An irreplaceable part of any Singaporean’s diet, kuehs are the ultimate crowd-pleaser. That’s mostly because there are so many, there’s got to be at least one you like. To all the kueh fans out there, here’s some good news: you can learn to make your favourite local kuehs at the Singapore Food Festival! Before signing up though, let’s take a crash course on some of the most popular local kuehs.
Sweet and fragrant, Malay and Nyonya kuehs are one of Singapore’s most iconic foods. The three main ingredients are pandan leaf, glutinous rice, and coconut. You’ll be amazed at how many delicious treats can come out of just these few simple, local ingredients.
1. Pulut Inti
The most striking feature of these traditional Malay kuehs is their shape. Glutinous rice topped with sweet dessicated coconut is wrapped in a banana leaf, giving the kueh its triangular shape, and steamed. If you’re looking at the more common Nyonya interpretation, you’ll see that the rice is a gorgeous shade of blue.
2. Kueh Dardar
Kueh Dadar is essentially sweet, coconut-flavoured Pohpiah. These dainty rolls of delight have a fragrant gula melaka-infused coconut filling and a gorgeous green skin. The skins are dyed green using pandan leaves and cooked into paper-thin crepes, so that the pastry both looks and tastes too tempting to resist.
3. Kueh Salat
Sinfully indulgent and decadent, the kueh salat is satisfaction in a bite. A generous layer of melt-in-your-mouth kaya custard rests on glutinous rice steamed with more pandan and coconut milk. Bursting with the distinctive fragrance and mild sweetness of these two ingredients in every bite, the kueh salat is as delicious as it is eye-catching.
As opposed to their petite and sweet counterparts, Chinese kuehs are usually savoury and rather filling. Because of this, they’ve become affordable and popular breakfast foods. Glutinous rice also plays a key role in these kuehs, but is cooked with ingredients like dried shrimp and mushrooms instead.
1. Tutu Kueh
An iconic snack everyone knows and loves, tutu kuehs are what nostalgia must taste like. Soft, cakey, and pillowy, a thin layer of steamed rice flour wraps around a filling of either ground peanuts or shredded coconut. The kuehs cook rapidly too, so you can watch in anticipation as they’re prepared on the spot.
2. Soon Kueh
At once delicate and hearty, the Soon Kueh is a tantalising blend of chewy, soft, and crunchy. Its soft and chewy texture comes from the unique skin, a translucent, thin layer made with rice and tapioca flour. A filling of radish and bamboo shoots contribute the crunchiness, while garlic and dried shrimp give the entire kueh a savoury fragrance.
3. Ang Ku Kueh
Literally “Red Turtle Kueh”, this snack gets its name from its bright red skin, which looks like a turtle shell. With a sweet filling of ground peanuts and sugar, or a paste made from mung beans, and a sticky, tender skin that’s delightfully mochi-like, it’s no wonder the kueh has stolen the hearts of generations of Singaporeans.
4. Png Kueh
Bright pink, shaped like a wonky triangle, and featuring an intricate pattern, a Png Kueh is truly a pretty sight. The sticky and chewy skin holds glutinous rice, cooked with aromatics like mushrooms, shallots, and dried shrimp to give the rice a complex mix of flavours. Here’s a fun fact: the Png Kueh is supposed to look like a peach, which explains its curious colour and shape. Traditionally, red or pink Png Kuehs are for the gods and white ones are for ancestors.
5. Chwee Kueh
Unlike most other Teochew kuehs, Chwee Kueh isn’t made of a skin wrapped around some filling. This popular hawker breakfast features a firm, almost pudding-like steamed cake with pickled radishes on top. Simple yet delicious, the crunchy and salty radishes complement the plain, silky rice cake perfectly.
Can’t wait for the workshops? That’s not a problem – Chope a seat at true blue Singaporean restaurants to enjoy your favourite local kuehs, along with a delicious meal of Singaporean foods. Folklore offers Singapore’s history on a menu, with dishes from Indian to Eurasian and everything in between.
If you fancy Peranakan, head down to Violet Oon’s for a selection of authentic Peranakan dishes that taste like they came straight from a friendly family kitchen. Finally, StraitsKitchen has a buffet of local hawker foods for all us bottomless pits. And remember, use the code TASTYBLOG when you make a reservation to bag 2X the Chope-Dollars!