Talk about Tiong Bahru Food Centre, and one of the must-visit stalls would be Jian Bo Shui Kueh.
For tourists, the “Shui Kueh” or more commonly known as “Chwee Kueh” is a hawker dish of steamed rice cakes topped with chye poh (preserved radish) and accompanying chilli sauce.
All 3 stalls are Michelin recommended on the Singapore Michelin Guide. Jian Bo Shui Kueh (the Jurong West 505 branch) and Bedok Chwee Kueh are awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand.
Interestingly that while many Singaporeans would be more or less familiar with “Jian Bo”, there are not many food blogs which have written about it. (I grew up eating Jian Bo myself, but never found an urge to write as well.)
Jian Bo Tiong Bahru Shui Kueh was founded by a Mr Wang in 1958, who sold his steamed rice cakes in a pushcart at the Tiong Bahru Market then.
Third-generation owner Eric Ang has taken over the business, and ingredients are now prepared in the central kitchen before they are delivered to outlets around the island.
You can now find Jian Bo as kiosks in malls such as Nex, Century Square, and Seletar Mall. But I still like to savour this at its original stall.
The one other major change is that pork lard has been switched to 100% vegetable oil, in case you found something missing.
The Shui Kueh here is sold for $3 for 5 pieces, $4.80 for 8, and $6 for 10.
If you want the ingredients to be packed separately, there are ‘rules’ indicating that there must be a minimum order of 10 pieces, and there would be additional charge of 30cents.
You may find the aunties slightly more ‘snappy’ if the queue gets longer, but smile and be friendly to them and all will be well.
While that hot-piping, soft melt-in-your-mouth feeling from my childhood days is no longer around, I still find Jian Bo one of the best you can find around for its chye poh and chilli with hints of dried shrimps.
You may find an oily glob haphazardly presented on top, but the aroma and mildly-salty pickled taste can be addictive.
Jian Bo Shui Kueh
30 Seng Poh Road, Tiong Bahru Food Centre #02-05, Singapore 168898
Opening Hours: 5:30am – 8:30pm (Mon – Sun)
Bishan St 24, Bukit Panjang Ring Road Blk 259, Choa Chu Kang Block 302, Kang Kar Mall Hougang Ave 10, Jurong West St 52 Block 505, Jurong West St 92 Block 959, Marine Parade Ctre Block 84, Pasir Ris Drive Blk 444, Albert Centre Market Block 270, Compass One, Tampines St 81 Block 823A, Toa Payoh Central Block 190, Chong Pang Market, Sixth Avenue 24, Seletar Mall, Nex, Century Square