75 Ah Balling: Third-Gen Hawker Serving Unique Flavours At Golden Mile Food Centre

Since my childhood years, I remember ah balling (or tang yuan) being one of my favourite desserts. I loved to bite into the warm glutinous rice balls and feel the sweet molten peanut filling ooze out on my tongue.

Unfortunately, with hawker stalls closing due to a lack of successor or poor business prospects, it’s difficult to find hawkers that still specialise in this particular dessert. Thankfully, 75 Ah Balling remains strong, and they’re making waves in the ah balling industry. 

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Located at Golden Mile Food Centre, 75 Ah Balling is run by third-generation owners Alvin and his wife Chloe. They split their time between the three different stalls that they own across Singapore, as part of their franchising venture. When I arrived at Golden Mile, where the original 75 Ah Balling is located, Alvin and Chloe were manning the stall, along with a few aunties.

After introducing myself, I proceeded to ask them a few questions about 75 Ah Balling’s history, and Alvin was happy to indulge. 

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One of the pioneers of the ah balling industry, 75 Ah Balling began its journey as a pushcart along Jalan Sultan almost 70 years ago since 1947. Run by Mr Aw Kim Chye, he would sell his handmade ah ballings with peanut soup in the streets, after learning the trade in China as an apprentice and arriving in Singapore. 

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He then moved his base of operations into Golden Mile Food Centre in 1975, the reason for 75 Ah Balling’s namesake, and the stall has stood there ever since. Coincidentally, it also occupies unit number #01-75.

After passing down the business down to his son, the second-gen owner, 75 Ah Balling continued to grow, expanding their menu with new innovations like Black Sesame Ah Balling and Ginger Soup. Now in the reins of Alvin and Chloe, they hope to continue the legacy of both 75 Ah Balling and ah balling as a staple dessert. 

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As a result of their franchising, 75 Ah Balling no longer makes their glutinous rice balls by hand, and are now using factory-made ah ballings, Alvin explained. This decision to enter franchising was to let more people know about their stall’s heritage, and to continue it the best they can. They’ve also invested in R&D to invent more flavours that will cater to the younger generations, to ensure the continuity of ah balling even amidst the ever-changing trends.

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After hearing so much from Alvin and Chloe about 75 Ah Balling, I was excited to try their ah ballings for myself, and see if it was any different than the handmade ones I’d tried before. Fun fact: the name ah balling is derived from a Teochew dialect, meaning ‘ya mu ling’ which translates to ‘mother duck’s eggs’. This is because the ah ballings look like ducks bobbing on the water when they’re cooked. 

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They currently serve five different flavours of ah balling: Peanut, Black Sesame, Yam, Red Bean and, Matcha. They also serve four different types of soup: Peanut, Almond Milk, Ginger and Longan and Red Date, all of which are still handmade in-stall. I decided to get one bowl of each soup (S$1.40 for soup only), with one of each flavour of ah balling (five pieces for S$2.30 including soup). All of their dishes are served warm, in a signature pink plastic bowl. 

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The first soup I tried was Ginger Soup, which reminded me of ginger tea. The natural spiciness of ginger was subtle and soothing for the throat, especially when it was warm. It had a comforting and familiar taste, something I would imagine myself drinking on a cold day. 

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The Almond Milk tasted like its namesake, but not as thick, and sweeter, with that almost translucent quality to it. This soup was very refreshing and it left a cooling sensation on my tongue. 

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Next, I tried the Longan And Red Date soup, and the taste brought to mind cheng tng, another classic dessert. This soup was less sweet than cheng tng and light on the palate—more of a thirst-quencher than a soup. 

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Last but not least, I had a taste of their trademark Peanut Soup, which is prepared the day before, for at least 12 hours. Sweet but not overpowering, I immediately understood why this soup is a favourite. The small peanut bits readily dissolved in my mouth and helped to vary the textures within the soup. 

I then delved into the ah balling, which I was keen to try and see if I could discern any differences between this and handmade ah balling. All of them were of equal shape and size, made with an off-white glutinous rice shell. The matcha and red bean flavours were dyed green and pink respectively.

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My first victim was Black Sesame, one of the more classic ah balling flavours. Biting into it, the glutinous rice layer was chewy, or QQ, and consistently thick all around. The black sesame filling was hot and nutty, and slightly gritty which gave it more crunch. It was still smooth and trickled out satisfyingly onto the spoon. 

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Next, I tried Peanut, which had the same texture and thickness of the previous ah balling—an advantage of them being factory-made and regulated. The peanut filling retained a nutty flavour, while still being sweet. The peanut taste wasn’t overpowering, and the filling dripped from the rice ball. 

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Again, the pink-coloured Red Bean ah balling had the same texture and thickness, and the familiar taste of red bean like that from a pau. The paste was thick and subtly sweet, contrasting well with the soup, especially the thinner ones like Ginger and Longan And Red Date

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The Yam ah balling was similar to Red Bean, with yam filling instead (which also tasted like pau) that was smooth and sweet.

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Lastly, I had Matcha, which had a paste-like consistency and was quite viscous. The paste itself had a rougher texture and an authentic matcha taste. 

Hearing the story behind 75 Ah Balling and their passion for carrying on the legacy of this age-old dessert made me enjoy their dishes even more. The enthusiasm with which they treat their customers translates into their dessert—ah ballings in a warm, familiar soup that evokes comforting memories of my childhood.

Regardless of what age you are, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this classic dessert, not only for its soothing taste but its unique history. 

Expected Damage: S$1.40 – S$2.60 per pax

Price: $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

75 Ah Balling

505 Beach Road, Golden Mile Food Centre, #01-75, Singapore 199583

Our Rating 4/5

75 Ah Balling

505 Beach Road, Golden Mile Food Centre, #01-75, Singapore 199583

Operating Hours: 11am - 8.30pm (Mon to Fri), 10am - 8.30pm (Sat & Sun)

Operating Hours: 11am - 8.30pm (Mon to Fri), 10am - 8.30pm (Sat & Sun)
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