We celebrated the 14th day after our second Pfizer jab with cake. No, not with just a slice, but with an entire 1kg ondeh ondeh cake from Montreux Patisserie.
It’s not the first time that the two of us have consumed an entire cake (and it probably won’t be the last) but it did take us three days to finish it, even after carving out a quarter and passing it to The Old Folks.
Was it too much sugar for our middle-aged metabolic rates to handle? Most probably. Did we regret buying and consuming it? Most definitely not. But it will likely be some time before we attempt it again.
Or so I thought.
Thankfully, she was able to get them to push back the delivery by two weeks, giving our bodies enough time to bring down our blood glucose levels to an acceptable level before having to go to war again.
As you can see, we have a soft spot for Montreux Patisserie’s cakes, with the ondeh ondeh one being my particular weakness. I chalk it up to my love for Malay kueh kuehs, including the O.G. ondeh ondeh that inspired the eponymous cake.
It’s just so satisfying to chomp into a chewy mochi-like ball and having liquid gula melaka burst out, blending in with the soft pandan skin and coconut shavings for an intensely flavourful bite. While the cake version can’t replicate the explosion, it makes up for it with an authentic rendition of the complex flavours.
Two Malay kueh kuehs that also feature highly on my list are kueh salat and kueh dadar, with both featuring the ubiquitous pandan flavour — in the custard top layer for the former, and the crepe-like skin for the latter. The kueh dadars from Ollella’s stall in the basement of Takashimaya are always a treat, especially when they’re warm and freshly-made.
I’m also particularly fond of kueh lopis and jemput jemput pisang, although they seem to be getting quite hard to find. And when I do find them, they don’t quite taste the same as those I had when I was young.
Kueh lopis is basically boiled glutinous rice shaped into a triangle and topped with gula melaka syrup. The challenge is to achieve just the right texture of the rice, not too hard and not too soft, and the ones I’ve had recently have tended to be too hard.
Jemput jemput pisang are deep-fried balls of mashed bananas, and it’s best not to think too much when you eat them, because they are soaked with oil and definitely not considered health food. Again, it’s all about achieving the right texture, with the ideal state being spongy and chewy and not too dense.
The Wife, unfortunately, is not such a big fan of kueh kuehs, but she does enjoy an occasional putu piring, especially if it’s from Traditional Haig Road Putu Piring, which has several branches throughout Singapore.
Each piece of rice flour cake contains a filling of, you guessed it, gula melaka, and is individually steamed in uniquely-shaped molds, before being topped with finely-shredded coconut. She doesn’t like the coconut bits and I usually end up with a small mountain of them.
What she is crazy about though, and always searches for when she sees a Malay food stall, are potato epok epoks. They are similar to Chinese curry puffs, but have a different skin that is not as flaky and not as buttery. They are good on their own, but are perfect when dipped in some dhal or mutton curry, resulting in delicious curry-ception.
The best tasting ones seem to be sold by makciks out of cardboard boxes in random places, but they’re getting hard to find nowadays — both the makciks and their home-made epok epoks, that is.
And the trend seems to also hold true for kueh kuehs in Singapore, which used to be predominantly made by and sold at independent stalls, but are now mainly available at large chain stores.
There’s nothing wrong with this, and frankly, not something that can be reversed anyway, but I do miss the good old days of getting my kueh kuehs from the friendly neighbourhood makciks, who always give me a big smile when I order in Malay.
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