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[Singapore] "Chwee Kueh" Face-off: Tiong Bahru FC vs Chinatown Complex FC

klyeoh | Mar 5, 201507:46 AM

"Chwee Kueh" (水粿), a Singapore breakfast staple is of Teochew (Chaozhou) origins: soft, steamed rice cakes topped with fried preserved turnip. I'd had slightly different renditions in Vietnam ("Bánh Bèo"), topped with minced shrimp, 'nuoc mam', and fried scallions and Kelantan (Malaysia) where ithe topping was minced shrimp, chopped scallions and red chillis.

My favourite spot for "Chwee Kueh" for the longest time was "Jian Bo Chwee Kueh" in Tiong Bahru Food Centre. There was a close rival at the now-defunct Telok Ayer Transit Food Centre. For me, Jian Bo makes the *perfect* "Chwee Kueh": soft, silky texture - each disc wobbly, the way one judge a good panna cotta. Jian Bo's topping can sometimes veer towards the "greasy" side, but that's a minor quibble.

But last weekend, I discovered another "Chwee Kueh" spot which knocks Jian Bo's version for dead. Bedok Chwee Kueh which, as the name suggests, originated in Bedok but has since expanded into Chong Pang and also Chinatown Complex Food Centre on Smith Street, produced some stellar "Chwee Kueh" - its steamed rice cakes were even softer and more delicate than Jian Bo's, and its topping was not as salty, with a subtler flavour. Best I'd tasted in Singapore thus far.

Chwee Kuehs from Jian Bo @ Tiong Bahru Food Centre

The best-known "Chwee Kuehs" in Singapore!

Jian Bo @ Tiong Bahru Food Centre

Perpetual queues in the morning. In the past (e.g. 20 years ago), we used to queue in the old open-air Tiong Bahru Food Centre under the sun for over 40 minutes just to buy these! The queues have tapered off somewhat in recent years.

Chwee Kuehs from Bedok @ Chinatown Complex Food Centre

Softer steamed rice cakes and a less salty, subtler-flavoured preserved radish topping gave Bedok the edge over Jian Bo's.

Bedok @ Chinatown Complex Food Centre

A long queue will form at breakfast time each morning from 7am or even earlier.

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