Gatecrashing is a segment that is often arranged in the Chinese wedding process to test the groom’s determination in fetching the bride. It is mostly played in the Chinese communities from countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and China. 

Among the many wedding gate crash games, Suan Tian Ku La (酸甜苦辣) is the most popular game where the groom and groomsmen will be challenged to consume food/drinks in 4 different flavours: Sour, Sweet, Bitter and Spice. 酸甜苦辣 signifies the various emotions that the couple would experience after marriage. Being able to get through the game would mean that the couple will be able to overcome any obstacles in life together.

Here are some modern 酸甜苦辣 ideas and recipes to help you kickstart the planning process.

Sour (酸)

1. Citrus fruits

The fruit with highest acidity and likely one of the most sour fruits conveniently found across Singapore is none other than Lemon. While its other peers such as grapefruit, lime, orange and pomelo could be equally effective at awakening the senses of the groom and his band of brothers, Lemon is still the most commonly chosen fruit for its sour yet palatable (for most) taste. While these fruits are sour enough when eaten on its own, you can always take it up a notch by blending a medley of healthy citrus fruit juice for the groom.

suan tian ku la

Gatecrash from Kang Wei & Jamie’s Wedding

2. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar is a fermented vinegar made out of apples. It is known to have many health benefits such as lowering blood glucose levels and improving heart health. One method to serve this to the groom and groomsmen would be to make a tonic drink out of it by mixing 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with lemon juice.

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Image taken from KraftHeinz (n.d.) 

3. Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented drink that has been popular since the 1990s for its health benefits such as aiding digestion and removing toxins. Many would describe its taste as a vinegary soda. A sip of it would be sufficient to agitate one’s taste buds.

suan tian ku la

Image taken from Raman (2018) 

4. Greek Yoghurt

Greek yoghurt is a fermented food that has a distinctive sour taste. Depending on one’s taste bud, Greek yoghurt may be an enjoyable healthy breakfast treat for some.

suan tian ku la

Image taken from Fairprice (n.d.) 

5. Sour Candies

Not all candies are sweet, some are sanded with an acidic coating to give a tart taste. The popular ones found in Singapore that can be nostalgic for some of us would be Nobel  Super Lemon Candy and Warheads. You can find them in Fairprice or online grocery stores such as Redmart and Shopee!

Image taken from Candy Empire (2022) & Prestigio Delights (n.d.)

Sweet (甜)

1. Sweetener

While Sweet is the number two on the 酸甜苦辣 list, to symbolise sweet and blissful union of the couple, normally Sweet is the last taste prepared for the groom before he unveils and fetches the bride. Often we see healthy options like Honey, Pei Pa Koa and the occasional condensed milk. A memorable few times, we recall these sweet liquids placed in baby milk bottles and the groom had to empty everything within the milk bottles. 

suan tian ku la

Gatecrash from Desmond & Kylie’s Wedding

2. Bubble Tea

Probably one of the most favoured Sweet challenges served to groom and groomsmen. Some bridesmaids have shared that to live up to the Sweet challenge, the bubble tea purchased are of the max sugar level of 120%. While the sugar level seems like a bit of an overkill, this is likely a more pleasant and enjoyable Sweet challenge. 

suan tian ku la

Gatecrash from Abel & Angelynn’s Wedding

Bitter (苦)

1. Bitter Gourd

Bitter gourd is definitely the top one ingredient used in the Suan Tian Ku La game. Many bridesmaids would either get the groom and groomsmen to eat the bitter gourd raw or juice it into a nasty drink. 

Shaun & Sok Yee blog photo

Gatecrash from Shaun & Sok Yee’s Wedding

2. 24 Medicated Herbal Tea

24 herb tea is a cantonese drink that works all-round to relieve all sorts of common illnesses like cough and flu. However, the catch is that it has a foul smell and an extremely bitter taste. Just like what Confucius said, “Good medicine tastes bitter”.

suan tian ku la

Video screengrab from Norman & Audrey’s wedding

Spice (辣)

It is recommended to prepare milk for the groom and groomsmen before beginning the spice segment.
1. Daebak ghost pepper spicy chicken noodles

This instant noodle is the spiciest that you can find in the grocery store. The noodles score 1,000,000 units on the scoville scale, making your mouth burn within a bite.

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Image taken from Sukri (2019)

2. Samyang 

The Samyang brand is well known among many Singaporeans for its spiciness. Add the sauce into your desired food or even drink (if it is safe!)

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Gatecrash from Ming De & Yu Fang’s Wedding

3. Wasabi

Wasabi is infamous for its nasal burning sensation when too much is taken, forcing one to shed tears from the pungent flavour.

suan tian ku la

Gatecrash from Abel & Angelynn’s Wedding

4. Bird’s Eye Chilli (Chilli padi)

Chilli padi, a common spice that can be found in Singapore, measuring up to 100,000 scoville units despite its small size. Eating it raw can instantly give you the urge to get a cup of water.

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Gatecrash from Kang Wei & Jamie’s Wedding

Image References

Candy Empire. (2022). Warheads Extreme sour hard candy bag [Photograph]. Candy Empire. https://candyempire.com.sg/product/warheads-extreme-sour-hard-candy/

 

Fairprice. (n.d.). Farmers Union Greek Style Yoghurt – Natural [Photograph]. Fairprice. https://www.fairprice.com.sg/product/13082018

 

KraftHeinz. (n.d.). Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar, 16 oz [Photograph]. Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Heinz-Apple-Cider-Vinegar-Ounce/dp/B000RA9N1A

 

Prestigio Delights. (n.d.). Nobel Super Lemon Candy [Photograph]. Fairprice. https://www.fairprice.com.sg/product/nobel-super-lemon-candy-88-g-90021419

 

Raman, R. (2018, October 18). Does Kombucha Tea Contain Alcohol? [Photograph]. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/kombucha-alcohol-content#what-it-is

 

Sukri, H. (2019, August 30). Mamee’s Ghost Pepper Noodles Is Coming To Singapore This September [Photograph]. Eatbook. https://eatbook.sg/ghost-pepper-noodles/