This is a dessert shop at South Bridge Road that sells BOTH Japanese style Kakigori and local traditional desserts.
Before you start thinking Babao Desserts has an identity crisis, there is a reason behind the strange mix of sweet treats.
Owner Jin Chua was hanging out with a group of friends and suggested having bingsu. Half of them thought it was too expensive, while the others wanted something more traditional.
He asked if there is any dessert place that could cater to all, then his friend commented, “Don’t have la, you open la.”
So he made it happen.
Babao Dessert’s aim is to provide something for everyone, and therefore the menu would include local traditional desserts like Ah Balling soup, kakigori and seasonal specials.
My friend described this as “Ah Chew with shaved ice.”
Jin Chua who lived for a number of years in Thailand, noticed that desserts were also a part of their dining culture. This was somewhat different from the Singapore life which he thought was always about rushing.
“After a meal, it’s always dessert. Totally relaxing and enjoyable with lots of chatting.”
He subsequently started to experiment making different forms of desserts he couldn’t find in Thailand, and got better each time.
The signature items at Babao included Sago in 4 different flavours of Mango, Durian (seasonal), Yam and Soursop, priced from $3.80 to $6.50.
I had the Mango Sago ($4.50) which had a pleasing smooth texture, and not overly sweet. The main thing I wished was that it could be way colder than what was presented, to get that chilling sensation. But that’s me lah.
The other desserts my friends tried such as Rice Ball Ginger Soup ($3.00), Ginko Barley Tofu ($3.00), and Snow Fungus ($3.50) were described as ”got-standard”.
I think they were average or slightly above average, as each bowl lacked of that one striking element. For example, the peanuts in the Ah Balling dessert could have been softer and in larger quantity.
Hope they will improve with time after feedback and getting a more stable footing in the business.
Having a $8.80 Kakigori after that many heavily-priced bingsu was indeed refreshing.
Looking like it was copied, or well inspired from Bangkok’s insanely popular After You, the Matcha Kakigori ($8.80) was actually uplifting.
The shaved ice was smooth and fine, the non-dairy cream that looked like the snow peak added some creamy-sweetness, and there were further surprises of azuki red bean and sweet mochi within.
The Durian Kakigori ($12.80) also contained real durian pulp, making a layered, pleasant treat.
Freshly made desserts at a very reasonable price, with items starting at $2.50 for Black Glutinous Rice to $8.80 Matcha Kakigori.
Finding this place could be tricky. If you drive, park at the carpark near Song Fa Bak Kut Teh. For lawyers, it is opposite Law Society.
54 South Bridge Road Singapore 058685 (Clarke Quay MRT)
Opening Hours: 12.00pm – 12.00mn (Sun – Thurs), 12:00pm – 3:00am (Fri – Sat)