Designer Tang Yuan on Straits Times (Home Section, Page 7)
Tang yuan twist wins food design prize by Melissa Tan
A TWIST to the recipe for conventional glutinous rice balls has won four boys the top prize of $500 in a food design competition. Known to the Chinese as tang yuan, these appear no different from the original version at first glance. But while the traditional version is usually filled with ground peanuts or sesame and eaten with a warm, sweet syrup on the 15th day of the Chinese New Year, these students have filled their version with lychee and longan. And theirs is served with a chilled syrup. The second-year Singapore Polytechnic students who tweaked tradition hatched their idea in a laboratory. But, in a nod to tradition, they still used the customary method of kneading the dough and cooking the tang yuan, said Mr Samuel Chan, 21, who started baking when he was five. He intends to open his own bakery in the future. Mr Cedric Tay, 18, has similar aspirations. 'My family runs a Thai restaurant in Purvis Street. With the experience I've gained, I hope to help make my mother's Thai olive rice even better.' The designer tang yuan will hit the market in a year, and they are hoping it will sell like hot cakes. 'Cold food will appeal to today's youth,' explained Mr Marcus Lim, 19, and Mr Tho Pin Da, 18, who are both gunning for degrees in food technology. 'We aim to reinvent tradition.'