Chwee kueh (steamed rice cake) had never been a big thing for me during my growing up years because I wasn’t a fan of chye poh (preserved radish) which was always heavily soaked in oil. And it was only when the husband decided to settle down in Singapore a few years back and I brought him to various places to have a taste of the Singaporean food culture that I started to appreciate this local breakfast classic again. We normally go for Bedok Chwee Kueh at our neighbourhood food centre that serves up some pretty good ones, perfect whenever he needs to satisfy his chwee kueh craving.
So when we were in Tiong Bahru Market recently on a lazy Sunday afternoon and most stalls were either closed or clearing up except for Jian Bo Shui Kueh that still had a long queue of people, of course we had to stay for tea with their legendary chwee kuehs.
We ordered 8 pieces ($2.40) to share which the stall auntie transferred onto a paper wrapper, topped with chye poh and chilli, folded and twisted the top of the wrapper before handing over to us. When we unfolded the package when we were seated, it was pretty much an unphotogenic mess as above. Our only gripe was the use of satay sticks to eat the chwee kueh with which made it hard to pick up the chye poh without them falling all over the place.
The rice cakes were made with an excellent ratio of flour to water hence their texture was soft and somewhat smooth, with a ‘doink doink’ feel to them. What was truly impressive was the deliciously robust chye poh laced with fragrant specks of toasted sesame seeds. It was a balanced concoction of sweet and salty flavours with a slightly nutty aroma. The chilli was also amazing, spicy but not fiery hot and I could taste bits of dried shrimps in it just like a good ‘hae bee hiam’. Though overall it was a tad too oily, this chwee kueh was still exceedingly tasty and moreish – definitely the best we had so far. This has our two thumbs up!
Jian Bo Shui Kueh
#02-05, Tiong Bahru Market
30 Seng Poh Road
Opening hours: 6.30am to 10.30pm daily