Let’s talk about Ang Gu Kueh aka “Red Tortoise Cake”, the oval-shaped glutinous rice flour cake with a sweet filling in the centre.
Shaped like a tortoise shell and rested on banana leaf, it has a Chinese word imprinted on top which usually means “longevity”, “blessings” or “prosperity”.
“Ang” literally means “red”; “gu” stands for “tortoise” (symbolises long life); while “kueh” represents “cake”. The Chinese in Singapore usually have them during a new-born first month or birthdays of the elderly.
Nothing is really stopping us from eating this any time of the year, since they are commercially available and represent good luck.
However, with modernisation and changing eating habits, it is really hard to find more ‘indie’ shops hand-making and selling them.
Just a handful, and the better known ones are Ji Xiang Confectionery, Lina’s Confectionery, Lek Lim to Poh Cheu.
A new entry in the Michelin Guide earning The Michelin Plate, Poh Cheu specialises in handmade colourful kueh in a variety of sweet and salty flavours.
If you want some traditional Ang Ku Kueh and Soon Kueh, check out this food stall which has been in operation since 1985.
My friends and I were initially thinking going to (yet) another hipster café for some cakes and coffee, but hey… the idea of Ang Ku Kueh with kopi o (the coffee stall here serves up not bad kopi is also quite hip and instagrammable what.
And a fraction of the price we would have otherwise paid.
There is always a long queue of people here though. Be patient.
Founder couple Neo Poh Cheu and Lim Kim Noi began with only 6 flavours for the Ang Ku Kueh: Peanut, Green Bean, Salted Bean, Yam, Durian and Coconut.
Today, they have 12 flavours, including modern ones that appeal to the younger generation, such as Red Bean, Black Sesame, Green Tea, Mango, Pineapple, and Coffee.
Except for the Salted Bean, all flavours are vegetarian. All products at Poh Cheu are made using vegetable oil.
Each Ang Ku Kueh is priced at $1.10 or you can get a box of 10 pieces at $11 with your choice of 2 flavours.
I would say go for the Peanut and Mung Beans to savour the more traditional flavours. While the skin was slightly greasy (just a tad), it was thin and had such a soft consistency that doesn’t stick to the teeth.
The peanut fillings were aromatic, delicious, and not too sweet. But some of the rest could be on the sweeter side.
I also went for the more fanciful choice of pineapple, which totally reminded me of the CNY pineapple tart filling. Interesting, though not my favourite due to the combination.
To maintain their quality, keep the kuehs in the fridge on the day of purchase and steam for 3-5 minutes before consumption. Best consumed within 1-2 days.
Similarly, the Soon Kueh comes in a box of 10 pieces ($10.00), inclusive of 3 packets of Chili and Black sauce. Good stuff too.
Other products include Bamboo Shoot, Ku Cai Kueh, Peng Kueh, Yam Cake, Hong Yuan, Hong Qian (online available in Green Bean flavour), and Big Ku Kueh.
Poh Cheu Soon Kueh and Ang Ku Kueh
127 Bukit Merah Lane 1, #01-222, Singapore 150127
Opening Hours: 8am – 6pm (Tues, Thurs – Sat), Closed Mon, Wed, Sun