From croissants to…chwee kueh

Chwee kueh – steamed rice cakes with preserved radish and chilli paste

It rained early this morning in Singapore and I love rare mornings like this, especially on weekends, when the late-to-rise Singaporeans are still asleep, the traffic’s minimal and it’s relatively cool.  It’s just so peaceful in this usually frenetic city.

I took the opportunity of all of the above to take a 20 minute stroll to Mackenzie Street to Mirabelle with the intent of picking up a bag of buttery goodness – from light and flaky plain croissants to pain au chocolate to croissants baked with ham and cheese. All delicious, artery-clogging treats which we are lucky to get in Singapore.  Mirabelle’s pastries rival the best we’ve had in Paris.

However, when I got to Mackenzie Street, all I saw were metal roller doors.  The friendly girl who worked next door told me that Mirabelle was closed till mid Feb.  Guess even the best bakers have to take a holiday, no matter how much we want them not to 🙂

So I took a slow stroll back to Bugis, enjoying watching the town slowly wake up, and ended up at Albert Centre Food Market. I don’t know what I expected to find there that I wanted – it’s a tough switch from french pastry to local fare – I thought I actually fancied nasi lemak, until I chanced upon a chwee kueh shop.

Chwee kueh literally translated is “water rice cake” and is Teochew dish of steamed cake of rice flour that is most importantly served with preserved radish or chai por.  The rice cake itself has no flavour but it is the vehicle with which to eat the chai por.

Chai por is radish that has been cooked with salt, dried shrimp and sugar in pork lard (hence why it tastes so good).

It was so delicious it pretty much erased the taste of croissant from my mind !  I’m thrilled that I have access to this local treat so close to home and will definitely be going back again.

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About Carolyn Chan

A girl slowly eating her way around Singapore and farther afield when she's lucky. View all posts by Carolyn Chan

2 responses to “From croissants to…chwee kueh

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