Lai Heng Handmade Teochew Kueh: 22-year-old Michelin Bib Gourmand stall selling pan-fried & steamed kueh from $1.10

Lai Heng Handmade Teochew Kueh retains its spot on the Michelin Bib Gourmand list for the third consecutive year in 2023. Given its esteemed Michelin listing and the acknowledgment from several other food publications, I didn’t mind waking up at 7.10am for it.

During the train journey to Jurong, my anticipation remained high despite bypassing 15 stations. However, the long ride left my butt almost permanently stuck to the seat. I took a casual stroll from Chinese Garden MRT Station before I finally arrived at Yuhua Market & Hawker Centre.

lai heng handmade teochew kueh - stall front

At the stall, they offer just 4 types of kueh, giving you the choice between steamed or the slightly sinful pan-fried versions. I decided to go all out and ordered 1 of each item in both preparations.

lai heng handmade teochew kueh - kuehs on hot plate

The lady at the stall greeted me warmly, radiating a ray of sunshine with her friendly demeanor. She then placed my assortment of kueh on the hot griddle, crisping and browning their surfaces to perfection.

lai heng handmade teochew kueh - production

As I waited, I observed a single person skillfully managing a production line of ku chye kueh. She meticulously hand-kneaded each piece, and there were at least 60 of them on the table. Adjacent to them, another staff member was placing the finished masterpieces into the steamer.

What I tried at Lai Heng Handmade Teochew Kueh

I began with the iconic pink Steamed Png Kueh (S$1.40) and the Pan-fried Png Kueh (S$1.50). It brought back memories of my late Teochew grandmother offering them to me during my childhood. And back then, I always declined.

lai heng handmade teochew kueh - teochew kueh

It’s amusing how the saying ‘your taste buds change as you grow older’ rings true, as I am now a fan of them. I can’t help but feel a bit regretful for not having appreciated them earlier!

Stuffed within the silky pink layer of dough were halved-roasted peanuts, Chinese celery bits, dried shrimp, and, of course, glutinous rice.

lai heng handmade teochew kueh - teochew kueh closeup

The grilled version offered a satisfying mouthfeel with its crusty skin. Even after steaming, the peanuts retained their faint crunchiness, introducing subtle nutty undertones to the filling.

The umami-filled pieces of dried shrimp contributed tiny bursts of saltiness, beautifully complemented by the Chinese celery bits.

lai heng handmade teochew kueh - teochew kueh sauce dipping

It’s interesting that I preferred the Steamed Png Kueh over the pan-fried version, as it’s usually the opposite for me. The steamed skin allowed the flavours of the filling to shine, taking centre stage on my palate.

However, I must admit that the rice itself was slightly bland and could benefit from more seasoning to enhance its taste further. Well, if it helps, you can also dip them in the black sweet sauce provided. Despite this, the overall experience was still delightful.

It was my first time ever encountering Cabbage Kueh (S$1.10 for steamed, S$1.20 for pan-fried). They were distinguished by the pink dot on the top.

lai heng handmade teochew kueh - cabbage kueh

Whenever I order Nyonya chap chye (braised mixed vegetable stew), I really enjoy the tender, almost “braised to death” pieces of cabbage. The filling in the Cabbage Kueh felt as if the chef specially picked only the deliciously soft cabbages from the stew, sliced them and stuffed them inside.

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Enhanced with pieces of heh bi, the Cabbage Kueh disappeared in a flash as I hungrily devoured every morsel, thoroughly enjoying both renditions.

lai heng handmade teochew kueh - cabbage kueh closeup

Slathering the black sweet sauce over it uplifted its taste and brought things up a notch.

lai heng handmade teochew kueh - cabbage kueh sweet sauce

5 years ago, if you asked me if I wanted chives kueh, I would have made a disgusted face and shaken my head. But now, I’ve come to appreciate the delightful onion-y tones of these green buggers. Plus, the added bonus is the numerous health benefits!

made teochew kueh - chives kueh uncut

Despite the absence of dried shrimp, both the Steamed Ku Chye Kueh (S$1.10) and Pan-fried Ku Chye Kueh (S$1.20) were deliciously filled with moist and soft chives without any overpowering flavours.

The pan-fried version, with the added fragrance of the charred skin, was slightly more enjoyable to me.

lai heng handmade teochew kueh - chives kueh

The chilli was unique, featuring a grainy texture with multiple-levels of tanginess. Dunking my Steamed Ku Chye Kueh into it turned it into a party in my mouth; so satisfying!

made teochew kueh - ku chye kueh chilli dip

Before my face turned into a kueh itself, I eagerly reached for the last variety of that morning: Soon Kueh (S$1.10 for steamed, S$1.20 for pan-fried).

made teochew kueh - soon kueh

made teochew kueh - soon kueh insides

The Soon Kueh‘s filling was a combination of shredded turnips and heh bi, but it turned out to be the most underwhelming out of the 4. The turnips lacked depth of flavour and tasted rather one-dimensional.

made teochew kueh - soon kueh with chilli

To make it more exciting, I found myself relying on the black sweet sauce and chilli for added taste. On a positive note, the skin of the Soon Kueh was thin, soft, and silky. Unfortunately, there was nothing else noteworthy to rave about.

Final thoughts

made teochew kueh - overview

After my visit to Lai Heng Teochew Handmade Kueh, I couldn’t help but question if they truly deserved the Michelin Bib Gourmand title. While I enjoyed the cabbage and ku chye varieties, the png kueh and soon kueh left room for improvement. Maybe it was just an off day, but only a return visit can confirm my doubts.

In my heart, Jalan Kukoh Teochew Kueh still reigns supreme over them.

Expected damage: S$1.10 – S$6 per pax

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Price: $

Our Rating: 3.5 / 5

Lai Heng Handmade Teochew Kueh

347 Jurong East Avenue 1, #01-218, Singapore 600347

Price
Our Rating 3.5/5

Lai Heng Handmade Teochew Kueh

347 Jurong East Avenue 1, #01-218, Singapore 600347

Telephone: +65 9455 6341
Operating Hours: 6.30am - 2.30pm (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon
Telephone: +65 9455 6341

Operating Hours: 6.30am - 2.30pm (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon

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