Home Based Food Businesses in Singapore: The Chinese New Year 2021 Edition

It’s been almost a year since Circuit Breaker was imposed, leading to an unprecedented surge of Home Based Business (HBB) owners. Since life will not be going “back to normal”, HBBs are definitely here to stay, as well as the self-starters who rose up to the challenge in pursuing a career path on this uncertain road. And with the festive season around the corner, here’s the Chinese New Year edition on what’s cooking and trending in our HBB community.
A word to the wise: do check if there are any blackout dates and surcharges. It’s a particularly busy period so expect late delivery, the occasional wrong order, and delayed replies to enquiries. Most of the sellers run solo and some have day jobs to keep, so remember to be kind and considerate towards one another!


Auspicious Spring Set

As with most home-based business owners, former sales director Sylvia Ramlal is a one-woman show that turned her hobby of handcrafting the most intricate flowers made of jelly, into a business venture. Each konjac base is injected with Sylvia’s imagination in colors, creating peonies, koi, and text amongst other things. Natural colours and flavours such as dragonfruit and raspberry are available upon request, though the likes of artificial lychee, strawberry, longan, and apple are popular too. It takes three hours to produce one cake, thus a very limited number are available per day. Pre-orders are open but cakes are sold out on 8-12 February. Prices start from $48 for a set of six minis.

Direct message Superbloom to order.

Molten Brown

As the name suggests, mosaic art school founder Nanette Zehnder makes gooey-centred brownies using imported premium ingredients – think French butter and Valrhona chocolate. Initially, Nanette’s menu included foccacia, cookies, and even pang susi, but the single mum has settled on a winning signature brownie recipe. A box of six thick squares starts from $42, with flavours like himalayan salt, black forest, Oreo, and Jamaican rum & raisin. The avid home maker has introduced sunny orange brownies with a healthy splash of Grand Marnier at S$45 (box of six). An auspicious treat just for Chinese New Year.

WhatsApp Molten Brown at +65 9070 4443 to order.

Fork It

Headhunter by day, Jo Henson and her business partner started baking for paying friends and family. Soon, names that they didn’t recognise started filling the clientele list, and even the website crashed. That’s when they knew that Fork It wasn’t going to be just a temporary bridge to tide through the pandemic. That said, having fun is really what keeps them going.

For example, their Lunar New Year creation is an orange semolina cake called Tiok ToTo (S$68, six-inch). Freshly squeezed navel oranges and Cointreau intensify the citrus flavor, and white chocolate Valrhona gold ingots are dusted in gold powder. Plus, every cake comes with a toto ticket! Get your hands on their Dong Dong Chiang Fa Cai tart (S$58), a roselle custard and soju jelly creation, too. Pre-orders open; self-collection and delivery available from Thursdays to Saturdays.

Order online here.

Berry Bar

Like many of us, Belle found herself in her home kitchen during Circuit Breaker. The then-recruiter tinkered around with cakes but ended up jazzing up plump, juicy strawberries with the likes of unicorns, chic ombre shimmers, and customised edible text. Now, the 25-year-old sole proprietor of the ACRA-registered business glams up to 18 boxes of the freshest produce from USA, Australia and Korea daily.

For the new year, look forward to white chocolate coating and splashes of red and gold to signify wealth and prosperity, as well as edible charms like koi and fortune cats. Prices start from S$68 for 12 large strawberries. The best part? Expect free delivery daily, except 12-13 February, where a S$10 delivery and self-collection surcharge applies.

Direct message Berry Bar to order.

The Bearded Baker

A rising star thanks to his hand laminated Croissant au Beurre Noisette (S$5) – yes, brown butter croissants! – professionally trained chef Lucien Ee started The Bearded Baker to supplement income. While we love his cheesy Pain aux Parmeggiano with Camembert (S$6), don’t miss his Lunar New Year Special, Shio Kombu Croissant with Crispy Chicken Floss (S$6), an Oriental twist on a pastry classic with a nostalgic childhood favourite to boot. Islandwide delivery available at S$10 per location or self-pickup for free from Outram Park.

Direct message The Bearded Baker to pre-order. 

Umami Boy

Will Chng is a trained chef who realised the merits of cooking at home – he gets to put out what he does best without worrying about sky-high rents and heavy labour costs. Armed with a sharpened knowledge in Chinese cuisine and skills after a stint in Taiwan, the HBB owner launched the Umami Boy mala sauce that’s so versatile, it’s a must-have in every kitchen.
Recently, he’s created two new sauces – a 100% plant-based mala sauce with a stronger aroma, and umami-rich Sichuan sesame peanut sauce built upon the original mala base. For S$48, get the two new sauces and Umami XO sauce for S$48, or his Carrot Cake (650g) bundled with the Umami XO sauce for the reunion dinner table. Pre-order now, before they run out.
WhatsApp Umami Boy at +65 9241 7528 to order. 

Jelebu Dry Laksa

After leaving her job as a chef at Le Binchotan, Renèe Tang Eyrn eked out a living by sharing her love for a unique kind of dry laksa. The 27-year-old intensifies the flavour and wafting aromas of her favorite noodles by taking time to soak and simmer them in her heavier sauce made with chilli, turmeric, galangal, coconut milk, candlenut, and more. Lobster completes this homemade dish at S$28 (half) or S$49 (whole).
Currently, the industrious female chef is helming a pop-up at Bistro Aseana, showing off premium seafood. Besides her signature, you’ll find the Aseana Propserity Lo Hei (S$128, four to six pax) available for ordering online. With at least an auspicious 88 sets for sale, expect whole Boston lobster, aburi Hokkaido scallops and ikura, topped with umeshu calamansi and rojak ginger flower.
Pre-order online here.

Drunk Food

When the going gets tough, property agent Ivan Chee gets going on his favorite family dish. Since last July, Drunk Food has been well-received by local seafood diehards. Abalone, topshell, scallops and pacific clams are all soaked and dressed in his mother-in-law’s secret recipe. Mostly working alone, the 31-year-old dad offers four different spice levels upped by cut red chilli and lime.

For the Lunar New Year, Drunk Food has created a whopping platter of 20 scallops, 20 abalone, 20 pacific clams and 240g of seasoned jellyfish at S$268. Pre-order before 24 January for 15% off. Do note that S$15 surcharge applies to all CNY platter deliveries between 5-24 Feb 2021. Stocks are limited, so book early.

WhatsApp Drunk Food at +65 8760 0131 to order.

Lee’s Kimchi

Flying high during pre-COVID days as a flight steward with a leading international airline, Circuit Breaker left Nigel Lee grounded with valuable time in his hands. Aided by his wife, the 30-year-old kickstarted this home project – making one of his favourite things to eat – in April 2020. He spends hours juggling marketing, chef duties, social media enquiries, and a lot of the time delivering the bottles himself.
The duo managed to squirrel away time to create Lee’s Kimchi Reunion Stew (S$70, feeds four to six). Except 11-15 February, limited sets are available for the rest of the month. Expect signature 500g tub of kimchi steeped in gochugaru and fish sauce from Korea, a spicy seafood stock for the soup base and ingredients (scallops, luncheon meat, mushrooms, rice cakes, and more) packed separately. They cook in just five minutes and are good frozen for up to a month. Free delivery included!
Order online here.
Top Image: Lee’s Kimchi

Jill Sara has been practising public relations for more than ten years. Besides her day job, she started and manages two thriving facebook groups – Pasar United and Sweets United, where individuals who may have lost their income or got a significant paycut recently and pivoted to selling passed-down savoury recipes and trendy bakes.