SINGAPORE: There are no other places that make fried carrot cake like Singapore. To many non-locals, it is usually confused with the western baked carrot cake. So it is even a bigger surprise when they find out there is actually no carrot in fried carrot cake. Fried carrot cake or "chai tow kway" is a common dish or dim sum of Teochew cuisine in Chaoshan, China. It is also popular in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan and Vietnam, consisting of stir-fried cubes of radish cake. The versions served by hawkers in Singapore are typically prepared by frying the steamed radish cake with chopped preserved turnip, diced garlic, eggs, and Chinese fish sauce in place of soya sauce.
This dish always brings back memories. I used to have it every Sunday morning before my music sessions. Over the years, I started to have this for lunch and dinner too. Most of the time, this is a sharing dish when I have dinner in a hawker centre with my family.
Heng Carrot Cake
Heng Carrot Cake is the only stall that I will travel to specifically for carrot cake. Located at Newton Food Centre, this is a well-known stall. It is popular with Japanese tourists as it often gets mentioned in Japanese Travel Guides. In addition, Newton Food Centre is made famous by the movie Crazy Rich Asians.
It doesn't matter where I am in Singapore; whenever I feel like having fried carrot cake, Heng Carrot Cake is where I get my fix. So my usual order is fried carrot cake and fried oysters.
Address: 500 Clemenceau Ave N, Newton Food Centre, #01-28, Singapore 229495
Song Zhou Carrot Cake
I used to frequent Bedok Hawker Centre when I was living in the area. As far as I can remember, Song Zhou Carrot Cake has always been located here. After school, I would take a bus to Bedok Interchange and have a Song Zhou Carrot cake plate before heading home. Until today, you still can see a long queue every morning. Everyone will wait patiently in line, waiting for their turns to get these plates of carrot cake. I always order both the black version and white version when I can't decide.
Address: 207 New Upper Changi Rd, Bedok Interchange Hawker Centre, Singapore 460207
He Zhong Carrot Cake
This stall is very popular with residents in the west of the island. It is a common pit stop either before or after your hike in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. He Zhong Carrot Cake makes their carrot cake slightly different from the rest. First, they will fry a giant pan of reddish cake at any one time. Many eggs are then mixed into the pan, turning it into a "pancake" like thickness. The chef will then cut them into squares and brown them on both sides. If you like it spicy, she will spread the chilli at the top of the cake instead of frying into it.
It is located somewhere at the end of the middle rows in Bukit Timah Market & Food Centre. This hawker centre is pretty tightly packed. It just has a row of tables between rows of hawker stalls. You will need to find an empty table before placing your order. Let them know your table number, and they will bring the fried carrot cake to you. They must be doing this right to be in business since 1973.
Address: 51 Upper Bukit Timah Rd, Bukit Timah Market & Food Centre, #02-185, Singapore 588215
Ghim Moh Carrot Cake
Ghim Moh Carrot Cake is located in Ghim Moh Road Market & Food Centre. This place is a war zone every weekend. It is crowded with people from all over Singapore wanting to patronise a long list of very well-known hawkers. Ghim Moh Carrot Cake might not be the stall I will order from every time because there are so many other choices to choose from. However, if I do, I will always end up happy. The char from the sweet sauce is simply addictive and satisfying.
If you do not feel like queuing, you can head down to ABC Brickworks. They have a second stall there with a shorter queue, serving the same daily-made carrot cake.
Address: 20 Ghim Moh Rd, #01-16, Singapore 270020
Grandfather Carrot Cake
I have many other carrot cake stalls I want to shout out. However, I do want to include newcomers in my list. Grandfather Carrot Cake is one of those that caught me by surprise. It is located in Soy Eu Tua coffee shop, at Upper East Coast Road and Jalan Tua Kong. It's easy to miss if you are not paying attention while driving.
With a name like this, one would expect a perfect plate of fried carrot cake. However, they do make the dish differently. With the chopped preserved turnip as topping and chilli on the side, I can decide how much turnip and chilli are in every spoon. I love this so much, and I went back again.
Address: 15 Upper East Coast Rd, Singapore 455207
And there are so many more good Fried Carrot Cake stalls out there, and I am sure everyone will have their own favourite/s
The following are others I have enjoyed.
1) Tian Kee Oyster Omelette / Carrot Cake located at Marine Parade Central
2) Good Spice Carrot Cake located at Pek Kio Market & Food Centre
3) Traditional Carrot Cake located at Holland Drive Market and Food Centr
4) 618 SIM Carrot Cake located at 618 Yishun Ring Road