I admit I am more of a “Tiong Bahru boy”, and so grew up eating Jian Bo Shui Kueh (and home-made ones), and so all other versions of Chwee Kueh only appeared later in my life.
It was only much I experienced and appreciated the likes of Bedok Chwee Kueh, Chwee Kueh at Bukit Timah Market and Food Centre, and Xiang Xiang Chwee Kueh at Whampoa Drive.
Ghim Oh Chwee Kueh 李老三 is also one of the “Chwee Kueh legends”, with loyal customers and a long history since 1959.
The stall is also listed in the Singapore Michelin Guide with the L’Assiette Michelin or Michelin Plate (but not Bib Gourmand yet).
For the uninitiated, Chwee Kueh 水粿is a type of steamed rice cake topped with radish relish. Chwee (water) refers to the puddle of water on top of each freshly-steamed rice cake.
The stall 李老三 at Ghim Moh Market & Food Centre #01-54 is run by Mr. Lee who has been making Chwee Kueh since he was 8, helping his mother and brother in pushing their street food cart.
He learned the recipe from his mother and, up to now, insists on making Chwee Kueh still the old-fashioned way with no short-cuts.
They say he spends 16 hours a day making Chwee Kueh!
Each piece is priced at 50 cents here, with a minimum order of 4 pieces (ie $2 for 4).
Ghim Moh Chwee Kueh uses garlic and pork lard (instead of vegetable oil) which make their cai po (preserved radish) more fragrant.
The radish is the chunkier-than-usual type, and this make the radish chewier in texture.
Compared to the Jian Bo and Bedok styles I was used to, this was quite distinctly different, with the cai po being more salty-savoury than sweet. Also, there are no sesame seeds to be found.
Therefore, some customers may choose to go easy on the cai po as it can be strong, a bit salty and greasy. As for the condiments, Mr. Lee’s chili sauce is spicy and salty.
The draw for me was the Kueh itself, steamed in aluminium moulds (they used to have ceramic ones).
The texture was soft yet slightly firm, and so not overly-wobbly, that was good enough to eat with just a dab of cai po and chilli.
One of the most nostalgic experience you can have with Chwee Kueh.
Ghim Moh Chwee Kueh 李老三
Blk 20, Ghim Moh Road #01-54, Singapore 270020
Opening Hours: 6:15am – 6:30pm (Mon – Sun)