Hello everyone! I’m back with the Hawker Heritage series! The last post I did was ages ago, and it was about Chinese steamed buns, aka pau.
A few months back (Yes, I’m terrible when I procrastinate blog posts), I went on a hawker heritage trail in Chinatown. My dad, the wise old foodie, knowing my interest in traditions and Singapore’s hawker culture, brought me to visit a few of the early hawkers in Chinatown area.
Kickstarting this series is Poh Guan Cake Shop!
I just realised that they even have a Facebook page, which is pretty impressive, considering that they’ve been open since 1930. Two thumbs up for the effort.
If you were scurrying past, as many of us do, you would probably disregard Poh Guan Cake Shop as any old school bakery. But if you just took a moment to slow down and look, you’ll realise that the goods that they have on offer are rarely found in other bakeries. Or at least, the sheer selection is hard to beat.
The assortment of kuehs are impressive, and I love seeing my parents getting all excited by their childhood snacks, as they eagerly point out their favourites. My personal favourite was the orange huat kueh that you see in the background of the above picture.
I think my foodie father influenced my love for it. I used peel the slices, and roll them into bite-sized balls and eat them as they were, sometimes with a dip of butter. Another way to enjoy them is in freshly-steamed slices… all you have to do is slather on some peanut butter while they are still hot, and you have a delicious breakfast. The more-ish-ness of the kuehs are hard to beat.
He also sells those traditional mooncake pigs I used to see when I was young, alongside the traditional mooncakes without all the unnecessary frills that we get with overpriced mooncakes nowadays.
The boss, Mr Chan Kim Ho, is no stranger to being in the spotlight, and has been featured in the news several times.
They were featured again recently for making traditional Teochew moon cakes, which are studded with sesame seeds, and the size of a plate. A rare sight in Singapore indeed! Apart from these Teochew moon cakes which can be filled with green bean/red bean paste (La Bia) or even steamed black sesame cakes (La Gao), he also makes traditional cantonese mooncakes filled with lotus paste. They may not look perfect, but they sure do taste good!
He sits there everyday, at the rustic cashier, with the olden day calendars lined behind him. I asked him if I could take a photo with him, and he readily agreed. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but he commented something about rarely having a photo with young people nowadays. I strongly agree! We should still try to get to know some of our local culture and traditions, even as we progress as a nation.
The boss is in his mid 80s but he still has the most jovial smile on his face. Sadly, I didn’t get to talk to him in greater detail as there were other customers, but it was still nice to have gotten a chance to meet a pioneer hawker 😀
If you don’t recognise these cakes, these are colourful steamed cakes that are often eaten dipped in orange sugar. You can often find miniature versions sold in franchises, but the authentic ones are hard to come by.
The bright pink buns are chinese steamed buns which resemble longevity peaches, and are filled with a sweet lotus paste filling. They are one of my favourite traditional chinese snacks! They are usually served at birthdays or other auspicious moments to signify longevity.
We bought a couple of snacks, one of which was their tau sar piah. Tau Sar Piah is usually filled with a mung bean paste filling, and covered in a flaky pastry. My favourite is from Loong Fatt Tau Sar Piah, but that’s a post for another time. (Spoiler: I saw the boss too!)
His Tau Sar Piah was average, much like the traditional ones my parents said they ate when they were young. But it was still fun to have a taste of tradition, quite literally.
Yet another local snack he makes are these sticky chewy peanut kuehs. Well I’m not quite sure if they are kuehs, but they have a very chewy consistency, and filled with sweet peanuts.
I didn’t try this from his stall, but I’ve eaten before, and I would say that it is an acquired taste, since there is an aftertaste that I can’t quite put my finger on, which lingers after the flavours from the peanuts have disappeared.
I also remember seeing this yellow spongey disc-like snack I used to eat, which was another childhood favourite of mine. Sadly, I didn’t take a photo and I can’t find a photo of it. If anyone knows what I’m describing, do let me know the name!
The photos were actually taken at the oldest Yakun outlet in Singapore, but that’s saved for another post.
I just want to give you a glimpse into the kind of pastries our parents ate when they were young, and perhaps raise awareness in the younger generations of the existence of these old school snacks and bakeries! Please try them in case they close down 😦
Prices are affordable of course, and you get to enjoy a sweet treat which costs a tenth of those cakes you get in cafes. Poh Guan Cake Shop has everything from Beh Teh Soh (a pastry with a sweet chestnut paste filling) to Wive’s Biscuit (老婆饼）which is filled with a sweet winter melon paste and coated in a thin layer of pastry. There are so many variations, and some of these pastries even have interesting stories behind them.
Even though I didn’t know the names to some of these items, t hope you managed to learn a little bit about some of the snacks that were, and are, a part of Singapore’s food heritage. Perhaps you’re even feeling the urge to go on your own Chinatown food trail?
I mean, what better way to learn about your traditions than through food? 😛
Stay tuned for more updates in this series! I’ve got a couple more posts lined up for you, including Ya Kun’ oldest stall and one of Singpaore’s best kueh stores 😀
Address: #01-57 Hong Lim Complex, 531 Upper Cross St, 050531
Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
Everytime I eat the one-dollar ice cream sandwiches from the street side vendors along Orchard Road, I feel a tinge of nostalgia. These ice cream sandwiches were a major part of my childhood. As cheesy as it may sound, no artisan ice cream or gelato can bring me the same kind of childlike happiness.
If you’ve been living in Singapore all this while, you would be no stranger to these lovely ice cream sandwiches. Some people like theirs served with the crispy wafer biscuits, while others prefer the fluffy rainbow bread. Either way, the experience is filled with fun… after all, where else can you eat ice cream by the block?
I’m lucky to have an adorable ice-cream uncle who makes rounds around my neighbourhood fortnightly. Every time I hear the familiar ring of the bell, I literally drop whatever I’m doing and run about the house squealing the great news “Ice cream uncle! Ice cream uncle!” You may think I’m weird, but hang on… my equally excited younger sister contributes with similar squeals of excitement, and soon the whole house is filled with a buzz of activity. Our parents can hardly hide their excitement too, as they fumble about for loose change so that we can run out to buy ice cream for everyone. My parents have been enjoying this icy cold treat since they were kids, and now that they have kids, I’m pleased to say that nothing has changed. Yes, this scene repeats itself every time the ice cream uncle turns up.
Well, what better way than to recreate my family’s happiness than with Homemade Ice-Cream Sandwich Bread? Some people call it Rainbow Bread but its not really rainbow, if you want to be technical, since the bread is only made up of uneven hues of pink and green. I omitted the pink hues in this case, since I wanted to make a Pandan flavored Milk Loaf to pair with the ice-cream.
I honestly can’t wait to use the machine to try out more treats, especially since the breadmaker has 13 different menus available. From french bread, to bread dough and even chocolate! The possibilities are endless.
For me, and I’m sure any homebakers out there, user-friendliness is key. Well, if someone like me (I’m not exactly a tech geek) can operate this breadmachine, you easily can. Now, I don’t want this to sound like an impersonal marketing ad, so I’m going to go on to show you how the machine works and what kind of results it produces. (Of course, everyone is only interested in how easy a product is to use, and how awesome the results are… I’m a consumer too, I know what you are thinking! 😉 )
For my first recipe, I’m starting out with something simpler… A fluffy loaf of Pandan Milk Bread to make the ice-cream sandwich with.
RECIPE: (Made using Panasonic SD-P104 Breadmaker)
250g Bread Flour
2 tbsp Granulated Sugar
70ml Cold Milk (or 1 tbsp milk powder)
1 tsp Instant dry yeast
1/2 tsp Pandan Extract
Few drops of green food colouring (Optional)
1) Install the blade into the bread pan
2) Add in all the ingredients, except for the instant dry yeast
3) Add Instant Dry Yeast into the yeast dispenser
4) Adjust the settings
-Menu: 3 (This is for soft bread)
-Crust: Soft (You could choose medium if you prefer)
-Timer: 4h 20 min from when you started (the time was already set)
(Sigh…Isn’t it wonderful how you can walk off and do all your errands and return a few hours later to a fluffy freshly baked loaf of bread?)
Yes, that is all. I was shocked too, since I tried making bread without a bread machine previously, and it took a lot more effort. All the more reason to love Panasonic. Even a tech-noob like me could figure out how to operate it!
Note: Do set the correct time on the bread maker before you start, and also remember to wash the loaf pan!
After slicing it, I was ecstatic to find a super soft and bouncy interior. It was so fluffy! Not to mention, the smell of freshly baked bread escaping with every slice I cut. Ahh… heaven.
I may not be very good at slicing bread, but I assure you, looks don’t matter in this case. The texture of the bread makes up for everything!
I wish I could invite you all into my house to taste some of the bread, or at the very least get to feel the bread. It is completely different from those store-bought loaves which are loaded with preservatives.
OH hang on, I have one more thing to tell you.
To make things even more interesting, I managed to get my hands on a block of Raspberry Ripple from the cheery old ice cream uncle. $7 for a whole block sure beats an overpriced pint of branded ice cream any day.
HAPPINESS CAN COME CHEAP You should have seen my family’s faces.
So, what do you say? Why don’t you join me in recreating such simple joys from your childhood for your family today? With a small investment in a bread machine like Panasonic’s, you can get the results with minimal effort. You don’t have to break out into a sweat kneading the dough, just sit back, relax and let the magic unfold. (Gosh, the ice cream sandwiches must be getting to me, I feel so poetic today)
You don’t have to let go of the nostalgic memories from the past, all you have to do is recreate them, and share the experiences with the generations to come!
Good morning to you all! I’m back again.
I’m on a roll.. 3 posts in 2 days? That’s a rarity.
Studying must be taking a toll on me :O Well, blogging about food is the perfect way for me to destress.
Since today is National Day in Singapore, its the perfect day to launch yet another series, Hawker Heritage, where I will share more about a hawker food so that you can learn about a unique Singaporean dish you have never heard of. This will be a fun read if you’re a foreigner, or.. if you’re reading this in the future, and this dish has been lost, at least you’ll get to know about it. Even if you are a local, it’ll be interesting to read about the history of a certain dish for a change! Basically, what I’m saying is…I’m sure this will be an enjoyable read for everyone. 😛
I think its extremely sad that we are losing our hawker heritage. With so many young adults only looking at office jobs, there is no one to take over our hawkers. That being said, it is not easy teaching someone else the tricks of the trade, especially is the hawker has been cooking for 30 years. Its difficult to pass on the “wok hei” to a new cook.. after so many years, the hawkers have developed some kind of intuition of when the food has been perfectly cooked. Its no longer a recipe, or a job, its become second nature to them.
Sure, you may say that there are up and coming young hawkers who are setting up stalls here and there, but these few are far from enough to replace the older generation of hawkers. I shudder at the thought of losing the delicious and affordable hawker food to commercially produced food, over-priced restaurants and… *gulp* run-of-the-mill food courts. The concepts in food courts may be similar to hawker centres, but there is absolutely no way the ambience and the food can match up to our mouthwatering hawker food.
If we ever lose our hawker heritage, (please let that not be so), may this series serve as a reminder of what we had, and what we will always love.
To the parents out there, do not belittle family gathering or the making of traditional recipes.. these little things define our childhood. Who doesn’t love popiah parties, making love-letters, or crafting delicious bak zhang with your family and friends? And to the children out there, be willing to learn and try new things, find out as much as you can about Singapore’s traditional food, and pass on the tradition to your kids. It would pain me to see Singapore lose our hawker heritage like how we are losing our ability to speak in dialects.
Enough of the gloom doom, let’s start today’s post with one of my favorite foods, PAU. (or Bao, Baozi)
Pau or chinese steamed buns, are buns filled with all kinds of fillings, and steamed in a huge wooden steamer. Nowadays, most people use the modern steamers which look like metal drawers. The fillings range from meat fillings, like barbequed pork (charsiew), to vegetable fillings, either turnips or mixed shredded veggies, to dessert like buns filled with red bean paste, yam paste or custard. There are so many variations, I couldn’t possibly list them all out!
This is a Tau Sar pau (red bean paste). As you can see, the fluffy white bun encases a sweet red bean filling. This was one of the best red bean paus I had.. you can even see the chunks of red bean, and a slight tinge of redness. Some commercially made paus barely resemble red beans, the filling looks more like a smooth black paste, and is overly sweetened.
My favorite part of eating a pau is tearing it in half and watching the steam rise out from the centre of your pau. Piping hot is the way to go! Everyone has their favorite pau, and my favorites would be yam pau, lian yong pau (lotus paste), and vegetable pau. Unfortunately, since I love these paus too much, I don’t have any photos of them, since they somehow find their way into my mouth way too quickly. All I have is the poorly taken photo of an average looking vegetable pau below.
For the health conscious, vegetable paus would appeal to you. Filled solely with cooked vegetables, you can get one of your five-a-day! There are even wholemeal options to healthify it even more. Since these buns are steamed, they can be considered relatively healthy too.
Paus were first created about 2000 years ago, believed to have been invented as a portable meal for soldiers in third century A.D, Now, paus are a delicacy enjoyed by all, in China, Another story goes that in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, mantou was also said to be associated with the famous strategist Zhu Ge Liang, 诸葛亮, who supposedly made ritual offerings of mantou stuffed with meat (meat pau) in place of human sacrifice. (Mantou is a steamed bun without any filling)
This variation is the Charsiew Pau (barbequed pork), and is loved by many for its slightly sweet taste which compliments the charred meaty goodness. The best pau would have a thin casing and loads of filling, such that it is almost spilling out.
Pau are commonly eaten for breakfast, and can be found at dimsum restaurants. These buns are about the size of a tennis ball, so two of them would make a substantial breakfast.
For the bigger eaters, there are even Da Paus (big pau) which are much larger, and are filled with meat. I love these paus as they are a meal in itself, sometimes even coming with an egg! The juices from the meat soak into the bun, without making the entire bun become soggy. Even Bruce Lee loved some good pau.
as touted by Johor Bahru Hand made Pau, who also sells giant paus (inspired by Amy Yip’s.. uhm.. assets).
Everybody raves over Liu Sha Pau (salted egg yolk custard bun), which is fun to eat cause of the way the filling flows like a river of golden sand. Never bite straight into this or you risk burning your throat as the hot lava goodness rushes down. Honestly, I’m not too sure why everybody loves this, it was too rich for me, but as a foodie, I had to get some to see what the hype was all about.
Some of the good pau stalls in Singapore include TIong Bahru Pau, Teck Kee Pau, Commonwealth Pau and Tanjong Rhu Pau. Sadly, a common trend I have noticed is the shrinking of the paus, and the rise in prices. Some stalls even try to add their own twist, such as adding Lor Mai Kai (glutinous rice and meat) into a steamed bun casing.. which was not very popular, probably cause it was a carbo-overload. Call me old fashioned, but I still love the simple, traditional flavours the best.
You can find paus at most drink/snack/dimsum stalls in the food courts, or you could travel specially down to the above mentioned stalls to taste the real deal. If you’re lazy, the supermarket sells frozen paus which you can just steam at home. Of course, commercialised paus can’t beat the handmade versions, but they are a close enough substitute given their convenience.
As I end off, I just want to leave you with this visual:
Imagine holding a fluffy, steaming hot bun in your hand… you gently tear the bun into half, watching the steam rise from the centre of the bun, as the smell of the sweet sweet red bean wafts into your nose. Oh, nostalgia. You bring the bun to your mouth, and take a bite. The soft bun gives way to the generous red bean filling.. so smooth, so flavorful, and perfectly sweet. Before you know it, the sweet paste has made its way to your stomach, before you know it, you’re reaching for another, and another.. Savory? Sweet? They all stand no chance.
Have I made you crave pau yet? 😉 I think I’ll go and steam some for breakfast.
Stall #90 at Commonwealth Crescent Market and Food Centre
As we all know, the sweltering heat in Sunny Singapore is nothing to joke about. The humidity leaves us feeling sluggish, and the more our clothes cling to our sweaty bodies, the worse our mood becomes. During times like these, you should head down to Dessert 90 to beat the heat with their sweet treats!
My choice would be their Cheng Teng. For those of you who aren’t familiar with hawker fare, cheng teng is an asian dessert comprising of a light refreshing soup with longans, barley, agar strips, lotus seeds, and many other ingredients unique to each stall, finished off with a sweet syrup.
Did you look at the photo above carefully?
Just $1.00 for a bowl of dessert?
Although it seems too good to be true, Dessert 90 sells refreshing and light desserts at just a dollar each, without compromising on quality.
Gather round children, its time for a story.
Now now, don’t get your knickers in a knot. I know you’re probably wiping sweat off your furrowed brows right now, eager to scroll to the end of this post to see my verdict. Well, just hang in there a while longer.
Good things come to those who wait.
Dessert 90 is about more than food. Its about a passion. These kindred old folks behind the stall have been in this business since the 1960s, and have been selling their homemade desserts to their loyal fan base of Commonwealth residents. They are clearly not in this for the profit (A dollar for a bowl of dessert? You can’t beat this price anywhere else in Singapore) and the result is
seen tasted in their desserts. Lovingly prepared for 3 hours daily, their traditional recipes have proven to be a favorite throughout the generations.
My recommendation would be for their Cheng Teng which is chockful of healthy ingredients. Hmmm, maybe their stall is pink to secretly highlight that their desserts will leave you in the pink of health. Geddit? 😀
The friendly couple even allowed me to take photos of their kitchen, and readily answered my questions with a smile. Look at the prepared bowls for the Cheng Teng… they are without a doubt generous with the ingredients especially for a dollar.
Now, just who is this friendly couple you keep going on about, you may ask?
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the owners of Dessert 90..
The jovial couple who are eager to help, and love their job.
Now, what you have all been waiting for…the food!
They top their Cheng Teng with a huge mound of ice, just what I need to cool off in this horrible heat. Their syrup is clear, unlike most other places which have a thick brown syrup, and leaves me with a light after taste. I don’t feel heavy after this dessert, just refreshed and ready to get on with my day!
What makes this Cheng Teng special for me is their use of natural ingredients to add the sweetness to the dessert, rather than using ladles of diabetes inducing sugar syrup. This is the only place that left me feeling light after eating a dessert. (Good news for the health conscious foodies)
With so many ingredients added, the dessert is a symphony of tastes and textures. The red dates add delightful bursts of sweetness with each bite, while the white fungus adds a nice crunch to the dessert. They even added wintermelon which was crunchy, chewy and sweet all at once.
The orange peel is a suprisingly nice touch, with the gummy sweet peel adding depth to the Cheng Teng. This is the first time I’ve found orange peel in this dessert. Not that I’m complaining though 😛
The chewy al dente barley pearls also helped to neutralise the sweet ingredients, and rounded off this dessert perfectly.
The wholesome ingredients all worked together nicely, complementing each other to create a taste of nostalgia. Nothing can beat home-cooked goodness.
Dessert 90 stands out from other stalls because they provide what many hawkers have lost.. the taste of home. Healthy, yet delicious. I’ve realised that you can indeed taste the love put into cooking.
Now you know, love is the secret ingredient in every mother’s delicious homemade meals.
Do head down to their stall to seek some cool respite in this weather. Once you taste the love, you’ll keep coming back for more. Don’t worry, they won’t give you the cold shoulder, just cold desserts to appease your overheated body. 🙂 In this case, it would be apt to say that you will get the most bang for your buck!
As we all know, the main problem with chain outlets is the quality control. Sometimes, you leave feeling good about what you’ve eaten, and other times you leave regretting your choice, vowing never to return again.
Fear not! You no longer have to be subjected to that horrible cycle of food mood swings.. at least for JOLLIBEAN PEANUT PANCAKES! 😀
This post marks the start of a new category “Quality Control” for various chain eateries across Singapore. I’ll put up a post once I hit 5 outlets, and will add on as I try more outlets in the near future. So, if you have any suggestions for eateries to be QCed by yours truly, leave a comment below or just drop me an email. I’d be glad to give it a whirl.
Jollibean is one of the commonly frequented grab and go eateries in Singapore. So having heard comments about how some outlets gave more filling, or had dough that was too thick, I decided to do a quality control test to find out for myself, which outlet was the best!
I decided to review the peanut pancake since I prefer the crunch of the peanut which complements the sweet pancake. The red bean pancake should be fairly similar to the peanut pancake in terms of filling, so I gave the outlet a good rating, you can feel free to get your red bean pancake fix from them too!
Let’s not waste anytime reviewing the 5 Jollibean outlets I tried, (several times each, mind you) in my quest for the best Jollibean outlet in the central area.
First up, Paragon!
1) Paragon Outlet
The pancakes look better in these photos because I used a filter on Instagram. Nonetheless, the aunties here are quite generous with fillings for peanut (not so for red bean). You should try not to get the folded pieces, since they tend to have too much dough at the end. Also, the dough is too thick at times, which makes them a bit soggy. However, in terms of quality and consistency, Paragon scores pretty well! Bonus points for the large pieces 😛
Next up, Changi Terminal 3’s outlet
2) Changi T3
As you can see, the dough is pretty thick, and you see the part where its folded? Yup, that’s why I recommended that you ask for the side pieces, cause the folded parts are pretty much just dough.
I must commend them for their generous peanut filling though! The peanut filling here is one of the best amongst the outlets that I tried. The peanuts are not too sweet, and you can actually taste a lot of peanuts for this outlet. Also, the dough is rather thick, and is strangely squishy-moist. Maybe its been sitting there for too long.
Another thing to note for this outlet is that their pancakes tend to be a little stale (they even cover them with cling film in an attempt to preserve the freshness, since not as many people frequent the aiport, as compared to malls.
Talk about inconsistency…
Look at that barely there peanut filling. Tsk, a disappointment to all Jollibean outlets.
3) 313 Somerset
The batter looks paler compared to the rest. But this pancake had one of the best pancake-peanut ratio and I didn’t feel like I had too much of either in each mouthful. The dough was not dry too. A little oily though, could see oil soaking after keeping it overnight.
4) Bishan Junction 8
The first time I tried their peanut pancake, I was extremely dissapointed. The dough, while thin, was dry and hard to swallow. What’s more, there was barely any peanut filling! To make things even worse, they gave me a small piece.
I went back a few more times, hoping to give them a chance to redeem themselves. Unfortunately, my return trips were all greeted with lacklustre peanut pancakes with little filling.
On my last visit, I was pleased to get pancakes that were of average (or maybe a lil better) standard.
The peanut filling was actually OOZING out! What a rare occurrence.
Rating: 5/10 (unless you’re lucky and get a 6/10 like I did on my last trip)
The last outlet I visited was the one at NEX. The pancakes here are constantly being replenished since they have a steady stream of customers.
While the pieces may not be large, the filling-pancake ratio is pretty good!
The dough is moist and the filling is crunchy!
Tips for eating Jollibean pancakes
1) Heat them up!
-More often than not, you’ll get a pancake at room temperature, which in my opinion, isn’t very palatable. So I suggest you steam your pancake/heat it up in a small toaster oven if you get a chance!
2) Ask the staff to give you the corner piece so you won’t end off with the thick batter.
3) Be a frequent customer at your favorite outlet, so that the workers will start to recognize you and give to the “bigger pieces” for your loyalty! 🙂
The first thing that struck me was how small the coffeeshop was. So many people have eaten at Chin Mee Chin Confectionery, so naturally I assumed that Chin Mee Chin was at least twice its actual size. In fact, there are only 7 tables in the coffeshop, no wonder they are always crowded.
With a little colour from the vibrantly dressed passerbys 😛
First up, I tried their adorable old school cupcakes which were on display.
The cupcakes are basically fluffy butter cupcakes.. maybe with a teeny hint of coffee, topped with chocolate icing and a sprinkle of hundreds and thousands. I rarely see such simple cupcakes around nowadays, especially since most cupcakes are piled high with icing, and have more interesting flavours such as red velvet, or salted caramel. In fact, we almost never see cupcake bakeries selling something as simple as a butter cupcake anymore.
COMPARE HOW THESE CUPCAKES FARE:
Look at this red velvet cupcake (not my photo) topped with icing…
Check out that mound of icing! :O
In comparison to the no-frills butter cupcake:
Taste wise, this is nothing spectacular. What you see is what you get. Just like in the old days, you bake a butter cupcake, you get a butter cupcake, no surprises in a special icing or filling. I do think you should order it though, just for the sake of nostalgia, of having something simple to remind you of your childhood.
Now, on to the drinks..
This was nice and thick. There’s nothing better than some rich Milo on a cold morning.
It’ll provide a nice slightly bitter contrast to the sweet cakes and kaya toast.
TIME FOR TOAST!
The kaya was incredible. Eggy, smooth and sweet. Delicious on the toasted round buns which were a nice change from the usual rectangles/squares of toast.
The bread was topped with generous slabs of butter, which melted nicely when you sandwiched two pieces of bread together like a hamburger.
Aiya, no more kaya. Hahaha, I feel like rhyming today. Anyway, just one teeny problem, a few slices of the toasts weren’t covered very well with kaya (as seen above), which really is a pity cause their kaya is delicious. Of course, you could always do what I did, and buy a tub of kaya to bring home… and of course sneak some out to slather on your toast.
But its not all smooth sailing for Chin Mee Chin, with their obvious lack of a system, it took us 3 or more reminders to get our eggs to our table.. and they only came after we were done with the toast. What’s more.. take a look at the eggs:
The eggs were nothing impressive. To be frank, they were bad. One egg was watery, and the other was overcooked.
Here, do have a closer look so you’ll believe me!
So much for food porn. :S My apologies. I had to give you an honest review about all aspects of Chin Mee Chin.
Don’t let the unsatisfactory eggs put you off though! The kaya toast is more than worth it to make the trip down to this crowded little old school coffee shop for a nice tummy warming breakfast.
Chin Mee Chin Confectionery is a nice no-frills old school eatery to bring back waves of nostalgia with fuss-free homemade goodies, and authentic furniture from back in the day.
Look at that rich gravy, generously poured over the noodles, and topped with chilli, garlic, vinegar, and many other garnishes. Every ingredient combines with the others so well to create this amazing bowl of Lor Mee.
I can see you drooling… Fret not! I am about to share this bowl of deliciousness with you.
Here’s another photo to whet your appetite before I begin my rant about my all time favorite hawker fare, Lor Mee.
The Lor Mee is sold at 3 prices, ($2.50, $3, $3.50) and are served in colour coded bowls, red, green and yellow respectively. This is the first time I have eaten Lor Mee with so many toppings, all of which enhanced the dish. There was charsiew, crunchy fried bits of flour, braised pork meat, fish cakes.. absolutely delicious, and these toppings help differentiate it from the others. But that’s not all! The “lor” or gravy, is another winner, the gravy is thick, yet smooth and flavorful, without being overly gloopy (if you get my drift). The gravy is the right kind of savory, and is not too overpowering that you would get tired of it halfway through the meal. I savoured every mouthful of noodles, enjoying the different textures from the various ingredients, whilst slurping up the hot, mouthwatering gravy.
You may ask, which is better? The Bukit Purmei Lor Mee or the renown Old Airport Road Lor Mee? Well, the two Lor Mee’s are different despite being the same dish, and both are delicious in their own unique way. Honestly, with two highly skilled hawkers with different cooking styles, you simply can’t choose between the two. Its like asking me to choose between Yakult and Vitagen, both similar yet different products. Of course, the one you prefer is up to your personal preference.. but both are winners to me. (On a side note, the Bukit Purmei Lor Mee is starchier than the one at Old Airport Road, so if you’re watching your waistline, you know what to do!)
Also, its time for a special feature!
Our beloved Pandan waffle commonly found at any old school bakery!
Just a stone’s throw away from the Lor Mee stall, this old school bakery sells amazing pandan waffles. Maybe I was simply hungry while waiting for my food to come, but it is one of the best pandan waffles I’ve eaten. I followed my nose towards the tantalizing smell of freshly baked goods, only to see A WAFFLE STATION! Without hesitation, I ordered my usual peanut butter waffle and watched them make my waffle while attempting to hold in my drool. The smell was so fragrant, service was prompt, the pricing was affordable, and the taste was great. The waffle was moist yet crunchy on the surface, and it was thick and fluffy, and just dense enough for my liking. What’s more, the waffle was slathered in peanut butter, which was oozing out as it melted in the freshly made waffle.
This is a must try! Especially while you’re waiting for your glorious bowl of Lor Mee to arrive.
Rating: 8.75/10 (both Lor Mee and Waffle)
Lor Mee (Bukit Purmei)
Blk 109, Bukit Purmei Road
From 7am till 3.30pm
Closed on Mondays
Now that I’m more aware of what I’m eating, I enjoy going on food expeditions to have a look at where I’m getting my food from, especially from old school places like Tan Hock Seng. When I was younger, I used to love beh teh soh, but I never knew what it was called. I remember asking my parents for the nice sticky chewy thing, but I never could remember its name. Well, going down to the source of my favorite traditional snack has been an extremely enjoyable experience, which I am going to share with you!
See the man in white? He’s da boss, literally. Be careful not to walk pass rather non-descript stall! I always imagined it to be a huge shop, but its just like any small traditional bakery well stocked with fresh goods coming out of the oven.
Haha, “Every day famous one” indeed.
Stacks of freshly baked goodies.
Now, on to what I ate!
I’m embarrassed to say, I don’t even know what this is called. Its like a hunk of fried sweetened flour, probably stuck together with honey. This tasted like most of the usual ones, not bad but nothing amazing either.
Once again, I don’t know the exact name of this, but I shall call it “White Cake” since that is what it is. Its basically light butter cake, coated with flour (i think). It was alright, I bought it just to try cause I’ve never seen it before, but it wasn’t delicious. In fact, eating it was quite a messy affair cause the flour just fell everywhere and coated everything! But it was fun eating something my parents ate when they were kids.
This was the traditional kind of Tau sar piah, (unlike the Loong Fatt Tau Sar Piah), but it was quite nice! Its quite high quality, so if you like the more traditional form of tau sar piah, you should try this.
Now, for the “Every day famous one”! Here’s my favorite snack of all time, sticky chewy goodness. These taste best when they are hot, and the filling is nice and generous. The crunchiness of the topping is probably what people enjoy in contrast to the soft filling, making this the perfect snack! This is all you need to try when you come here, after all it is what they are famous for.
I always thought that there wasn’t much of a difference between Phong Piah and Beh Teh Soh. Well, I learnt something new. Phong piah is a larger, flatter version of Beh Teh Soh, and it doesn’t have a crunchy exterior. In fact, the pastry casing is thinner for the Phong Piah, so the texture when you bite into it is like biting into a Lao Po Bing (Wives’ Biscuit). I actually like this better than beh teh soh. My favorite part of the beh teh soh was the filling, not so much the crunchiness of the casing. So the Phong Piah is the ideal choice for me, since it is softer and has more filling.
Of course, choosing between the Beh Teh Soh and Phong Piah is based on personal preference, so do give both a try and cast your own verdict! The lady boss was pretty shocked that I decided to try one packet of Phong Piah in addition to the Beh Teh Soh, since she said that most people came here for the Beh Teh Soh.
I would highly recommend you to drop by, you don’t even have to park your car, I’ve heard that you can tell them your order and they’ll serve you. Great food and friendly service, what more could you ask for?
Rating: 9/10 (for Beh Teh Soh/Phong Piah)