The great thing about living in Singapore and being someone who loves food as much as life itself is in the variety of options we have here on this tiny island. It’s trend-forward, rapidly changing, and breathless. But lest we get too caught up in the fascinating world of cronuts and croissants, let’s not forget the various types of Kueh the older generation grew up making and eating that are now at grave risk of being forgotten, lost in the embers of time.
It does give me hope, though, that as much as the younger generations are consuming less and less of these traditional goodies, it is almost always the younger people who are earnestly bringing it back. At times, it’s been modernised to appeal to a generation glued to aesthetics and picture-perfect appearances, and that’s okay. Here are 6 local kueh artisans who are doing just that and playing an important role in ensuring Singapore’s kueh legacy and heritage is preserved for generations to come.
Hai Nan Xiao Chi Cuisine & Snacks
It makes me happy when I see stores like Hai Nan Xiao Chi Cuisine & Snacks go out of their way to preserve a part of Singapore’s food heritage at risk of being lost amongst our obsession with trends. I’m of the opinion that that’s what heritage preservation should look like instead of simply pandering to #supportlocal rhetorics.
Founded in 1978, when it comes to Hainan Kueh, Hai Nan Xiao Chi means business, and it shows in their array of product line-up that includes kueh I’ve never even heard of. So here’s a dose of Hainan Kueh education. There’s the Signature Yi Bua (S$8), a glutinous rice flour kueh wrapped in banana leaf and stuffed with grated coconut, peanut, sesame and ginger.
The High Tea Party Set (S$45) is excellent for a party of up to eight and comes with Yi Bua (Box of 10), Mochi (Box of 16), Bua Art (box of three), YB Cookie (tub of 28-30 pcs), Kaya (200ml), and a loaf of traditional white bread. Elsewhere, customers can also get the Yi Bua Mochi (S$8/box of 12 pieces) or the Hainanese Gift Set (S$12).
When I told a friend I was up to my usual shenanigans creating a Keuh delivery listicle, she promptly shared a personal favourite, squealing through Instagram chat «Deli Maslina is the LEGEND, sis». What she’s talking about is, of course, Deli Maslina, traditional Malay Kueh connoisseur peddling not just the familiar favourites, but also seriously traditional options one seldom gets to see much anymore.
Take for example their Daun Set (S$16) featuring kueh wrapped in banana leaf. The set comes with four pieces each of the Abok-Abok Daun, Nagasari Daun, Koci, Lepat Ubi, and Pulut Panggang. Elsewhere, there’s the Mixed Box B (S$16) that comes with five pieces each of the Onde-Onde, Putri Salat, Bakar Lauk, and Pulut Panggang.
There’s also the Coconut Box (S$15.50), so named because each of the kueh in the box comes with grated coconut in some shape or form and the Mixed Box A (S$15) that comes with Potato and Sardine epok-epok, Kueh Bakar Kentang, and Kueh Bakar Pandan.
Kuehstry by Gab Dominic
A young Peranakan baba bringing back the art of traditional kueh is cause for celebration. But to have someone who knows how to make the elusive and less often heard of Apom Berkuah is a whole other matter altogether. If anything, it proves that this Gab Dominic grew up eating such treats at home, possibly even having the privilege to watch these kuehs being made, if only to one day bring it back to life in a world of Cronuts and Bombolinis.
At Kuehstry, some of the offerings include the Kueh Salat (7” square; S$48, 8” square; S$62, 8” round; S$48) and Kueh Kosui (8” square; S$40), both sold by the tray. Gab Dominic also whips up individual bite-sized traditional treats such as Rempah Udang (S$2.90/piece, min order of 10), Ang Ku Kueh with peanut or mung bean (S$1.40 – S$2, min order of 20), Apom Berkuah (S$28/20 pieces, S$52/40 pieces), and Kueh Dadar (S$1.60/piece, min order of 20).
Customers are advised to order at least one week in advance.
Mrs Kueh keeps her offerings small but doubtlessly big on flavours. Her latest product is the Gula Melaka Kueh Salat with Mao Shan Wang Durian (S$38.00) that comes served with 100% pure Mao Shan Wang durian. The glutinous rice layer in the Kueh Salat is made with pulut hitam for a nutty textural variant. If you’re looking for the classic iteration, she also sells the Pandan Kueh Salat (7” round; S$56, Loaf; S$40, Mini loaf; S$25) for a toothsome mid-afternoon snack treat.
Elsewhere, the Bingka Ubi (S$25.00) is also a must-buy—a kueh that’s a hassle in its making but a reward in its consumption. There’s also the slightly more decadent Brandy Almond Sugee Cake (S$56.00) and the traditional Kueh Kosui (800g) (S$16.00) for the kueh purists.
Kueh Ho Jiak (Halal)
Halal-certified Kueh Ho Jiak was recognised as one of the Top 10 Nonya Kuehs Shops in Singapore by UNESCO and hailed as a market leader in the industry. Kueh Ho Jiak is a family business founded by 55-year-old founder, Sandy Tan, who spent most of her childhood helping out at her mum’s food cart, selling kueh to folks in the kampung.
Amp up your high-tea game with Kueh Ho Jiak’s Kueh Dessert Platter (S$34) that comes with four pieces of Yam Cake, four pieces of Hae Bee Hiam Ang Ku Kueh, four pieces of Peanut Ang Ku Kueh, eight pieces of sweet potato Ondeh, and four pieces of Sago Kueh. Also available for purchase is the sweet potato Rice Kueh (S$20/10 pieces), Kueh Lopez (S$8/4 pieces), and Kueh Bingka (S$6/4 pieces).
Islandwide delivery fee is priced at S$10 with a minimum order of S$30.
Where’s the kueh
I’m inclined to include ‘Where’s the kueh’ in this list solely because of the simplicity of their offerings. Choices? Who needs them, especially when it comes to Kueh because there’s just that many options to choose from. What does one do when one wants it all?
Enter ‘Where’s the kueh’ with the option of a Family Box (S$40) that’s perfect for sharing at a party or alone over the course of yet another tiresome Zoom meeting. It comes with six pieces of Kueh Kosui, six slices of Kueh Sago, five pieces of colourful and vibrant Kueh Lapis, and five pieces of rich and creamy Kueh Salat. They also offer a Petite Box (S$22) that has the essence of the upsized Family option, but with lesser quantity within—perfect for those on some sort of diet, but for some reason, is reading a listicle about Kueh.
Islandwide delivery is priced at S$10. Enjoy free delivery within Pasir Ris. Self-collection is also available.
Tiered – Kueh.Cakes
Another kueh connoisseur serving up value-for-money Kueh Box is Tiered. The Tiered Kueh Box (S$36.80) comes with ¼ round of Pandan Salat, ¼ round of Gula Melaka Salat, and eight pieces of Lapis Sagu. The Kueh Box is available every weekend, and there’s only twelve boxes up for grabs. But fret not if you’re having the weekday munchies because you can place your order for the Tiered Kueh box two days in advance with a minimum order of four boxes.
Tiered also offers the cutest full-size options for their kueh. There’s the Pandan Kueh Salat & Gula Melaka Kueh Salat (6” round; S$50, 4” round; S$28.90), and the Lapis Sagu Box (S$20/16pcs, S$29/24pcs, S$35.50/30pcs) amongst other seasonal special such as the Premium Mao Shan Wang Durian Lapis Sagu that comes with gold sprinkle for the best touch of extra.
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