Feature: 4 local sweet treats
Slice of cake with a local theme? These bakery goodies make a picturesque dessert, but get in there fast or they'll all be gone
Think ‘bakery’ and doughy treats come to mind: cakes, pastries and fluffy loaves of bread. Singapore is stuffed full of outlets containing all of the above, but it also has a wide range of goodies for those wanting a more local flavour
Custard Tarts – By way of Portugal and then Hong Kong, these artery-bashing treats eventually made it to Singapore and are now a well-known snack. The soft pastry cases are full of thick baked custard; take a box home to share with family.
Kueh – Have you ever seen those platefuls of jelly squares in rainbow colours? Soft round desserts in reds, pinks, greens? These are ‘kueh’, and they’re a nonya delicacy made from glutinous rice and a variety of fillings and flavourings, from pandan to peanut and coconut. Look for the square ones that are half white, half blue – the colouring comes from flower petals. And those round red ones? These traditionally come out for Chinese New Year celebrations.
Pineapple Tarts – Shortcrust and pineapple jam treats in various forms: closed balls of filled pastry, rolled versions, and tiny cups with a jam topping. They are also popular during Lunar New Year due to the connotations of pineapple, a symbol of prosperity (look for images of the fruit hanging up everywhere). Like the kueh, you can also find them throughout the year.
Steamed sponge – Light bricks of fluffy sponge, ingredients include evaporated milk, custard powder, eggs, heaps of brown sugar and a dash of soy sauce. Perfect for a light dessert when you’ve stuffed yourself silly but still want a pudding. Or buy a bagful to take home for later.
• Carrot cake… but not the kind you’re thinking of. This isn’t a cake at all but a fried dish made from preserved radish (chai poh). There’s a black version with sweet molasses and a crispy one too, and you can find it in hawker centres, or cut into single portions and sold at some local bakeries.
• Curry puffs… shaped like a pasty but filled with curry gravy, chicken, potato and boiled egg. Totally snacktastic and perfect for eating on the hop.
WHERE TO BUY
Local cake maker Bengawan Solo has been in business since the 70s and now owns more than 30 shops. Main factory/HQ at 23 Woodlands Link, Singapore 738730
For more information on bakeries in Singapore, CLICK HERE
Kueh pic by Caroline Liew. Pineapple tart pic by Florence Puah