Recommended: Durian Ice Kachang
Jin Jin is best known for their Power Chendol, and Gangster Ice (Durian Mango Ice). One of their popular desserts in the durian ice kachang ($2.50). This refreshing dessert is iconic for its tower of ice shavings and psychedelic hues, with attap chee, red beans, corn and jelly, buried within. Adding a scoop of decadent Mao Shan Wang, crowning the ice mountain, it blends smoothly with the syrup, without being overwhelming, and the finely shaved ice immediately melts in your mouth.
Recommended: Kueh salat
This Peranakan confectionery serves up multi-coloured kuehs such as the rainbow lapis and Pink Fairy, a pastel pink coconut cream atop an azuki bean layer. But home into the kueh salat ($1.50) – it makes for a rich bite as the creamy kaya custard on top melds with the glutinous rice below. The rice is coloured blue by the blue pea flower, which also lends it a faint fragrance.
Recommended: Mango Sago with Pomelo, Durian Sago, Black Sesame Paste and Fresh Milk Steamed Egg.
Through numberless experiments and recipe refinements, Ah Chew takes pride in their dessert creation, spreading their love to other like-minded individuals. Serving up over 50 delicious traditional desserts, all-time favourites include the mango sago pomelo ($4.20) dessert; fresh chunks of mango along with blobs of pomelo in each bite, and durian sago ($6); an intensely thick yet flowy puree with a dollop of rich durian pulp. It often gets crowded around 10pm to 11pm, so come slightly earlier if you would like to avoid the snakey long queue.
Recommended: Traditional Chinese Herbal Jelly – Kwa Leng Guo and Sesame mix walnut paste
If you’re looking for somewhere quiet to just indulge in some traditional Chinese desserts, this old-school Hong Kong dessert place is just for you. Opening till 10.30pm, night owls don’t have to fight against the crowds at Ah Chew or Mei Heong Yuan. Serving up a wide array of options, their hot desserts such as almond paste ($3) and peanut paste ($3) tend to be more popular with the loyal patrons, with the option to add on some chewy tang yuan ($1.20 – 3 pcs).
Recommended: Durian Mousse
Before even taking a step in, the intense smell of durian invades your nostrils from the moment you open the door. Located on the second floor of a shophouse in the Serangoon Garden Circus neighbourhood, Dessert bowl is every durian lovers favourite haunt for that mouth-watering bowl of durian mousse with a dollop ($5) or two ($6) of fresh pure durian. Fret not if durian isn’t exactly your thing, they also have other options like Mango Pomelo ($4.20), Rockmelon sago ($4), Lychee ice ($4), and Strawberry ice ($4).
Recommended: Snow Ice, Peanut Paste, and Walnut Paste.
Chinese desserts can be a bit predictable but Mei Heong Yuen Dessert offers more than your usual suspects of bird’s nest soup, yam and sesame paste and (of course) mango pudding. The bustling eatery is rarely empty but its worth elbowing your way through for any of its signature desserts (see above), or on a hot, sticky day, their shaved iced creations (from $4) in flavours as varied as Thai Ice Tea, Lychee and Chendol are a godsend.
Recommended: Peanut Soup
Perfect for a rainy day, Ah Balling Peanut Soup is the simplest yet most satisfying bowl of comfort to sip on, slurping up the filling of the soft, chewy glutinous rice ball as it oozes out. Choose from four different soup bases: peanut, almond, ginger, and longan red date, along with five options of glutinous rice ball (tang yuan) fillings: peanut, black sesame, red bean, yam, and green tea. Each bowl is priced affordably at your choice of soup and four pieces of tang yuan for $2, with additional tang yuan's at 40 cents for one.
Recommended: Peanut Pancake
Otherwise known as ‘Min Jiang Keuh’, this thick, soft pillowy texture of dough packed with a generous amount of crushed roasted peanuts and sugar mixture is probably one of the best in Singapore. Unlike most other peanut pancakes, Tanglin Halt’s version is incredibly tasty, moist and generous with its filling, with an equal one-to-one ratio between the filling and the dough. Going at only $0.80 per piece, it’s a no wonder they usually sell out in the morning, before their closing time of 11am. Do note that it's best eaten warm.
Many people don’t know that chendol actually refers to the green jelly ‘worms’ and not the dessert itself. Cendol Geylang Serai takes us back to basics by making bowls and mugs (yep, it’s also available as a drink) of this Indonesian dessert the old-school way: with just green pandan jelly, coconut cream, gula Melaka and crushed ice – red beans and attap chee be damned. The coconut cream dominates each spoonful, with only a hint of pandan in the mix.
Recommended: Putu Piring
The Malay sister to the Chinese kueh tutu, the putu piring ($2/five pieces) from this creatively named stall has differences that we welcome. It’s bigger than kueh tutu and is accompanied by a generous sprinkling of grated coconut. Another difference: the filling. As the pillowy rice cake itself crumbles gently in our mouths, the richness of the viscous gula Melaka within comes to the forefront. Best eaten piping hot.