai (another type of steamed dumpling) form the savoury side, while egg tartlets and fried mantau – white soft bread – offer something sweeter.
Sourdough doughnut specialist Crosstown is celebrating Chinese New Year by bringing back its limited edition Pandan Doughnut. Its signature sourdough is infused with fresh pandan leaves to deliver fresh pandan flavour and a green-tinted hue. Each doughnut is then filled with a coconut cream custard and topped with pandan icing and desiccated coconut.
As Chinatown stalwart Dumplings’ Legend’s name suggests, it specialises in dumplings. It is famed for its Xiao Long Bao, or Chinese soup dumpling as it is also known, but it’s menu features 47 variations on dim sum. Exclusive for Chinese New Year 2020, Dumplings’ Legend will be serving sweet lotus seed buns shaped into little rats.
To find out more about how Chinatown is influencing the UK’s bakery scene, read our latest feature here.