We tried Singapore’s worst-rated Carrot Cake stall

Who would have thought that writing about food could be such a minefield? Because of that unnecessary bit of controversy, I’ll repeat the introduction from my very first Worst-rated article:

Because human beings are social creatures, we are susceptible to ‘groupthink’, where individuals simply repeat opinions they hear without thinking. Browsing bad hawker reviews online, I wondered if some stalls had been the victims of negative groupthink. So, I decided to review the lowest-rated hawker stalls in Singapore for myself.

Note that the series name is “worst-rated”, not “worst”. We are not making absolute declarations but giving a leg up to stalls already suffering a lacklustre rating. However, SETHLUI.com does not compromise on honesty. If a stall does indeed fall short, we tell our readers.

carrotcake - storeferont

That brings us to this week’s focus— Tiong Bahru Kampong Carrot Cake in Tiong Bahru Food Centre.

carrotcake - google reviews

Its current 3.3 stars out of 5 from 59 reviews isn’t abysmal, sure, especially since there are other carrot cake specialists with lower scores. (We consider only those with a minimum of 50 to 100 ratings to remove outliers)

carrotcake - stall posters

With a store front almost entirely covered in awards as well as newspaper clippings of accolades and positive reviews, the stall presents a striking view. It’s hard not to think that the not-so-positive reviews may be mistaken. Fingers crossed.

carrotcake - man cooking

The uncle has a very prim and proper look and is precise in his movements. Every motion he made in preparing orders were clearly practised and perfected over many years.

What I ordered at Tiong Bahru Kampong Carrot Cake

carrotcake - carrotcake dishes

There are 2 options here: White Carrot Cake (S$3.50 for small, S$4.50 for medium, S$5 for large) and Black Carrot Cake (S$3.50 for small, S$4.50 for medium, S$5 for large). We ordered one small plate each and it was whipped up in a matter of minutes.

Up till a few years ago, Tiong Bahru Kampong Carrot Cake served its carrot cake on a banana leaf. That quaint detail is now a relic of the past, replaced by a more economical but infinitely less beautiful plastic plate. Still, my first impressions were positive simply because of the serving size.

carrotcake - white carrot cake closeup

We first dug into the white carrot cake. Though fluffy in the right parts, it wasn’t firm enough where required. More disappointingly, this dish had just a tad too much salt. After chewing a few mouthfuls, my dining partner and I both decided that it was not quite white carrot cake.

I believe carrot cake of either variety has to be infused with that little bit of charred character to work. Here, it remained too similar in texture to some basic egg dish you would get with an all-day breakfast at a hipster cafe.

carrotcake - black carrot cake

By contrast, the black carrot cake was definitely black carrot cake! After I had dealt with the excessive salt in its white wok-mate, the subtle but distinct sweetness was a welcome difference. Crucially, it also had the wok hei that told me I was eating the right dish.

One of the complaints I had read about Tiong Bahru Kampong Carrot Cake was that the servings were too chunky. While I do agree that they are served slightly less finely cut-up than you would expect, I did not find it to be detracting or distracting.

Overall, I would say that the black carrot cake was passable but not something I would go out of my way for. The less said about the white carrot cake, the better.

Final thoughts

carrotcake - uncle at stall

When I compare my experience to published reviews, it’s obvious that Tiong Bahru Kampong Carrot Cake can be wildly inconsistent. It’s strange that a hawker who has been specialising in the same 2 dishes for so long can create dishes that are so different from day to day. Perhaps I may return another day just to see if there is a difference.

In this case, I have to agree with the 3.3 out of 5 rating this stall has online.

Expected damage: S$3.50 – S$5 per pax

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New in town: Space Coffee — Industrial-style cafe in Geylang serving carrot cake with big prawns

Price: $

Our Rating: 3 / 5

Kampong Carrot Cake

30 Seng Poh Road, Tiong Bahru Food Centre, #02-53, Singapore 168898

Our Rating 3/5

Kampong Carrot Cake

30 Seng Poh Road, Tiong Bahru Food Centre, #02-53, Singapore 168898

Telephone: +65 9004 6442
Operating Hours: 6am - 2pm (Wed to Mon), Closed on Tue
Telephone: +65 9004 6442

Operating Hours: 6am - 2pm (Wed to Mon), Closed on Tue