Where To Find The Best Carrot Cake In Singapore
The name “Singaporean carrot cake” can be misleading, as it doesn’t contain carrots like the traditional Western carrot cake. Instead, it is a dish made primarily from radish (also known as daikon), rice flour, and other ingredients. The name “carrot cake” is a translation from its Chinese name, “chai tow kway,” which directly translates to “fried carrot cake” in English.
The name’s origins are not entirely clear, but it is believed that the term “carrot” in this context refers to the radish, which has a similar shape and texture to carrots when grated. The term “cake” is used because the dish is made by steaming a mixture of grated radish and rice flour, resulting in a solid cake-like base. This cake is then sliced and stir-fried with ingredients such as eggs, garlic, preserved radish (chai poh), and sometimes additional seasonings like soy sauce or chilli.
Over time, the name “carrot cake” became associated with this popular Singaporean dish, despite the absence of actual carrots in the recipe. It is an example of how culinary traditions and names can evolve and adapt as they are passed down through generations and across different cultures.
What is Singaporean carrot cake made of?
Singaporean carrot cake, or “chai tow kway” or “char kway,” is a savoury dish rather than a traditional sweet dessert like its Western counterpart. Despite its name, it does not contain carrots or cake in the conventional sense. Instead, Singaporean carrot cake is primarily made from grated radish (daikon or white carrot), rice flour, and water.
The dish consists of two main variations: the white version and the black version. The white version stirs the grated radish and rice flour batter with garlic, eggs, and preserved radish (chai poh). The mixture is cooked until it forms a soft, slightly crispy texture with a delicate balance of flavours.
The black version, on the other hand, includes the addition of sweet dark soy sauce, which gives the dish its distinct rich and savoury flavour. The dark soy sauce adds depth to the stir-fried radish and imparts a caramelised hue to the plate.
Additional ingredients such as diced spring onions, bean sprouts, and sometimes Chinese sausage or shrimp may be added to enhance the taste and texture. These ingredients contribute to the complexity and diversity of flavours in Singaporean carrot cake.
While carrot cake is commonly enjoyed as a breakfast or supper dish in Singapore, it has gained popularity worldwide due to its unique taste and cultural significance. The combination of tender radish, aromatic spices, and the play of textures makes Singaporean carrot cake an absolute delight for food enthusiasts and a must-try when exploring Singapore’s vibrant culinary scene.
Why is Singapore carrot cake called that?
Despite its name, Singapore carrot cake, also known as “chai tow kway,” does not actually contain any carrots as understood in the western sense.
The term “carrot” in its name refers to the white radish used in its recipe, which is also known as “Chinese carrot” or “daikon.” The “cake” in the name comes from the method of preparation where the radish is mixed with rice flour and water, then steamed to form a cake-like texture.
This radish cake is then cut into pieces and stir-fried with eggs, preserved radish, and various seasonings to make the savory dish known as Singapore carrot cake.
It’s a popular hawker dish available in two versions: the white (original) and the black (sweet soy sauce version). Despite the confusing name, it’s a beloved staple in Singaporean cuisine.
What is the difference between black and white carrot cake in Singapore?
The main difference between black and white carrot cake in Singapore lies in the seasoning and flavour profile of the dish. While both variations share a joint base of grated radish and rice flour, their preparation and taste diverge.
What Is White Carrot Cake?
The white carrot cake, or “white chai tow kway,” is the original and more traditional version. It is prepared by stir-frying the grated radish and rice flour batter with garlic, eggs, and preserved radish (chai poh). The resulting dish has a light colour and a subtle, savoury flavour. It showcases the radish’s natural sweetness and mild earthiness, complemented by the aromatic garlic and umami notes from the preserved radish. It has a soft, slightly crispy texture, with the radish maintaining some tenderness.
What Is Black Carrot Cake?
The black carrot cake, often referred to as “black chai tow kway,” is a variation that incorporates sweet dark soy sauce into the dish. Dark soy sauce gives the carrot cake a rich, caramelised flavour and a darker hue. The dressing provides a sweet and savoury profile, adding depth and complexity to the dish. The black carrot cake is typically slightly sweeter than the white version due to the sweetness of the dark soy sauce. The texture remains similar to the white carrot cake—soft and slightly crispy.
In terms of popularity, both variations of carrot cake have their dedicated fan bases. Some prefer the simplicity and lightness of the white carrot cake, appreciating the clean and delicate flavours. Others enjoy the black carrot cake’s bolder, more robust taste, relishing the caramelised sweetness from the dark soy sauce.
Ultimately, whether you choose the white or black carrot cake in Singapore, both versions offer a unique and delicious culinary experience, showcasing the versatility and creativity of Singaporean cuisine.
Watch: The Master of Singapore’s Carrot-less Carrot Cake
Best Singaporean Carrot Cakes
618 Sim Carrot Cake
They are located in Yishun and renowned as one of the top contenders for the best carrot cake in the area. 618 Sim Carrot Cake offers an exceptional rendition of this classic dish. Priced at $3, their carrot cake stands out with its distinctive presentation and flavours. Notably, they have a unique approach where the chye poh, or preserved radish, is served separately on the side of the plate. This thoughtful arrangement allows you to customise the combination according to your preference.
The star of the dish, the preserved radish, boasts a delightful crunchiness without being excessively salty. What sets 618 Sim Carrot Cake apart is its dedication to using neither pork nor lard in the preparation. This aspect caters to a broader audience, including those with dietary preferences or restrictions.
For those seeking an extra burst of flavour, an alternative option is their carrot cake with prawns priced at $4.50. In this variant, the prawns are skillfully diced into smaller pieces and fried with carrot cake and chives. The result is a harmonious blend of savoury goodness, with the prawns adding a layer of juiciness to the dish.
Whether you opt for the traditional carrot cake or the prawn-infused version, 618 Sim Carrot Cake is undoubtedly a destination worth revisiting. Prepare to be captivated by their unique take on this beloved dish, showcasing their commitment to quality and innovation.
Location: 618 Yishun Ring Rd, Singapore 760618
Ang Moh Kio 107 Carrot Cake
Renowned as one of the top contenders for Singapore’s “Top 10 Carrot Cake” title, this establishment offers a delightful selection of carrot cakes. Available in white and black variations, priced at either $3 or $4, the quality and taste of their creations are truly remarkable.
Regarding texture, the carrot cake here is moist and soft, ensuring a satisfying bite with each mouthful. The elderly uncle skillfully prepares the dish and generously incorporates key ingredients such as the chye poh (preserved radish), eggs, and garlic, leaving no room for stinginess. These flavorful elements enhance the overall taste profile of the carrot cake.
One of the highlights of this establishment’s carrot cake is the impeccable crunch accompanying every bite. The fragrant aroma and the expertly balanced ingredients create a harmonious symphony of flavours that will tantalise your taste buds.
This establishment is a must-visit destination for those seeking a memorable culinary experience and a chance to indulge in top-rated carrot cake. Immerse yourself in the delectable goodness that awaits as you savour the moistness, relish the generous ingredients, and revel in the satisfying crunch that defines their extraordinary carrot cake.
Location: Blk 107 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4, Singapore 560107
Bukit Merah View Carrot Cake
With a remarkable legacy spanning over six decades, this hawker stall meticulously upholds the tradition of crafting carrot cake. The dedication of the hawker shines through as they painstakingly adhere to the traditional preparation methods, ensuring an authentic experience.
At Bukit Merah View’s Carrot Cake, their rendition of this beloved dish comes in delectable chunks with a delightfully crispy exterior. Priced at $3, their black carrot cake delivers a balanced sweetness and a pleasing char that elevates its overall appeal. Meanwhile, the white carrot cake, priced at $3, takes the spotlight for its consistent charred bits, which lend an enticing fragrance to the plate of chai tow kway.
Immerse yourself in the flavours of tradition as you savour the crispy texture, the carefully balanced sweetness, and the artful charring that characterises the carrot cake from this esteemed stall. Indulging in their offerings is a journey through time, allowing you to experience this classic dish’s authentic charm and fragrant allure as it has been enjoyed for generations.
Location: Blk 115 Bukit Merah View, Bukit Merah View Hawker Centre, #01-37, Singapore 151115
Chey Sua Carrot Cake
Chey Sua’s specialty lies in exclusively offering white carrot cake. Their unique approach involves pan-frying one side of the carrot cake to achieve a delightful crispness while intentionally leaving the other lightly fried. This technique creates a harmonious contrast of textures that adds to the overall enjoyment of the dish.
Setting themselves apart from other carrot cake stalls, Chey Sua takes an extra step by pan-frying the chilli with a crispy surface. This ingenious method ensures that the flavours of the chilli permeate every bite, enhancing the overall taste experience.
Grace and Shirley, the current owners, took over the family business more than two decades ago and are committed to maintaining quality and consistency. They insist on making their radish cake instead of relying on factory-made versions to achieve this. Shirley highlights that factory-made radish cakes may vary in texture, sometimes too soft or hard. By crafting their radish cake, they have complete control over the process, ensuring a consistent and satisfying product for their customers.
Embrace the culinary legacy that Grace and Shirley have preserved at Chey Sua, where their dedication to the craft and attention to detail shines through in every plate of white carrot cake. Indulge in the expertly pan-fried textures, relish the chilli-infused crispness, and appreciate the commitment to quality that has made this stall a cherished destination for over two decades.
Location: #02-30, Toa Payoh West Market and Food Court, 127 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh
Fu Ming Cooked Food
Dubbed the ‘mickey mouse carrot cake’ by locals, Fu Ming’s carrot cake derives its name from the adorable Mickey Mouse displayed on their signboard. What sets this carrot cake apart is the size of each bite-sized piece, which surpasses the usual proportions. This generous serving allows for a more pronounced experience of the cake’s soft texture and the distinct flavour of the radish.
One standout element is the inclusion of substantial egg pieces, enhancing the overall enjoyment of the dish. The sweet black sauce adds a delightful sweetness that complements the other flavours perfectly. Interestingly, Fu Ming applies the sweet sauce twice, intensifying the taste and ensuring a satisfying indulgence.
As a testament to their dedication, Fu Ming takes the extra effort to steam their carrot cake, exemplifying their commitment to quality and freshness. At a mere $3, this plate of deliciousness is undeniably a steal, offering exceptional value for a culinary delight that satisfies both the palate and the wallet.
Make sure to visit Fu Ming and delve into the world of their beloved ‘mickey mouse carrot cake.’ Let the combination of flavours, the softness of the cake, and the remarkable attention to detail leave you captivated and eager to return for more.
Location: Redhill Food Centre, Blk 85 Redhill Lane #01-49, Singapore 150085
Ghim Moh Carrot Cake
At Ghim Moh Carrot Cake, they continue to uphold the tradition of making their kueh (carrot cake) in-house. Their signature offering, the Yuan Yang, is priced at $4 and combines white and black carrot cake on a single plate.
The white carrot cake, expertly pan-fried, emanates a delightful fragrance that is particularly pronounced. On the other hand, the black carrot cake leans towards a drier texture, subtly contrasting its white counterpart. When enjoyed together, these two variations create a well-balanced plate of carrot cake, showcasing a range of flavours and textures.
Indulge in the craftsmanship of Ghim Moh Carrot Cake as they continue to produce their kueh with dedication and expertise. The Yuan Yang plate, combining the best of both worlds, invites you to savour the aromatic pan-fried goodness of the white carrot cake and appreciate the unique qualities of the drier black carrot cake. This harmonious blend ensures a satisfying and balanced culinary experience that will leave you craving more.
Location: Blk 20 Ghim Moh Road, Ghim Moh Market and Food Centre, #01-16, Singapore 270020
Good Spice Carrot Cake
Undoubtedly, this establishment offers one of the most affordable carrot cakes on the list and potentially in the entire market. Starting at a mere $2, a plate of their carrot cake is a budget-friendly option, while the Yuan Yang combination is priced at just $3.
The carrot cake served here exudes a delightful old-school charm. The kueh itself boasts an exceptionally soft texture, bordering on the verge of being nua (mushy) and seamlessly blending with the other ingredients. In the case of the white carrot cake, the egg is cooked like an omelette, featuring a slightly watery consistency that adds a unique touch to the dish. On the other hand, the black carrot cake showcases a milder saltiness than its white counterpart, accompanied by a perfect level of sweetness.
With such distinct qualities in both variations, choosing a favourite becomes an arduous task. Each bite presents a delightful dilemma as you savour the nostalgic flavours and appreciate the nuances between the soft kueh, the watery omelette-like egg, and the balanced sweetness of the black carrot cake.
Indulge in the wallet-friendly indulgence offered by this establishment, relishing the charms of their affordably priced carrot cakes. Experience the irresistible allure of the classic and old-school flavours and the delightful struggle of deciding which version you prefer.
Location: Pek Kio Market and Food Centre, 44 Owen Rd, Singapore 210044
Guan Hin Homemade Carrot Cake
Upon approaching the stall, your attention will be drawn to the sight of sizeable round aluminium trays brimming with homemade carrot cake. Witness the labour of love as the elderly couple prepares the kueh in the stall, cutting it into substantial chunks and stir-frying them upon each order.
Indulge in the chunky pieces of carrot cake skillfully stir-fried with a medley of garlic and preserved radish, ensuring a delightful burst of flavours in every bite. My preference led me to favour the black version, which boasts a luscious and thick black-sweetened sauce, further enriching the taste profile. Additionally, the uncle behind the stall demonstrates generosity when adding eggs, enhancing the overall indulgence of the dish.
Immerse yourself in the culinary experience offered by this stall, where making the carrot cake from scratch becomes part of the spectacle. Enjoy the robust and chunky texture of the stir-fried kueh, relish the harmony of flavours brought by the garlic and preserved radish, and savour the richness of the black-sweetened sauce. Let the passion and dedication of the old couple elevate your enjoyment of this classic dish.
Location: Geylang Bahru Market & Food Centre #01-45, 69 Geylang Bahru, Singapore 330069
Guan Kee Carrot Cake
Guan Kee’s carrot cake stands out with its unique characteristics. Notably, their rendition tends to be wetter and more savoury than others. Even this establishment’s traditionally drier white carrot cake takes on a pleasantly moist texture.
The portion size of the Yuan Yang plate, priced at $4, is notably generous, ensuring a satisfying meal. The kueh itself showcases a thick, chunky, and firm consistency, adding to the overall enjoyment of the dish.
In terms of personal preference, I found the black version particularly delightful. It strikes the perfect balance by being nicely moist without being overly sweet, offering a harmonious blend of flavours that is sure to please.
Experience the distinct qualities of Guan Kee’s carrot cake as you relish the moistness, savour the savoury notes, and appreciate the substantial portions. Let the thick and chunky kueh provide a satisfying bite while the balanced moisture of the black version leaves a lasting impression.
He Zhong Carrot Cake
For almost half a century, this family-run carrot cake stall has graced Bukit Timah Market & Food Centre since its establishment in 1973. Known for their exclusive focus on white carrot cake, their rendition stands out with its unique presentation of big and chunky pieces, deviating from the typical flat pancake style.
Prepare your taste buds for a delightful experience as you bite into these springy chunks of goodness. Each piece is packed with abundant flavour, emanating a solid garlicky aroma and an irresistible fragrance of fish sauce. The judicious scattering of chai poh (preserved radish) throughout the cake adds a pleasant sweetness that harmonises perfectly with the savoury notes.
One of the standout features of this stall is their commitment to making their kueh following a special recipe that has stood the test of time. This daily preparation ensures freshness and quality that is truly remarkable.
Adding to its appeal, the affordability of this carrot cake is noteworthy, with the minor portion starting at just $2.50. Indulge in the pocket-friendly pleasure of savouring this culinary delight, knowing that you are getting exceptional value for a plate of carrot cake prepared with dedication and tradition.
Visit this esteemed stall and experience the legacy they have cultivated over the years. Let the big and chunky pieces, the flavoursome essence of garlic and fish sauce, and the carefully crafted kueh transport you to a realm of taste that is both nostalgic and satisfying.
Location: #02-185 Bukit Timah Market & Food Centre, 51 Upper Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 588215
Watch: He Zhong Singapore Fried White Carrot Cake
YouTuber Dancing Bacons visits He Zhong hawker stall that has served delicious freshly cooked Chye Tow Kweh (white carrot cake) for 40 over years in Singapore. The boss is meticulous and skilful with each huge pan of fried carrot cake he cooks.
Where To Find The Best Carrot Cake In Singapore: Key Takeaways
Singaporean carrot cake, a beloved local dish, holds a special place in the hearts and palates of residents and visitors alike. From hawker centres to traditional stalls, this culinary delight has become an iconic part of Singapore’s vibrant food culture.
The variations in the preparation and presentation of carrot cake across different stalls offer a delightful exploration of flavours and textures. Whether you prefer the white or black version, each plate tells a unique story, showcasing the expertise and creativity of the stall owners who have perfected their recipes over generations.
The distinct qualities of Singaporean carrot cake are evident in every bite. The softness of the kueh, the fragrant aroma of garlic and preserved radish, and the interplay of savoury and sweet flavours create a harmonious symphony that captivates the senses and leaves a lasting impression.
Beyond its delectable taste, carrot cake also represents a sense of tradition and heritage. Many stalls pride themselves on making their kueh and preserving time-honoured recipes, ensuring that every plate served reflects the authentic flavours of Singapore’s culinary past.
Whether you’re a local seeking comfort in familiar flavours or a curious visitor eager to explore Singaporean cuisine, carrot cake promises a delightful and satisfying gastronomic adventure. Indulge in the unique textures, savour the diverse flavours, and immerse yourself in the rich culinary tapestry Singaporean carrot cake offers.
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Where To Find The Best Carrot Cake In Singapore: FAQs
Why is it called Singapore Carrot Cake when there are no carrots in it?
The term “carrot” in “Singapore Carrot Cake” refers to the white radish, or daikon, which is also known as “Chinese carrot”. The dish gets its name from this ingredient and its cake-like form.
Is Singapore Carrot Cake sweet or savoury?
Despite the name, Singapore Carrot Cake is a savoury dish. It is made with radish cake stir-fried with eggs, preserved radish, and various seasonings.
What are the white and black versions of Singapore Carrot Cake?
The white version is the original version where the radish cake is stir-fried with eggs and preserved radish. The black version includes sweet soy sauce giving the dish a sweeter taste and a darker colour.
Where can I find Singapore Carrot Cake?
Singapore Carrot Cake is a popular hawker dish and can be found at many hawker centers and food courts throughout Singapore.
Is there a vegetarian or vegan version of Singapore Carrot Cake?
Traditional Singapore Carrot Cake is not vegetarian as it contains eggs. However, some places might offer a vegan or vegetarian version, which you should ask for when ordering.
How should I store leftover Singapore Carrot Cake?
Leftover Singapore Carrot Cake should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and consumed within 1-2 days.
Can I make Singapore Carrot Cake at home?
Q7: A: Yes, while the process is slightly labour-intensive, it is certainly possible to make Singapore Carrot Cake at home. You’ll need ingredients like white radish, rice flour, and preserved radish among others.
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