From Jin Jin Hot/Cold Dessert
This refreshing dessert is beloved for its tower of ice shavings and psychedelic hues, and we dig the treasure within, too – who hasn’t tried finding the attap chee among the red beans, corn and jelly? Originating from ice balls coated with coloured syrups sold on the streets in the ’50s and ’60s, the sweet treat has evolved into an elaborate creation packed with everything from aloe vera to peanuts. Jin Jin’s version ($2.50) adds another level of decadence: a scoop of Mao Shan Wang durian ice cream crowns the mountain. It blends smoothly with the syrup, without being overwhelming, and the finely shaved ice immediately melts in your mouth.
From Cendol Geylang Serai
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 pandan-flavoured 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.
From Traditional Haig Road 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.
From HarriAnns Nonya Table
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. In true Nyonya style, the rice is coloured blue by the blue pea flower, which also lends it a faint fragrance.
From Rochor Original Beancurd
Is all tau huay one and the same? Nay, we reckon – and this proves us right, because it works up one melt-in-the-mouth treat. The famed Rochor Original Beancurd started off as a pushcart business in the ’60s, but its fame was overshadowed by a feud in the family business, which led to one of the brothers setting up a rival store. Order a bowl of the stuff warm (from $1.20), then be consumed by how darn silky smooth the bean curd dessert is, unlike many of its coarser counterparts. The accompanying sugar syrup strikes the right balance, too, so you’re not left with a cloying aftertaste.
From Ye Lai Xiang Hot and Cold Cheng Tng
Established in 1973, this stall serves only two things: hot and cold cheng tng. But the folks here do it faultlessly. The cold version has just the right amount of ice to keep it refreshing without diluting the taste – though at a slightly pricey $3 a bowl, it’s speckled with plenty of ingredients. Besides the usual suspects of dried longan and white fungus, you’ll bite into the occasional strip of candied melon and even sweet potato.