Street Food Friday: Kueh, the Sweet Treats of Singapore
In a new weekly Friday column, we'll explore street food and other culinary specialties from around the world.
Last week we brought you the traditional delicacies of Vietnam and, this week, we skip to another part of Southeast Asia for the colorful treats of Singapore. Kueh, as they're called, are not specific to Singapore; these tiny desserts can be found in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Southern China, but each country twists the basics into their own recipes.
Kueh (or kuih and kue) is really just a broad term signifying small cakes, cookies, dumplings, pudding, biscuit, or pastries made from rice or glutinous rice. Like most kueh, the Singaporean variety comes with no specific or authentic recipe since most of the methods have been handed down from generation to generation, creating a unique taste from color to color. Traditionally handmade for special events like Hari Raya and Lunar New Year, kueh is sold in food hawker stalls all year round.
We came across a cart filled with these tasty little morsels in the shadow of the Sultan Mosque just off Arab Street. Along with plenty of stalls wafting out the smells of both savory and sweet eats, we couldn't help but be drawn to the bright colors of the kueh cart. They're not only tasty, but aesthetically enthralling.
We handed over $10 SGD for 10 pieces and began randomly picking some that looked the best. From pandan pancakes filled with young coconut and deep-fried fritters to pineapple tarts, and layered coconut and pandan custard slices, we'd recommend to go with whichever ones catch your eye. Perfect as afternoon pick-me-up when sightseeing or an accompaniment to mid-morning coffee, kueh is a great treat.
[Photo: Rayme Gorniak/Jaunted]