We’re not kidding, there’s definitely a Kueh Appreciation Day (23rd July). Though there’s no holiday involved (much to our dismay) but it’s indeed for a good cause, because you not only can partake in a gastronomic journey but also gain valuable insights about the rich food cultural heritage of Singapore. Since good things are meant to be shared, remember to “jio” your eating khakis along.
Credit: Slow Food
For the uninitiated, the inaugural Kueh Appreciation Day 2017, is a free event that looks to build awareness and deepen appreciation of local food and culinary heritage. Here are 9 heritage kuehs that you shouldn’t miss.
1. Steamed Yam Cake from Old Seng Choon (Singaporean Chinese)
Credit: Minty's Kitchen
As its name suggests, yam cube is definitely the main ingredient in making steamed yam cake (orh kueh). The popular kueh is usually garnished with dried shrimps, shiitake mushrooms, spring onions and deep fried shallots for that savoury taste, and is best eaten with chilli sauce.
1piece (133 g): 192.85 kcal
2. Abacus Seed from Chef Pang's Hakka Snacks (Hakka)
Don’t you agree that the Hakka abacus seed is the perfect European doppelganger of Polish famous delicacy-Kluski Slaskie? Rather than using potato in the recipe like our European friends, yam and tapioca were adopted by the Hakka community in the making of the abacus seed. The dish is usually fried with dried shrimp, mushroom, taukwa strips and minced pork, and eaten during a festival to symbolise wealth.
100g (1 portion): 139 kcal
3. Sugee Cake from Mary's Kafe (Eurasian)
Credit: Ken Bakes
This Eurasian delight is best described as butter cake but make with sugee (Indian word for semolina flour). With it rich buttery taste and a faint tinge of almond fragrance (from crushed almonds), it’s really hard to resist the second serving.
1piece (41g ): 191.02 kcal
4. Kueh Salat fom HarriAnns (Peranakan)
Credit: Recipes We Cherish
Not to be confused with another equally “sweet” kueh- Kueh Talam, the Kueh Salat is a double- tiered dessert with a base of steamed glutinous rice topped with a layer of pandan& coconut milk flavoured custard. The coconut milk indeed gives the entire dessert a creamy & sweet flavour that is not too cloying, if you goes “coconuts” for anything with coconut, this is one kueh you should not miss.
1 piece (54 g): 81.54 kcal
5. Yi Buah from Hainan Xiao Chi (Hainanese)
Credit: Slow Food Singapore
There’s a saying which goes “a piece of kueh cannot be completed without coconut” among the Hainanese descendants. That explains why shredded coconut is one of the main ingredients used in Yi buah other than sesame and peanuts. Though this kueh might look like a Plain Jane from its appearance, its name holds a special meaning. Such that the word “Yi” represents memories, and the cake itself symbolises bliss and harmony among families.
1 piece (15 g): 30.15 kcal
6. Ang Ku Kueh from Ji Xiang Ang Ku Kueh (Hokkien)
Affectionately known as red tortoise cake due to its resemblance in shape with the tortoise’s shell, the ang ku kueh offers a texture that is similar to the Japanese mochi, thanks to its sticky glutinous rice flour skin. Traditionally filled with peanut or mung bean paste, these days you can find innovative fillings like mango, chocolate or matcha.
Ang Ku Kueh Peanut 1 piece (67.8 g): 239.33 kcal
7/8. Soon Kueh & Peng Kueh from Kuehs and Snacks (Teochew)
Credit: My Singapore Food
We love these delicate near-translucent dumplings for its crunch, thanks to the addition of bamboo shoots and jicama among the fragrant shiitake mushroom and dried shrimps. These stuffed pockets are definitely one of our favourite tea time snack. And yes, we love eating it with fried shallots and sweet sauce!
1 piece (72.4 g): 88.6 kcal
No, the ang ku kueh did not undergo any plastic surgery here, what you see here is its Teochew cousin- Peng Kueh. Rather than being “sweet” like its cousin, Peng Kueh prefers to be “sassily savoury” with ingredients such as peanuts, mushroom, shrimps and of course peng (glutinous rice). Typically appeared in different hues of pink, you can find white versions too. For maximum satisfaction, eat it with sweet sauce.
1 piece (107 g): 200.53kcal
9. Lemper from Ratu Lemper (Indonesian)
Credit: Minty's Kitchen
Looking for some savoury Nonya kueh? If so, Lemper is the way to go. Make with pandan and coconut infused glutinous rice, and filled with grated coconut and seasoned meat fillings (shredded chicken, fish or meat floss), this kueh offers the perfect balance of sweetness and saltiness, which will leave you craving for more.
1 piece (56 g): 113.12 kcal
Hands-on Kueh Class
You can also have the opportunity to get the first-hand experience on making various kueh such as kueh lapis, kueh dardar, ondei ondei, sago cake and much more through the various classes available. If you’re interested, do check out the schedule and fees here.