Best kueh salat in Singapore

Out of dozens of traditional kueh, one in particular has gained a modern appreciation, with a few establishments turning the three-bite snack into round cakes fit for birthday celebrations. Kueh salat has a simple two-layer composition: a bed of chewy glutinous rice topped with sweet, coconutty custard. Its colouring should be all-natural, provided by pandan leaves (or the rarer suji for a more vivid green) and blue pea flowers (for optional streaks in the rice).
By epicure
Published on Wednesday, 02 Aug 2017

TIONG BAHRU GALICIER PASTRY

An oldie but goodie, Tiong Bahru Galicier Pastry has been around since the 1970s and is now helmed by third-generation owner Jenny Soh. Their kueh salat hits all the right notes with their smooth pandan custard and savoury glutinous rice. Tip: pop down at 10am or risk leaving emptyhanded. #01-39, 55 Tiong Bahru Road. Tel: 6324 1686

Chalk Farm

CHALK FARM

One bite and we knew we found a winner. Chalk Farm’s kueh salat is fragrant, luscious and highly addictive – a wonderful surprise for a cake company whose typical offerings are chocolate Guinness cake and 24 karat brownie. The kaya custard is soft and silky with subtle hints of coconut and pandan, which goes well with the gorgeous blue pea flower-infused glutinous rice. #B1-K24, Paragon, 290 Orchard Road. Tel: 6235 2872

CHONG WEN GE CAFÉ

Chinta Manis may have shut its cafés to focus solely on catering, but it still supplies kueh to places like Chong Wen Ge. At first sight, the kueh salat seems a little rough around the edges, given the large blocks of uneven dimensions. But a whiff and a bite later will change your mind. The kaya is richly perfumed with coconut and pandan, and the overall flavours are balanced and not cloying. Enjoy it on premise in the Thian Hock Keng Temple complex, a cosy space decorated with colourful Peranakan tiles. 168 Telok Ayer Street. Tel: 9129 1625

RATU LEMPER

Ratu Lemper is a Kampong Glam bakery that churns out traditional kueh and other treats. Though their signature offering is lemper ayam, they also produce a quality kueh salat. We especially love the custard, which is not only dense and fragrant but has a vibrant shade of green. Its richness is a perfect complement to the tender glutinous rice. 16 Baghdad Street. Tel: 6493 2549

THE COCONUT CLUB

For a restaurant that prides itself on sourcing the very best coconuts, making Nyonya kueh is probably a no-brainer. The Coconut Club’s kueh salat is a delight for the taste buds. With a higher ratio of custard to rice, each bite is sumptuous and full of flavour. Both the custard and rice layers are soft and moist, and the overall flavour is balanced and not too sweet. Get it to go if you want to skip the long queue for its crowd-pleasing nasi lemak. 6 Ann Siang Hill. Tel: 6635 2999

NICHE SAVOUREUSE

This quaint heartland café and bakery does more than just quiche and petit fours; one of its bestsellers is its exceptional kueh salat. Made with a recipe from owner Melvin Tang’s mother, the 14-inch cake employs the freshest ingredients (no artificial additives). You get a fragrant pandan custard with a delightfully mellow sweetness and an even consistency, layered over sticky rice that’s enriched with coconut cream. #01-833, 128 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh. Tel: 9633 5108

HARRIANNS

A leading champion of Nyonya kueh, heritage brand HarriAnns is a stickler for tradition and produces nearly everything by hand, including the extraction of coconut milk. Available in morsels and regular slices, their kueh salat boasts a smooth pastel-green kaya layer with a buttery egg tang and delicate coconut aroma. To counterbalance the rich custard is a savoury, chewy glutinous rice layer that’s naturally coloured with blue pea flower. #01-01A Bugis Junction Towers, 230 Victoria Street. Tel: 6238 1200

MAKKO TECK NEO

This neighbourhood joint was bustling with diners when we visited during a weekday lunch, an optimistic indicator of their food standards. And indeed, we weren’t disappointed as we sampled their kueh salat. The thick, velvety custard has a subtle egg nuance and sweetness, and was redolent of pandan leaf aromas. The glutinous rice was also firm enough to contribute a chewy texture to the Peranakan confection. #01-303, 35 Telok Blangah Rise. Tel: 6275 1330

BENGAWAN SOLO

This stalwart of local snacks never lets us down. Their kueh salat has a decidedly more homemade appeal than most with its bumpy, undulating surface. Although the custard is a little softer, the fragrance of pandan leaves is unmistakable, and the kueh is altogether still a delectable treat of textures and taste. Multiple outlets. bengawansolo.com.sg

PeraMakan

PERAMAKAN

PeraMakan produces what might be considered the Goldilocks of kueh salat – every aspect of it is just right. The custard is fragrant and smooth; the rice is soft and not too sticky; the hues of green and blue are lucid and natural. Chef Kathryn Ho’s three-generation recipe also ensures that the sweetness of the kaya is offset perfectly by the salt in the rice. 119 Owen Road. Tel: 6291 3474