I crave these two fluffy white local cuisines on a daily basis:
1) Kueh Tutu is a traditional Singaporean delicacy which is sadly facing distinction due to lack of local demand. However, in a stroke of good fortune, we have a legend here in Clementi in the shape of a white haired elderly lady named Tan. She is continuing the legacy of her family by producing her famous tutu coconut cakes. Below is an image courtesy of local food blogger ‘I Eat, I Shoot, I Post,’ depicting the second generation of Tans steaming up a culinary storm:
Tucked away around the corner of the food court and behind the supermarket FairPrice, her modest stall is hidden to the undiscerning eye. Despite her age, Tan’s hands are faster than Usain Bolt on red bull and deftly move around her tiny workspace. The ‘fluff’ exterior is made from rice flour or glutinous rice, and is filled with syrupy shredded coconut. For those of you who leave those little blue Quality Street for the rest of us, fear not: peanut butter is also available. The parcels are thrown into the steamer whilst pandan leave beds are whipped on to the bases of the next batch to add fragrance. The cakes she makes are larger than the traditional versions, and for that I’m eternally grateful. It costs S$3 for 5 which is good as I’ve demolished three whilst writing this paragraph. There’s no room in my belly for guilt though as I’m helping to save a Singaporean institution.
2) Lotus Paste Dim Sum is a dessert addition to the usual Cantonese steamed treats in woven baskets which were traditionally designed as breakfast for travellers on the go, but is now widely adopted as a sit-down meal or take-out. Dim sum is usually consumed with Chinese tea, harking back to the old tea tasting custom of ‘yum cha’.
The ‘fluff’ of the buns pictured above (bao/pau) is a steamed yeast-leavened dough filled with gooey caramel-coloured lotus bean paste. Lotus paste dim sum is not to be confused with savoury dim sum, although if you were to have a mishap with your chopsticks, it is strangely tasty with sweet chilli sauce. Translated, it means ‘a little bit of heart’ according to the China History Forum, which seems entirely fitting now that I’m a little bit in love.
‘Tan’s Kueh Tutu’, ‘I Eat, I Shoot, I Post,‘ http://ieatishootipost.sg/2012/07/tans-tutu-coconut-cakes-kueh-tutu-is.html
‘Dim Sum – A Little Bit of Heart,’ China History Forum, http://www.chinahistoryforum.com/index.php?/topic/2991-dim-sum-a-little-bit-of-heart-beginners-guide/