If you’ve grown up eating this timeless dish as part of your childhood, this list is for you!
I’m not a breakfast person, but when I’m in the company of someone who insists on having this meal, chwee kueh is somehow always my pick. Light and easy-to-digest, these wobbly white cakes with their topping of chai poh (the star of the dish, if you ask me) can actually make me consider breaking my no-breakfast habit.
‘Chwee’ is Teochew for ‘water’ which alludes to the nature of the light, airy cakes we know as chwee kueh. Topped with sweetish-savoury preserved radish and served with chilli, they are a popular breakfast snack in Singapore and Malaysia. While not as universally famous as nasi lemak or laksa, they hold their own as one of the most affordable ways to start your day.
Where do we get the best chwee kueh in Singapore? Oh, we can go on debating about this. But in my humble opinion, here’s where you can find the best chwee kueh stalls across our island. If you’ve got any others for me to add to the list, do let me know!
1. Ghim Moh Chwee Kueh
‘Tried and tested’ is probably the most accurate description of Ghim Moh Chwee Kueh. Singaporeans have been enjoying its signature dish for over half a century and, if anything, the queues are even longer today.
Their radish is not as finely chopped as most other hawker versions, giving the dish a unique texture. It is also less sweet and tends more towards savoury. You get 4 pieces for S$2.
Blk 20, Ghim Moh Rd, Ghim Moh Food Centre, #01-31, Singapore 270020
+65 9176 6850
Daily: 6:15am – 7pm
2. Jian Bo Shui Kueh
Another stall with over 60 years of heritage, Jian Bo Shui Kueh is one of the iconic names associated with the Tiong Bahru Market. It even earned itself a Michelin recommendation in 2017. Served with a special chilli and dried shrimp and topped with sesame seeds, one dish costs S$2.50 for 5 pieces.
Fellow Singaporeans who have tried their chwee kueh before may agree that their standard has dropped. A bit too oily, but for some, this is still great.
30 Seng Poh Road, Tiong Bahru Market, #02-05, Singapore 168898
+65 6753 7588
Daily: 5:30am – 10pm
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3. Bedok Chwee Kueh
Bedok Chwee Kueh has also been recognised by Michelin, this time with a Bib Gourmand in 2019 (the only chwee kueh stall to have been awarded one). Their chwee kueh is larger than most and the chai poh, less oily. It has a characteristic flavour and aroma, thanks to the toasted sesame seeds and wonderful chilli sauce. Buy 2 for S$1 and add S$0.30 for takeaway.
This has got to be my favourite, hands down. They’ve nailed their chai poh— it’s got the perfect crunch to it, so a winner in my eyes.
208 New Upper Changi Road, Bedok Interchange Hawker Centre, #01-19, Singapore 460207
+65 9833 7709
Daily: 6:30am – 8pm
4. Kovan Chwee Kueh
At S$1.20 for 4 pieces, Kovan Chwee Kueh serves one of the cheapest versions of the popular breakfast dish, and does it so without compromising on quality.
You can tell that from the constant queue at the stall all morning where the 3 friendly aunties practice service with an incessant smile.
I found their sweetish chai poh to be very light on oil (they cook exclusively with vegetable oil) and the perfect light breakfast to go.
29 Bendemeer Road, Bendemeer Food Centre, #01-64, Singapore 330029
Daily: 5:30am – 11:30am
5. Tiong Bahru Chwee Kueh
You know it’s a Singapore hawker favourite when even Tangs is trying to cash in on the action. Well, not exactly, but Tiong Bahru Chwee Kueh takes up a stall in the Orchard Road department store’s basement. The firm and moist rice cakes pair perfectly with the crunchy and equally moist chai poh.
If you smashed your budget shopping and need a cheap meal, the S$2 for 4 pieces of chwee kueh you get here is the answer.
310 Orchard Road, Tangs Orchard Basement 1, Singapore 238864
Mon – Thur & Sat: 10.30am – 9.30pm, Fri: 10:30am – 11pm, Sun 11am – 8.30pm
6. Pek Kio Handmade Chwee Kueh
What chwee kueh do they eat in the Land of the Giants? Why, palm-sized Pek Kio Handmade ones, of course. This stall has the standard bite-sized chwee kueh but the larger ones are far more interesting.
Despite their size, the rice cakes are moist and fluffy. The chai poh is light on the oil and the salt. For S$1.50, you get one large piece or 5 smaller ones.
41A Cambridge Road, Pek Kio Market and Food Centre, #01-28, Singapore 211041
Daily: 7:30am – 2pm
7. Xin Xi Chwee Kueh
Xin Xi Chwee Kueh does other local breakfast favourites but chwee kueh is by far its most popular, and best prepared dish.
The chai poh stands apart from most others for being extra crunchy and slightly smoky, a natural result of a longer cooking process. The kueh is soft and bouncy.
58 New Upper Changi Road, Bedok South 58 Market and Food Centre, #01-150, Singapore 461058
Daily: 7am – 3pm
8. Sembawang Hills Shui Kway
There is one comment that unites everyone who tried the chwee kueh here— the little rice cakes are firmer than what you can find anywhere else. The density works surprisingly well with the chai poh and dried shrimp it’s served with.
The mild sweetness of the radish and the sparing use of oil makes this the go-to breakfast for anyone on a diet. It is light on the wallet, too, priced at S$1.40 for 4 pieces.
590 Upper Thomson Road, #01-16, Singapore 574419
Daily: 6am – 5pm
9. Taman Jurong Chwee Kueh
Food presentation is an art and some hawkers practice it, too. The elderly uncle who runs this stall doesn’t ladle the chai poh and chilli across all the chwee kueh on your plate at once but places them individually on each rice cake.
Take a bite and you will find that he puts just as much effort in preparation— the dried shrimp-infused flavour of the chilli and the salty preserved radish are wonderful together. And, it’s a bargain— S$1 for 3 pieces and $1.50 for 5.
3 Yung Sheng Road, Taman Jurong Food Centre, #02-67, Singapore 618499
Daily: 6am – 1.30pm
10. Xiang Xiang
Like your chwee kueh topped with sweet and salty chai poh? Xiang Xiang does exactly that with ease. Each order comes with their very own chilli as well as umami dried shrimp.
The radish is not as finely chopped as at some other stalls but if you like that, this is one of the best places to get your daily dose. It’s affordable, too, at just S$1.50 for 5 pieces. Go for this one if you fancy your chwee kueh salty— I found it too intense for my liking.
91 Whampoa Drive, #01-05, Singapore 320091
Tue – Sun: 7am to 1pm
Closed on Mon
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