Loosely translated as ‘water cake’, it is as its name suggests—a steamed cake made of water and milled rice. Cooked in small aluminium molds, each kueh pops out hot and steamy with the aroma of rice, the firm pastey texture cut smoothly through with a spoon and eaten with relish and generous topping of moreish chye poh.
While most stalls in Singapore now hawk chwee kueh that is commercially made, there are still some who make theirs fresh the traditional way. Both can be equally delicious, as it really comes down to personal preference. There are three components to great chwee kueh: the firmness of the kueh, the sweet-salty ratio and texture of the chye poh, and the chili sauce that the chwee kueh is served with. Make your way through this list of places around the island to find your favourite chwee kueh.
Blk 20, Ghim Moh Road Ghim Moh Food Centre #01-31
Opening Hours: 6.15am-7pm daily
This hawker has been making chwee kueh for more than 50 years and he still makes his by hand every morning. His chye poh is a savoury mix of garlic, fragrant pork lard and preserved radish.
Bedok Chwee Kueh
208 New Upper Changi Road, Bedok Interchange Hawker Centre #01-53
Opening Hours: 7am-11pm daily
This is one of the most famous chwee kueh stalls in Singapore with several branches around the island in Clementi, Hougang and Ang Mo Kio as well. The chye poh is chopped finer and its sweetness is the perfect foil for the spicy chilli sauce. The kueh itself is smooth and most ‘water-like’ and practically melts in the mouth.
Jian Bo Shui Kueh
30 Seng Poh Road, Tiong Bahru Market #02-05
Opening Hours: 6.30am-11pm daily
This is one of the original stalls from the old Tiong Bahru Market which is renowned for its good food and this chwee kueh is no exception. The rice is still milled on site and the chye poh is sprinkled with aromatic sesame seeds and just delicious with the special chilli sauce. Jian Bo is also recommended in the 2017 Michelin Guide.
58 New Upper Changi Road, Bedok South 58 Market and Food Centre #01-150
Opening Hours: 7am-3pm daily
This stall serves up an array of other breakfast treats like yam cake and chee cheong fun but is most well-known for its chwee kueh.
Tiong Bahru Chwee Kueh
310 Orchard Road, TANGS Market B1
Opening Hours: Mon-Thurs and Sat: 10.30am to 9.30pm, Fri: 10:30am to 11pm, Sun 11am to 8.30pm
You can take a chwee kueh out of the heartlands, but not the heartlands out of the chwee kueh. This stall at TANGS may be a little more expensive but the chwee kuehs here are surprisingly delish, smooth and firm to the bite with a moist and crunchy chye poh that isn’t too oily.
Sembawang Hills Shui Kueh
590 Upper Thomson Road, Sembawang Hills Food Centre #01-16
Opening Hours: 7am-1.30pm and 3-5pm on weekdays, 7am-5pm on weekends
The chwee kueh here is firmer and pastier than average which provides some heft for the savoury chye poh that has been fried with dried shrimp for an extra umami kick.