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Sweet temptations at Joo Chiat

Sweet temptations and desserts await you at Joo Chiat – and we’re not talking about ladies of the night. Michael Franco reveals his confectionery confessions

Joo Chiat Road in the East Coast area might be best known for its collection of candy-coloured pre-war shophouses and the sweetness of the girls who populate its neon-bedecked karaoke bars. But this historic road also offers up an intriguing collection of other confections, in the form of a charming assortment of dessert shops and bakeries.

Start your ramble where Joo Chiat Road meets Changi Road, the site of Home’s Favourite. You may have lit upon these cookie, mooncake and pineapple tart purveyors at various locations around town, but this is the source of the magic. The shop has a generous tasting policy so you can sample the rich, buttery cookies that literally melt in your mouth, or buy sample packs for $2.50 (full boxes run between $14 and $27).

With flavours like Japanese sweet potato, jackfruit, jasmine green tea and the extremely popular champagne raisin, these are definitely cookies for grown-ups. The durian cookie captures the most pleasant essence of the spiny devil, making it a good way for someone who’s been iffy about the whiffy fruit to give it a go. Speaking of durians, the ‘Black Gold’ durian mooncakes are in high demand during the mooncake season, so you may have to order early.

After all the sampling at Home’s Favourite, think of your next stop as a visit to a confectionery gallery, where you can ogle – rather than eat – the delights on offer. The bakers at Temptations are true artists, crafting cakes with flair and creativity that make them look too good to eat (almost). Owner Jeffrey Galistan says his most popular cake is the Chocolate Etoile, a sinful cocoa creation sprinkled with a half-moon of powdered sugar and crowned with a bouquet of chocolate bark, leaves and flowers. Galistan says his bakers can design in any style customers ask for, evidenced by the Barbie cake on display at the front of the store. 

You’ll have a hard time choosing between raspberry, cassis, mango-passion, salted caramel chocolate and many others, so take home an eight-piece assorted box for $14.40 or a 15-piecer for $27. That is, of course, after you’ve tried their ‘DYOP’ promotion – design your own platter including a cake slice, two macarons and one scoop of ice cream for $13.50. If the durian cookies at your first stop didn’t satisfy your craving for the King of Fruits, then you’ll definitely want to stop at Puteri Mas. The durian puffs here are famous islandwide – spongy golden cake surrounding generous portions of creamy puréed durian that doesn’t shy away from delivering full-force flavour. You’ll pay only $11 for a box of 20.

With your mission accomplished, the contents of your wallet depleted and cravings sated, it’s time to hop in a cab and head home. Or better yet, get walking – you’ll have a lot of calories to burn off.

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