Everybody likes to have a sweet ending to their lunch or dinner by tucking into a mouth-watering dessert or pudding. And as far as Singaporeans are concerned, most of them have a penchant for desserts, ice-creams, and other sweet dishes. Singapore is a melting potpourri of cultures and you can taste an assortment of sweets items that the ethnic Chinese, Malayans, and South Indians have made popular since the time of their migration to Singapore.
The names of the sweet offerings and dishes are real tongue-twisters and you might have a hard time pronouncing most of them but all your worries will melt away the moment you roll your tongue over them. So the next time you’re in Singapore, extract time from your busy schedule to dig into steamed cakes, Cendol, Fritters, Grass Jelly, Tutu Kueh, and Chinese Sponge Cakes.
There’s nothing that can compare to a hot steaming cup of tea or coffee to jumpstart your morning. When you’re in Singapore, take a break from downing those routine cuppas with Bubble Tea. Join in with the locals by sipping rich, creamy tea that is ice cold from a plastic cup. Flavourings such as tapioca seeds, hazelnut milk, and blueberries are added to make it more invigorating. You can ask for bubble tea without milk. It is called ‘Bubble Tea’ because of the froth that develops when preparing the mix in a blender or cocktail mixer.
You can find tea shops serving Bubble Tea almost anywhere and everywhere in Singapore. You can drop in for a cup at Sweet Talk or Koi Cafe.
There are many versions of Cendols available in Singapore and each one characterizes the distinct flavour of the region from where it originated. So you’ve Indonesian Cendols, Malaysian Cendols and Thai Cendols. But all the variants essentially contain ice shavings topped with a generous dose of noodles garnished with pandan and thick syrup of fresh palm sugar. This melange sits on a fluid base of coconut milk (or sometimes condensed milk). Don’t shirk from the noodles but fill your mouth with them for a heavenly experience.
Cendol is available in almost all food hawker stalls but if you want to have a special treat, go to the Tekka Market in Little India.
Grass Jelly is actually a Chinese herb belonging to the Mint family of plants. It is called ‘Chin-Chow’ in Chinese which means eternal grass. The herb is boiled thoroughly to get the characteristic black, opaque and wobbly slab which is tasteless in itself. It is actually used to flavour drinks or eaten after garnishing it with shaved ice topped with sugar syrup. Grass Jelly works as an immaculate antidote after a heavy dinner or lunch and is very refreshing when the weather is very balmy in Singapore during the summer season.
You can savour Grass Jelly at Koi Cafe in 1-16 People’s Park Complex or at Gogo Beanz at 1, Bedok Road.
Durian is a fruit that is typical to Southeast Asia and is known for its pungent odour. The fruit is quite large and the fleshy part has an aroma that some find revolting and others overpowering. Singaporeans really revere this fruit and it is used for flavouring ice-creams, puddings, soufflés, and even taken in raw form. The flesh is so succulent and juicy that you can scoop it out and eat the same.
Taste durian delicacies in People’s Park Centre in Chinatown and also along a string of stalls at Geylang.
It’s a specialty pastry that is a favourite with Singaporeans. It is made by pouring hot and steaming rice paste peppered with powdered sugar in specially made moulds. The dough is stuffed with sweetened pistachios, almonds, coconut pieces or peanuts. Best had with a cup of hot tea or coffee, Tutu Kueh is available in shops that lines Haig Road Putu Piring in the Malaysian section of Geylang.