Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Chye Kee Chwee Kueh - Best Chwee Kueh in Singapore

One of my morning breakfast staples has always been chwee kueh, which is basically steamed rice cakes with preserved turnips, chai poh as it is known here.

And for years, we have always been told that Tiong Bahru Chwee Kueh was the best around town. Well, thanks to my experienced foodie friend, I was brought to a very modest stall in Circuit Road that trumps all other chwee kueh stalls.

Located nearby Macpherson MRT station, this stall is run by an elderly but very friendly couple. The key thing in this place is that they make their own rice cakes from scratch, and from broken rice.

The Friendly Couple

And what is more crucial, is that they also make their own chai poh everyday and is unlike other chwee kueh stalls, their chai poh here is not only ultra delicious, it is also amazingly fresh. You will certainly not get a pungent after taste in your mouth afterwards.

The uncle making fresh rice cakes

Their chwee kuehs are also generously large in portion, almost one third the size more than what you will get from other places, and what's more, it is also unbelievably cheap. 

To put it in perspective, 10 large sized chwee kuehs here will only set you back $2. You just don't get such value for money these days with rising food costs.

Best Chwee Kueh

There is something so simple yet beautiful about this local breakfast dish. The rice cakes' flavor itself is actually quite bland, but when done well, it is smooth and soft and has that incredible texture.

Coupled with the sweet and savory taste of the turnips, it comes together in a mouthful of packed flavors that makes it so easy to devour. Consuming a delicious plate of chwee kueh should take you less than a few minutes.

And here, it was almost perfect in every sense of the word. The texture was smoother than anywhere else, and had almost a cream like taste.

The chai poh was full of crunch and sweetness, and complimented the rice cakes marvelously. Very little else needs to be said actually. The best chwee kueh bar none.

Freshly Made Chai Poh

Just like the elderly couple from Twe Kee, this couple has also mentioned that they intend to retire in a few year's time, and sadly, their children has no intention to continue this trade as well.

Slowly, but surely, every one of our best hawker stalls are going away and despite the proliferation of hawker culture here and the abundance of food courts, the really great ones are sadly disappearing from the scene.

I am beginning to wonder, as more journalists write about promoting our hawker culture, especially to foreign countries, is anyone really looking after the likes of Twe Kee and Chye Kee.

A Dying Culture

Some of the best aspects of hawker culture are the affordability and the humility of the hawkers themselves, using cheap ingredients to make beautiful food. Not exactly haute food, but simple yet great cuisine for the masses.

As I read about elevating our hawker food to justify higher prices, I tend to disagree with that line of thought, as I believe that hawker food was originally made by our Singapore folks, to be consumed by your everyday Singaporeans at an affordable cost.

I just hope this original intent does not get lost in the progress. In the meantime, if you fancy a good chwee kueh, head over to Macpherson now.

Chye Kee Chwee Kueh
Block 89 Pipit Road


  1. I should visit that restaurant when I go to Singapore!
    thanks for the great post!