January 20, 2017
Besides food trends that run rampant on Instagram – salted egg yolk dishes, melted cheese, truffles dishes, eggs Benedict – let’s revisit some of the most evergreen Nonya Kuehs that have transcended generations and are still loved by everyone. So here’s a list of the top 11 places from which you can get your Nonya Kueh fix!
Located in Tiong Bahru, this confectionery sells some of the best and most popular Nonya Kuehs you’ll be able to find around the island. While they sell a wide assortment of Kuehs, the following are some of their regular customers’ favourites.
Kueh Dardar are rolls which have a light shredded coconut filling wrapped with in pandan-infused crepe. The crepes have a subtle pandan aroma to them which perfectly complement the moist, fluffy shredded coconut within. These babies go for $4 for 5 and are absolutely worth it!
Little crowns of goodness; Putu Ayu has a soft, moist and aerated sponge cake with the flavour of pandan infused in them. Capped by a white crown that is flavoured using coconut milk that is slightly savoury. This goes really well with pandan aroma within the green sponge. The brown parts are actually a gula melaka (brown palm sugar) glaze which gives a sweet caramel kick to the cake. These go for $4 for 5 as well!
Lemper Udang is a glutinous rice roll that contains fried sambal shrimp within. The glutinous rice roll itself is chewy and fragrant, while the sambal shrimp are slightly crisp and savoury. The contrast in flavours and textures simply leave you reaching for another as soon as you’re done. At $1.30 each, you certainly won’t be breaking your wallet for these goodies!
The various flavoured tapioca kuehs ($0.70 each) in the background are loved by customers too as they’re perfectly chewy and not limp or too hard.
Tiong Bahru Galicier Pastry | 55 Tiong Bahru Road #01-39, Singapore 160055 | Tel: 6324 1686
My pops has always told me that the hidden gems are always found in hawker centres and he was absolutely right. Concealed within Chinatown Complex Market is Ann Chin Handmade Popiah, where amazing Popiah and Kueh Pie Tee ($4 for 3) are sold.
The kueh pie tee cup is crispy and fragrant and because it’s made fresh daily, it doesn’t become soft and dampened by the filling. As you bite into these little cups, the flavours and textures from the turnip (bang kuang), lettuce, carrot, egg and crisp cup create a party in the mouth. With all the elements perfectly balanced and working together harmoniously. I was sold after the first bite.
There’s even a Kueh Pie Tee Party Set ($40) and you may also request for the spicy filling if you like to turn up the heat.
Ann Chin Handmade Popiah | 335 Smith Street, Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre #02-112, Singapore 050335
This is yet another hidden gem found within a hawker centre and this time we’ at Hong Lim Food Centre! This humble stall sells kueh that’s meticulously handmade on a daily basis.
Amongst their range of kuehs, the most unique one they offer is their ondeh ondeh, which is orange in colour as opposed to the green variant we’re so used to seeing. This is because of the sweet potato used – which isn’t anything new but, a tradition that’s fading with more people opting to only use flour. Which makes this stall one that I’ll definitely recommend.
Ah Meng also sells Chinese New Year snacks – pineapple tarts, love letters and other tid-bits, probably till the end of Chinese New Year. When it isn’t the festive season, their selection of kuehs is rather limited.
Ah Meng | 531A Upper Cross Road Hong Lim Food Centre #02-45, Singapore 051531
Unbeknownst to many, the Ang Ku Kueh has its roots deep in Peranakan culture. Ji Xiang Confectionery is among the best Ang Ku Kueh confectioneries you can find in Singapore. They offer a wide selection of flavours, ranging from the more common peanut and sweet bean fillings to the unique flavours such as salted bean, corn, coconut, yam and durian (seasonal) so you’re bound to be spoilt for choice!
The ang ku kueh ($4 for 5) are made from scratch by the pastry chefs Ji Xiang Confectionary and their efforts certainly pay off with the flavours produced in these little gems.
The glistening skin reminds me of the chewiest mochi I’ve ever eaten and the peanut filling was ground to a consistency I reckon is perfect. By leaving coarser bits that give a crunch to the kueh filling, it ensures the filling isn’t runny or mushy. It was also light on the palate and isn’t too decadent as well.
When I visited them around 4pm, they only had 39 Ang Ku Kuehs left and everything else was sold out so please do visit them as early as you can to make sure you can get as much as you’d like to!
Ji Xiang Confectionery | 1 Everton Park #01-33, Singapore 081001, Tel: 6223 1631
Kueh Tutu has its origins traced back to Chinese and Peranakan roots, with some of the latter knowing it to be a variation of the kueh putu ayu. Lau Tan Tutu Kueh sells some splendid tutu kuehs, with a selection of the conventional ground peanuts and grated coconut fillings to the more innovative filling such as red bean paste and chocolate as well. The flour-to-filling ratio was spot on, with enough filling to accompany every bite of the kueh itself!
Lau Tan Tutu Kueh | 1 Queensway, Queensway Shopping Centre, #02-47, Singapore 149053
2 Orchard Turn, ION Orchard Food Opera, #B4-03, Singapore 238801
133 New Bridge Road, Chinatown Point, #B2-44, Singapore 059413
205 Bedok North Street 4 Kopitiam Coffeeshop, Singapore 469608
HarriAnn’s Nonya Table is perhaps one of the most creative Nonya Kueh confectioneries I have ever visited in my life and you’d understand why yourself when you visit them. The plethora of kuehs they sell is astounding and the flavours in them are definitely interesting. The kuehs that HarriAnn’s serve really encompasses what it meant by food for the eyes and for the tummy as you can see right below!
Kueh chendol, pink fairy, kueh talam, sago melaka, kueh salat, kueh corn, rainbow lapis, yam kueh (Left to right from the back)
Looking at the selection they have I really didn’t know where to start, so I almost bought one of everything they had (talk about compulsive shopping).
The Kueh Chendol is a reinvention of the Chendol we are used to eating. The classic shaved ice dessert served in a bowl has been reinvented to take the form of a kueh and frankly it has been done justice. The top brown layer is gula melaka, while the bottom layer is made using coconut milk with chendol bits. All in all, the kueh chendol captures the essence of chendol and its variety of flavours and textures
The pink kueh is the Pink Fairy, which was almost a reconstruction of the red bean soup we’re familiar with. The kueh contains actual azuki beans that gel together with the flavours of the coconut milk base.
Initially, the Sago Melaka appears to have its layers made up of glutinous rice but upon closer inspection, the entire kueh is actually composed of sago! The layers were flavoured using rose syrup, gula melaka and coconut milk respectively with the texture definitely being intriguing.
And obviously, the prettiest and most Instagrammable kueh of them all has to be the Rainbow Lapis. Chewy, bouncy, soft, moist – you name it and the Rainbow Lapis has got it. Haters gonna hate but I enjoy eating my Rainbow Lapis by peeling off one layer after another and I’m sure a ton of other people do so as well.
The kueh dardar they have is worth a mention as well. The crepe has a much deeper green coloration from the pandan, an indication of a stronger infusion of the pandan flavours.
The filling though is on another level. The shredded coconut filling was not only moist but charged with the sweetness from the red sugar. These little rolls were packed with flavour and after finishing one, you’ll want to reach out for another. I promise you, this is one of the best kueh dardars I have ever tasted, I kid you not.
Head down to HarriAnn’s, be spoilt for choice, splash out on every flavour you see on display just as I did and you’ll definitely not regret it.
HarriAnn’s Nonya Table | 230 Victoria Street, Bugis Junction Towers #01-01A, Singapore 188024 | Tel: 6238 1200
Although Kim Choo is famed for their rice dumplings, they sell quite the variety of Nonya Kueh as well!
Soft, moist, pandan custard top the perfectly cooked glutinous rice base infused with coconut milk. An extra touch of fragrance and a blue tint is added using the extract of the blue pea flower, another tradition that isn’t seen as often as we’d like – what more could you ask for?
Kim Choo Kueh Chang | 60 Joo Chiat Place, Singapore 427784 | Tel: 6344 0830
Located right beside Kim Choo is Rumah Bebe. Rumah Bebe is a Peranakan Heritage Boutique which caters to events, classes, tours and of course they serve amazing Nonya cuisine as well. They can even plan and organise a Peranakan wedding for their clients too!
Stepping into the boutique is like entering a Peranakan residence from a time long passed. With everything from the decor, clothes and food reminiscent of traditional Peranakan culture.
I find the lemper udang to be one of their best kuehs, with the generous amount of sambal shrimp filling packed into the glutinous rice roll. The filling had the right amount of spice while the glutinous rice was both rich and chewy. Rumah Bebe also sells and accepts orders for Nonya dishes such as otak otak and ayam buah keluak.
Rumah Bebe | 113 East Coast Road, Singapore 428803 | Tel: 6347 8781
Borobudur Snacks Shop sells a variety of kuehs. There’s everything from kueh lapis to the less common pulut inti which I had.
With a sweet grated coconut top and the glutinous rice base, this is a delicious little pyramid that packs fragrance and sweetness. Definitely worth a try!
Borobudur Snacks Shop are also famous for their durian ambon, which is a slightly chewy tapioca cake with a honeycomb like appearance. However, it was a pity that they were sold out when I popped by. So my advice is to head down early if you want to try it.
Borobudur Snacks Shop | 537 Bedok North Street 3, #01-523, Singapore 460537 | Tel: 6442 7637
Lek Lim Nonya Cake Confectionery should be no stranger to nonya kueh aficionados. As their freshly made kuehs deliver on flavour and are value for money.
The ondeh-ondeh stand out in particular as they’re larger than what you’d normally find at other confectioneries, and especially chewy and flavourful. Flavoured tapioca kueh are also produced daily with fresh ingredients and they’ll have you coming back for more!
Lek Lim Nonya Cake Confectionery | 84 Bedok North Street 4, #01-21, Singapore 460084 | Tel: 6449 0815
Genting Nonya Cake and Confectionery is actually a wholesaler of nonya kueh, so buying from them is always a steal.
The huat kueh aka ma kuo kueh ($1.20 for 7) while Bengawan Solo sells them at $1.60 for 4; lapis sagu (rainbow lapis $0.30) and if you were to get them from Bengawan Solo you’d be paying $1.10 each.
Kueh ambon, ang ku kueh and tapioca are also available at jaw-dropping prices too so I definitely recommend checking Genting Nonya Cake and Confectionary for the cheapest kuehs you can find!
Genting Nonya Cake and Confectionery | 3017 Bedok North Street 5, Gourmet East Kitchen #01-31, Singapore 486121 | Tel: 6741 4990
Nonya kuehs continue to be enjoyed by those of Peranakan descent and other people alike with the different kueh invoking childhood memories. However, it’s a pity that the art of making them is a dying trade. And, I hope that more people will take the time to learn to make them. Sappy sentiments aside, enjoy this guide and feast on the multitude of Nonya Kueh!
*This article is written by Lim Weisheng