If the European countries can be so proud of their cakes and pastries, I think it is time we spread the goodness about one of our distinct heritage food – the Nonya Kueh.
Kueh (or kue, kuih or kway) used to be in the domains of our skilful grandmothers and aunties, or HDB confectionaries, but has recently gained popularity as a festival goody and gift for our foreign friends. Unfortunately most around com straight from the factories.
Talk about kuehs but only few brands come to mind – Bengawan Solo and Kedai Kue Kue. Chinta Manis is definitely hot on their heels with 3 retail branches and the next a new Peranakan concept café and an outlet at Changi Airport soon.
Inspired by the rich tradition of Peranakan food and culture, Chinta Manis serves a range of Nonya kuehs and desserts, western cakes, savoury and sweet pastries, local Peranakan delights such as mee siam. Meaning “sweet love” in Malay, their kuehs is what I would describe as a Jeanette Aw-like little nonya – pretty, small sized, only mildly sweet and full of character.
Chinta Manis currently serves over 20 types of kuehs with their top 3 being Chendol Agar Agar, Pulut Seri Kaya and Ondeh Ondeh. The Chendol Agar Agar ($0.90) is an innovative offering of one of our favourite desserts in a squarish solid form. I liked that it retained some of the coconuty goodness of the chendol, without that heavy-going sweetness.
The Mango Sago Agar ($0.90) is also a pleasant find, combining the tropical sweetness of yellow mangos and lemak in a cutesy presentable dessert.
Although they are faced with stiff competition from the more established branches, Chinta Manis sticks to making their kuehs fresh daily and 100% handmade with no preservatives. When asked they stay ahead of the game, they share their passion of staying with the Peranakan roots.
“Conceptually- We are definitely Peranakan, represented in our logo with the Peranakan colours and symbolism. We are the 1st Peranakan Patisserie currently offering dual formats of a Patisserie and café.”
The main drawback of such kuehs is they do not keep well in the humidity. If we can find a way, I know this is one little nonya which can reach beyond our shores.
65 Killiney Road @ Daily Toast Mon to Fri – 7:00am – 7:30pm Weekends – 7:00am – 3:00pm; China Square Food Court Mon to Fri – 7:30am -8:00pm; myVillage Serangoon Gardens