Last Updated: April 14, 2020
We love sharing good food recommendations with you, but for now, keep these recommendations as bookmarks—visit them only when the COVID-19 situation ends. Stay safe!
Way before the recent times of Insta-worthy desserts and fancy gelato parlours, there was (and still is) the nonya kuehs. A traditional snack item that has existed and survived the gruelling tests of food trends, emerging as an evergreen snack that transcended generations. Although we have introduced a couple of hidden gems selling a vast array of kueh items in Singapore, our list will never be complete without the mention of Tiong Bahru Galicier Pastry—one of the very few traditional confectionaries left standing in our sunny island.
Situated in Tiong Bahru alongside quaint hip cafes like Tiong Bahru Bakery and Plain Vanilla, Tiong Bahru Galicier Pastry is a humble family-run bakery that has been in business since the 1970s. Currently helmed by their fourth-generation owners, the shop not only sells nonya kuehs, but also a wide variety of old-school pastries, cakes, and cookies that are all freshly made in-store.
With more than 20 different nonya kuehs alone to choose from, I was spoilt for choice. Seriously, like a kid in a candy store, my eyes flickered back and forth as I fought back my urge to try every single item. Packed tidily in the display shelves, the kuehs all seemed to be calling my name, waving to me, trying to catch my gaze.
If you are new to Tiong Bahru Galicier Pastry, regulars will agree with me that one of the must-try items is the Kueh Dadar (S$0.90). One bite into these soft rolls of coconut filled crepe and I could immediately tell the difference.
Their kueh dadar stood out with its unique coconut filling what was snow-white in colour. Instead of flavouring the grated coconut with gula melaka or palm sugar, rock sugar was used to retain its original colour and provide a subtle sweetness that complemented the pandan’s fragrance of the soft crepe it was encased in. Not only that, but the filling was moist yet, not too wet resulting in bursts of juicy nuttiness with every mouthful.
Soft, chewy round balls filled with melted gula melaka coated generously with coconut shavings, Tiong Bahru Galicier Pastry’s Ondeh Ondeh (S$0.60) were bite-size spheres of sweetness waiting to be devoured.
Made using a mixture of sweet potato and glutinous rice flour, the skin of the ondeh-ondeh was delicate and exuded a rather strong aroma of the sweet potato. With the caramel-like gula melaka oozing out from the centre, I’ve got to warn you that these harmless looking balls of delight were so addictive that I simply couldn’t stop at one (thankfully, I only bought four). Just be really careful when consuming them as you won’t want brown stains of gula melaka on your clothes!
If you are looking for something savoury to cut through all those sweetness, you will never go wrong with their Lemper Udang (S$1.30), a beautiful roll of blue-stained glutinous rice filled with hae bee hiam (fried sambal shrimps). Have you ever had a lemper udang with such a thick layer of glutinous rice that you have to really break through that carb-loaded wall to get to its filling? Well, it was definitely not the case for the lemper udang at Tiong Bahru Galicier Pastry.
Constructed with the right ratio of glutinous rice and hae bee hiam, the outer layer was chewy and fragrant, while the filling was crisp with hints of spice and umami, resulting in a contrast of flavours and textures that will leave you craving for more.
Comparing to their nonya kuehs, although the tart items were equally delectable, they somehow did not leave as much as an impression. Fans of coconuts will love the Coconut Tart (S$0.90) as it screamed coconut with every bite. The filling was moist, complementing the buttery, cookie-like sweet tart crust perfectly. I particularly enjoyed the slightly burnt coconut bits on the top as it carried a burnt nutty fragrance which was a pleasant surprise.
The Egg Tart (S$0.90) on the other hand, was rather unique with its gelatinous bright yellow centre. Unlike regular egg tarts, the custard had a texture that was more similar to a jelly—smooth and bouncy, probably a little too delicate as the custard was able to slide down my throat without chewing, leaving its crusty counterpart behind in my mouth.
As a child, I never had fancy cakes for my birthdays. What I remember having was buttercream vanilla cakes and of course, my favourite, pandan kaya cakes. Thus, when I saw the Pandan Kaya Cake (S$7) at Tiong Bahru Galicier Pastry, a wave of nostalgia immediately took over.
Made up of four interlacing layers of kaya custard and pandan sponge, the cake was fragrant and light to the palate. Not only was the pandan sponge fluffy and very soft, but its texture remained the same even after the cake was refrigerated and consumed a couple of days later. With the kaya custard being more like a layer of agar-agar, this cake will definitely be a hit among the kids at home this ‘Circuit Breaker’ period!
Since most of the kuehs, cakes, and pastries can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days, why not get a variety of them to try whilst you are around the area? With all these mouth-watering delights, breakfast and tea-time won’t be that boring after all!
Expected Damage: S$0.90 – S$7 per pax
Our Rating: 4 / 5
Tiong Bahru Galicier Pastry
Tiong Bahru Road, Block 55, #01-39, Singapore 160055
Tiong Bahru Road, Block 55, #01-39, Singapore 160055