Some traditions should forever be preserved, and eating and making kueh is one of them. Kueh is a broad term for traditional bite-sized snacks in Southeast Asia that feature glutinous rice or tapioca flour, and is prevalent in Malay, Indonesian, Peranakan and Chinese cuisine. With Christopher Tan’s heritage dessert book “The Way of Kueh” taking home the top prize at the Singapore Book Awards last month, a celebration of Southeast Asia’s beloved kueh is in order. It only follows that we celebrate some of the best places in Singapore to satisfy your kueh salat, ondeh-ondeh, and ang ku kueh cravings. There’s nothing more nostalgic than sitting down to tea on a weekday afternoon, with a cup of tea and a glistening slice of your favourite kueh.
Kim Choo Kueh Chang
If you’re a purist who needs to get your mid-morning treats at the heritage shophouses of Katong, bookmark Kim Choo Kueh Chang. The brand has been around since 1945, and the two well-known mainstays are located along Joo Chiat Place and East Coast Road are often fronted by throngs of people waiting to get their hands on these handcrafted delights. Their Nonya changs (rice dumplings) are made with the comforting flavours of pork or chicken, while their kueh lapis and kueh salat are as traditional as they come, both in look and taste.
HarriAnns Nonya Table
The word “HarriAnns” brings to mind platters of brightly-coloured Nonya kueh for three generations of Singaporeans. Harking back to a pushcart in the 1940s, HarriAnns Nonya Table now has five locations scattered throughout Singapore. Try their iconic chendol kuehs, a reinvention of the classic ice dessert, with a brown gula melaka topping a coconut milk base, topped with chendol bits. Also highly recommended is the pink fairy kueh, almost a reconstruction of red bean soup, featuring real azuki beans below a pastel coconut cream layer.
Tiong Bahru Galicier Pastry
Galicier’s bright yellow signage is a familiar sight in Tiong Bahru, and its vast selection of Nonya kueh has treated both residents in the neighbourhood and those travelling in for decades. Get your hands on their kueh dadar—the gula melaka-soaked coconut filling is packed with aromatic sweetness. The ondeh-ondeh and classic pandan cake are also exquisite creations not to be missed.
Lek Lim Nonya Cake Confectionery
From a kampong kitchen in Changi Village, Lek Lim Nonya Cake Confectionery has grown wildly beyond the dreams of its founders. Gavin Sing carries on the legacy of his grandfather, Leck Peng Kwang, having been taught the secrets to Peranakan kueh-making when he was a child. Their famed green ondeh-ondehs should be eaten in one bite, as they burst with a rich (and messy) gula melaka centre.
There’s something sacred about biting into a piece of kueh salat. The luscious kaya custard is intensely creamy, before the texture of the glutinous rice hits to form a gastronomic party in your mouth. What Kueh, started a few months ago by former magazine editor Deborah Tan, only accepts four orders a day as she makes each order individually from scratch. Her signature gula melaka kueh salat employs two different gula melaka to create a flavour profile that is robust but not cloying.
Molly’s Nonya Kuehs
Though Molly’s Nonya Kuehs has a heritage grown out of the art of otah-making, their repertoire has expanded significantly since Molly and her husband, Ah Joo, wrapped their first chilli fish paste in coconut leaves and grilled it by the roadside. Today, the cake shop also serves fragrant mung bean ang ku kuehs, fluffy wah kor kuehs, and juicy chwee kuehs, alongside banana walnut cakes and chocolate eclairs.
The Chubby Chef
The mind behind The Chubby Chef, travel and food blogger Alan Goh, hosts immensely popular kueh flash sales on his Instagram—so popular, in fact, that you’re not allowed to request a tray if you’ve successfully purchased one in the last three months. Goh makes all his desserts the traditional way, by hand and at home. His desserts are a breathtaking cross section of Peranakan, Malay, and Chinese culture. Though he frequently whips up kueh chara pandan, steamed taro kueh, and purple kueh koo shaped like actual turtles, Goh is perhaps best known for his rainbow lapis sagu, which can be eaten layer by layer or all at once.