The Chinese New Year of the Pig is coming and the classic adage is “if the old don’t go, the new won’t come”. But there is a big twist to that saying especially in our local makan heritage. So I am not going to recommend anything newly opened today but run against the grain and talk about a little eatery that’s going to close soon. This is about the new coming and then gone in huff. We see many new face hawkers digging in attempting their level best but somehow trip over for so many reasons- chief of which is visibility and exposure. The owner will pack up for good in mid-February.
Sharon Low opened her little “by appointment only” Nonya bakery in 2016 and made some waves in the foodie scene. Some say this is the saviour and future of Nonya cakes in Singapore. With some baking experience in her previous workplace, she winged it, tweaked and twisted yet maintained the old ways of some Nonya cakes. She does not bake a lot to cater to walk-ins and has limited portions each day. Its best you call or book online to get a slice of the fascinating action in her menu.
We ordered a bunch online and most were memorable. The star was the Pulot Hitam Chiffon ($15 whole cake). I closed my eyes and focussed on the flavour as I bit in, made more complex because I was comparing a cake and textured glutinous black rice dessert. It was on point- the gula Melaka shone through and there were fine bits of black rice in the soft fluffy cake. The Kueh Salat ($2 a slice and from $30 a whole cake) or kaya glutinous rice cake, was rich but not cloyingly sweet, which I like. The kaya layer was soft but I much prefer it softer to counter the blue pea flower (bunga telang) tinted glutinous rice layer. I like the Kueh Kosui ($2 for 3)- their version is a cross between the really firm factory made ones and the uber soft ones Damian D Silva makes at his Folklore restaurant. And again, it was easy on sugar.
The Sugee cake ($22 for a 7 inch lof) came soft, rich and unctuous. Many aficionados would like a lot of almond finely chopped and buried in the cake but the style here has full shards of the nut sitting atop the cake under sugar dust. A refreshing change. This next one stood out- the Pandan Mochi Chiffon Cake ($48 per whole cake). Imagine vintage soft pandan cake with a layer of salted gula Melaka mocha (think kueh dodol) lined in between and layered in soft fresh cream and grated coconut. The burst of flavours and texture in a single bite was outstandingly memorable. I was sceptical but it eventually bit into a pumpkin orange Kueh Bulan ($2.50 each), like an ang ku kueh but stuffed with 8 treasures like pumpkin seeds, candied melons and melon seeds, inspired by the 8 treasures mooncake. I also like the Kueh Putugal ($2 each). I have never tried it this style before)- steamed pandan green tapioca fudge with a pisang rajah banana inside.
So to prolong such pleasures, I suggest you persuade Sharon to rethink closing or ask her to make these and sell from home. It is a pity is this “new” have to make way for the old.
Peranakan Khek (will close for good on 17th February)
11, Cavan Road
tel: 6443 1213
Wednesdays to Saturdays: 11am–6pm, Sundays & Public Holidays: 11am–5pm, Closed on Mondays & Tuesdays