Drawing down the strategic wine reserve

“Wine improves with age. The older I get, the better I like it.”

Anonymous

On 4 Apr, the day after the not-lockdown was announced, our good friends RC and QY drove over and made a special delivery of pandan cake and kaya from Cheng’s @27. It gave us a good excuse to draw down our strategic wine reserve and open a bottle of dessert wine.

The fluffy pandan cake was moist and fragrant with melted blobs of gula melaka studded throughout. We had one piece as-is and another toasted, and then another two pieces, because it was delicious and we were greedy.

The kaya was easily the best I’ve ever had, rich and creamy and good enough to eat on its own. It was not cloyingly sweet nor Hulk-green in colour like many other brands. There was even a hint of durian, which made the taste extra special. I’m very sure they didn’t add durian, but for some strange reason, that’s what I tasted.

And pandan-ception was the only logical way to eat them both, because pandan-on-pandan is a magical combination.

The half-bottle of De Bortoli Noble One 2007 that we opened was a good pairing. It had been sleeping for almost a decade in the fruit & vegetable compartment of our fridge, because grape is a fruit.

It was the sole survivor of numerous bottles of Australian dessert wines that I had bought back from the Sydney airport in 2010, when I was shuttling to-and-fro for work. We had tried pretty much every different type available in duty-free and this was our favourite.

Beautifully golden with hints of honey, apricots and peaches but not overwhelmingly sweet. Not as good as a nice bottle of French Sauternes, but still very good nonetheless.

We finished half the bottle that day, and kept the remaining half for brunch the following morning.

Carrot Cubes was open for delivery on Deliveroo and it was the obvious choice. They are a hawker stall in Cheng San Market, and they make one of the best chai tow kway in Singapore.

The frying is done by Claire, using carrot cake that her father hand-makes for wholesale distribution. Here’s her story in her own words.

Their selection is small but everything is good, and we ordered our usual White, Black and Thai chilli. A word of warning on the Thai chilli flavour, because this is not your normal sweet Thai chilli sauce but something way… more spicy.

The White lets you taste the original radish flavour of the carrot cake the best; the Black provides a sweet contrast with the black soya sauce that’s added; and the Thai chilli packs a punch.

The best way to enjoy all three is to alternate flavours, and take a sip of leftover dessert wine in between to cleanse the palate. The wine went especially well with the spicy carrot cake, and tasted very different from when we had it with the pandan cake.

Here they are again, in high-res. Don’t they look simply delicious side-by-side? We finished every last morsel and scraped each box clean.

In times like these, it’s especially important to give as much support as possible to our local hawkers. There’s no doubt that we’ll be ordering from them soon, and we urge you to do the same. Because there’s no such thing as too much chai tow kway.

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