Chwee Kueh 水粿 while being a relatively known breakfast dish in Singapore, is also fast-diminishing.
With the exception of a couple of famous brands opening up branches or franchises around, indie stalls are getting hard to find. This is because the older hawkers are finding it hard for the younger generation to take over this labour-intensive work.
The Teochew dish comprises of steamed rice cake topped with preserved radish known as chai poh, and served with chilli sauce. While traditionally made with pork lard, many stalls are replacing with healthier alternatives.
One main characteristic of Chwee kueh is that the rice flour mixture are steamed in silver small bowl-shaped containers, and scooped out fresh when ready-to-serve.
There are several others which are actually under the same umbrella as Bedok Chwee Kueh, so I didn’t include them in.
Bedok Chwee Kueh 勿洛水粿
208 New Upper Changi Road, #01-19 Bedok Interchange Hawker Centre, Singapore 460207
Opening Hours: 6:30am – 6:30pm (Mon – Sun)
Bedok Chwee Kueh is a popular stall with branches island-wide (Clementi 448, Chong Boon Food Centre, Chong Pang Food Centre, Lorong Ah Soo, Chinatown Food Centre, Ang Mo Kio Ave 4 etc) in Singapore, famed for its soft, light and supple chwee kuehs.
Often eaten as breakfast fare, the Chwee Kueh ($0.50 per piece, buy in 2, 3, or 4 pieces) is mainly rice flour and water.
You’ll get your chwee kueh in a paper wrap with a plastic fork.
If you want to buy chwee kueh with the chai-poh separate, a minimum of 4 pieces is required. For takeaway, add $0.30.
Once steamed, it forms a silky-smooth appearance, firm jelly-like texture, and a subtle sweet taste.
Okay, since I had Jian Bo since growing-up days, I would say Bedok’s has a softer, more wobbly, almost melt-in-mouth texture. (But Jian Bo has more fragrant chai-poh and tasty chilli). Bedok Chwee Kueh (Bedok Interchange Food Centre)
Jian Bo Shui Kueh
30 Seng Poh Rd, #02-05 Tiong Bahru Food Centre, Singapore 168898
Opening Hours: 6:30am – 9pm (Mon – Sun)
Jian Bo Shui Kueh has become quite synonymous with Tiong Bahru Food Centre, with many calling it “Tiong Bahru Chwee Kueh” unofficially.
The Shui Kueh here is sold for $2.50 for 5 pieces, $4.00 for 8, and $5 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.
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 (Tiong Bahru Food Centre)
Ghim Moh Chwee Kueh 李老三
Blk 20, Ghim Moh Road #01-54, Singapore 270020
Opening Hours: 6:15am – 6:30pm (Mon – Sun)
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. Ghim Moh Chwee Kueh (Ghim Moh Food Centre)
Taman Jurong Chwee Kueh
Taman Jurong Food Centre #02-67, 3 Yung Sheng Road, Singapore 618499
Opening Hours: 6am – 1.30pm (Mon – Sun)
This Chwee Kueh stall got into some limelight due to “Hawker United – Dabao” and Zermatt Neo’s “INSANE 100 Chwee Kueh Challenge”.
I actually travelled all the way to the West for this. The first time uncle told me to wait for an hour because he needed to steam the cakes (was sold out!); and the second I made it a point to go earlier and met with a relatively short queue.
The stall is at the back of Level 2 next to the popular Tien Lai Roasts.
Uncle who is 80+, serves up Chwee Kueh in affordable pricing – $1 for 3, $1.50 for 5, and $3 for 10 pieces. No pork added.
Note that Uncle does things at his own pace, so even if there are just one or two customers in front of you, it would still take a while if they ordered say dabao 3 packets x 10 pieces.
The one thing I noted was that he would stir the chye poh (preserved radish) constantly and release that fragrance; and he puts in on top of the cake ONE BY ONE.
Even so for the chilli. And not just place a spoonful of sauce by the side.
The cakes were soft but still had a certain firmness and not super wobbly type. The chye poh was interestingly to the saltier side with less of the sweetness. I liked it because it had character and quite different from all the other Chwee Kueh I ever tried.
Sembawang Hills Shui Kway
#01-16 590 Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574419
Opening Hours: 6am – 5pm (Mon – Sun)
While most are familiar with the Tiong Bahru and Bedok Chwee Kueh, could try this stall for something different.
They sell the Chwee Kueh in portions of 4 pieces ($1.40), 6 pieces ($2.10) and 8 pieces ($2.80).
The Chwee Kueh at this stall is somewhat pastier and firmer than the ones you would have tried before (so I can imagine some would prefer the smoother, more wobbly types).
The savoury chye poh is fried with dried shrimp that gave it a nice hint of umami.
Surprisingly not too greasy or oily at all.
Pek Kio Handmade Chwee Kueh
41A Cambridge Road, Pek Kio Market and Food Centre, #01-28, Singapore 211041
Opening Hours: 7.30am – 2pm (Mon – Sun)
This stall at Pek Kio Food Centre got me stopping in my tracks because they serve up both the usual Chwee Kueh ($1.50 for 5 pieces) and a LARGE piece ($1.50 for one).
It is about a palm’s size big.
Typically, I find the larger pieces harder to achieve that soft-watery texture, but this was just right.
And I liked that the chai poh wasn’t too greasy or overly-salty, though I know some people would prefer something more savoury or robust tasting.
Singapore Shui Kueh 新加坡水粿
91 Whampoa Drive, #01-25, Singapore 320091
Opening Hours: 4:30am – 1pm (Mon – Sun)
If you are at Whampoa and hungry that early in the morning, Singapore Shui Kueh starts operations at 4:30am supposedly.
A plate of 4 is sold at $1.20, while 6 is at $1.80. They also sell other items such as Yam Cake, Glutinous Rice and Chee Cheong Fun.
I found the stall to be generous with its chai poh for the price, with a lovely aroma and power-kicked chilli.
The rice cakes were on the firmer side, and could work better if there were softer and smooth.
Xiang Xiang Chwee Kueh
91 Whampoa Drive, #01-05, Singapore 320091
Opening Hours: 7am – 1pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
16 Bedok South Road, Bedok South Market & Food Centre #01-14, Singapore 460016
There are two stalls of Xiang Xiang Chwee Kueh, located at Whampoa Market and Bedok South.
Comparatively, the Chwee Kueh here is more inexpensive, priced at $1.50 for 5 pieces, $2.40 for 8. For takeaways, there will be an additional charge of $0.50 for the chai poh to be packed separately.
The Chwee Kueh here was slightly on the firmer side, while chai poh had a sweet tinge, and I wished there were more toppings to be spread out. But it was not that oily at all.
The tasty aspect in this plate is the home-made chilli sauce, included with dried shrimps, shallots and other ingredients to create a fragrant mix.
Kovan Chwee Kueh 口味水粿
Bendemeer Food Centre #01-64 29, Bendemeer Road, Singapore 330029
Opening Hours: 5:30am – 11:30am (Mon – Sun)
While the stall is called “Kovan Chwee Kueh”, it is located at Bendemeer Food Centre and enjoys a steady stream of customers.
Cooked in vegetable oil, the Chwee Kueh are sold at $1.50 for 5 pieces, $1.80 for 6, and $2.40 for 8. Additional chai poh at 20 cents.
The cakes had a certain softness but could be more melt-in-the-mouth. I wished there was a tad more chai poh and chilli to ‘spread out’ a little better.
Tiong Bahru Chwee Kueh
310 Orchard Road, TANGS Market B1, Singapore 238864
Opening Hours: 10:30am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
Not to be confused with Jian Bo Chwee Kueh, Tiong Bahru Chwee Kueh is located at the basement of TANGS, and managed by Fei Siong Group.
A plate of 4 pieces goes for $2, while an additional piece is at $0.50.
While this is not in the same league as the famous brands in the hawker centres, it is an affordable bite to have at Orchard Road.
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