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Dining Out 2 minutes 17 December 2017

Breakfast Club: Our Top Picks for Teochew Kueh

No question about it, these treats are worth setting the alarm for.

hawker Singapore Hawker Teochew

Kueh is a broad term that refers to morsels that resemble dumplings. And it is most commonly used in countries tied to the Southeast Asian region such as Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. These bite-sized treats can be both savoury or sweet, depending on the preparation. While the Indonesian and Malaysian kuehs have the tendency to teeter on the sweet side, the Chinese or more specifically Teochew kuehs, are more savoury.

Some of the more popular Teochew-style kuehs including soon kueh (stuffed with bamboo shoots, jicama and dried shrimps), png kueh (stuffed with an aromatic mixture of pork, mushrooms, shallots, peanuts and diced dried radish), ku chye kueh (dried shrimps and Chinese chives) and ang ku kueh (sweet dumplings made to resemble tortoises filled with a variety of fillings from sweet mung bean to peanut, yam to coconut).

While there isn't a bad time to be consuming these little parcels, they're more commonly had for breakfast. Here are five spots that start hawking their Teochew-style kuehs early.

Yong's Teochew Kueh
1022 Upper Serangoon Road
Opening hours: 7am to 6pm, daily. Closed on Mondays.

They've since opened a second branch at Marine Parade but their shop at Upper Serangoon Road remains their primary location. Longtime dwellers in the Kovan and Hougang vicinity will tell you that Yong's Teochew kueh is a neighbourhood institution. In fact, it is so well known that many use the shop as a landmark for directions. Queues here snake in the morning and even though the shop stays open until 6pm on most days, they tend to sell out of their signature kuehs - soon, ku chye and cabbage ($1.20 each) - by noon. The service here is infamously curt and snippy but the generous portions, good quality and affordable prices have earned them a slew of returning customers.
A worker expertly filling and wrapping soon kuehs at Kovan Market & Food Centre's Fatt Soon Kueh.
A worker expertly filling and wrapping soon kuehs at Kovan Market & Food Centre's Fatt Soon Kueh.
Fatt Soon Kueh
Kovan Market & Food Centre, 209 Hougang Street 21, #01-17
Opening hours: 9am to 6pm, daily. Closed on Sundays.

They've got two other outlets in Bedok and Chinatown but their stall at Kovan Market & Food Centre remains as one of their most popular. There's a perpetual queue during mealtimes but the service staff are brisk and the lines move quick. The kuehs ($1 a piece) hawked here are made fresh every day and it shows. The skin of the kuehs are soft, moist and chewy to the bite and the fillings, tasty and generous.

Ji Xiang Confectionery
Everton Park, Blk 1 #01-33
Opening hours: 8am to 5pm, daily. Closed on Sundays.

With almost thirty years under their belts, Ji Xiang Confectionery is a veteran in the local kueh scene. While other kueh stalls hawk a variety of savoury Teochew-style kuehs, Ji Xiang focuses on making one type well. As a result, their ang ku kueh ($0.90 a piece) is one of the best. Customers can order these tortoise-shaped sweet kuehs in traditional flavours such as mung bean, peanut and salted bean as well as in slightly unconventional flavours like durian, corn and yam.
Png kueh or poong tor, as it is called in Teochew, are savoury dumplings made to resemble peaches as the fruit represents longevity in Chinese folklore.
Png kueh or poong tor, as it is called in Teochew, are savoury dumplings made to resemble peaches as the fruit represents longevity in Chinese folklore.
Poh Cheu
127 Bukit Merah Lane 1
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm, daily. Closed on Sundays.

Pay Poh Cheu a visit and chances are you'll see some young faces behind the till; the family-run store at Bukit Merah is seeing its third generation at the helm today. The customers lining up in the unyielding queue mirrors the workers, with a mixed bag of patrons from white collar workers still wearing lanyards around their necks, secondary school students and grandchildren-babysitting elders. With over ten items on the menu, Poh Cheu offers one of the most extensive range of kuehs around. Prices range from $1 for a soon kueh to $1.20 for a png kueh and $6 for a small yam cake.

Hong Shan Ang Ku Kueh
Nghee Huat Eating House, Blk 51 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh, #01-62
Opening hours: 8am to 4.30pm, daily. Closed on Wednesdays.

Located in the heartlands of Toa Payoh is yet another hawker stall specialising in Teochew-style kuehs. Their namesake ang ku kuehs are their bestsellers but their soon kueh ($1.30) and ku chye kueh ($1.10) are worth ordering too. A husband-and-wife team with 30 years of kueh-making experience mans the stall; the husband potters about at the back, making the kuehs fresh everyday while his wife caters to constant stream of customers.

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