Limpeh Carrot Cake, Kovan: Chunky yam fried carrot cake

Carrot cake or chai tow kway has been a long love of mine. From the famous stalls such as Fu Ming Cooked Food, Chey Sua Carrot Cake to the modern Carrot Cubes—I adore them all. There is nothing that I would change about this perfect hawker staple, but Limpeh Carrot Cake along Upper Serangoon was going to change that.

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Besides its tongue-in-cheek name, one of Limpeh Carrot Cake’s signature items is their Homemade Stir-Fried Yam Cake (S$5.40). This was intriguing to a carrot cake lover like me, since the heart of any chai tow way is those soft and smooth curds, that have been lovingly charred such that they are velvety on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside.

Limpeh Carrot Cake definitely keeps things interesting by using their homemade yam cake instead of the tried and true radish cake.

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I bagged one of almost everything on the menu at Limpeh’s Carrot Cake, and while I was waiting for my food, I got to catch a glimpse of how Limpeh Carrot Cake prepares their Homemade Stir-Fried Yam Cake. It starts pretty much the same way all chai tow kway start out—these oblong slabs are thrown onto a hot pan and roughly chopped before being allowed to crisp up.

Then, they are folded over with eggs for those soft, satiny folds.

What I tried

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For the Homemade Stir-Fried Yam Cake, expect thick, chunky irregular cubes of homemade yam and a dollop of their fiery chilli. Already, I could tell the cook on these cubes was good, with their toasty, well-charred edges. Since I was ravenous that particular afternoon, I gladly took a hefty spoonful.

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Given that yam cubes were used, I presumed that these squares would be rather starchy and heavy but these were light as air. Peppered with umami-laden shitake mushroom slivers and rich dried shrimps, it was a textural delight.

While I liked this new rendition, I found that it was missing that elusive and tantalising wok hei which would have made this truly unforgettable.

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Still, their chilli was pretty stellar. Fiery, complex and with just the right amount of heat—it will keep you coming back for more.

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Coming in a close second to carrot cake is orh luak or oyster omelette. Perfectly fried eggs interspersed with gratifyingly chewy bits coupled with fresh, briny oysters, I dare say, orh luak makes for the perfect super.

This Orh Luak (S$5.40)from Limpeh Carrot Cake came chock-full of plump oysters complete with that trademark floury, eggy layer. When it comes to this dish, there are no exceptions—the oysters have to be fresh.

If there is even a whiff of that these oysters are not fresh as they can be, toss it out. Consuming bad shellfish is not a road you want to go down.

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Rest assured that these oysters were fresh, creamy, fleshy little gems. The eggs were golden with the crispy edges that all orh luak should have. This one certainly gets my seal of approval.

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Seeing as there was the classic Homemade Carrot Cake ($3.50), I knew I had to give this a spin as well. Just like their homemade yam cubes, Limpeh Carrot Cake makes their own radish cake as well. Theirs is the ‘white’ version of carrot cake, with just fried cubes and eggs.

The cubes were larger and of firmer texture than those I have eaten before. Just like their fried yam cake, this was fried well with chye poh (preserved radish bits). While I liked the cook on these, they were missing that smoky wok hei flavour and need more oomph from the chye poh. 

Either way, a decent plate of chai tow kway that would make a satisfactory lunch.

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One of the more interesting dishes at Limpeh Carrot Cake was their Fried Short Grain Rice with Fish Roe & Prawn (S$5).  I have to say, I’m a sucker for anything topped with fish roe, be it siew mai or sushi, I’m there for it.

This one came peppered with bright yellow corn kernels and blushing shrimp curls.

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As much as I wanted to like this, I’m afraid these tangerine orbs did little to enhance the dish. The rice, on the other hand, had hints of that wok hei that was missing from the previous dishes. On account of this, I was willing to overlook the disappointing pile of tobiko spheres.

Final thoughts

Even though this was not mind-blowing, I found comfort and familiarity in each spoonful. For that reason, this fried rice is still worth a try or if you live in the area, and an easy choice for dinner.

Limpeh Carrot Cake presents a different and interesting take on traditional carrot cake. I definitely enjoyed Limpeh Carrot Cake’s fried yam cake and it’s surely worth a try.  There were a couple of misses but with a little fine-tuning, I’m sure this would be your go-to place for chai tow kway.

Expected damage: S$3.50 – S$5.50 per pax

Price: $

Our Rating: 3 / 5

Limpeh Carrot Cake

973 Upper Serangoon Road, Singapore 534725

Our Rating 3/5

Limpeh Carrot Cake

973 Upper Serangoon Road, Singapore 534725

Operating Hours: 8am - 1.30am (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon

Operating Hours: 8am - 1.30am (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon