Ghim Moh Chwee Kueh packs a punch with 55-year-old pork lard recipe

Ghim Moh Chwee Kueh packs a punch with 55-year-old pork lard recipe

SINGAPORE - For more than 55 years, Mr Lee Sah Bah has been lovingly making Chwee Kueh according to his mother's traditional recipe.

He shuns convenience and insists on making food the old fashioned way.

Mr Lee says: "I started helping out my mom and my brother at the stall. In the past, we used to sell from a push cart. There was no licence. I started when I was 8 years old...so I've been selling Chwee Kueh for about 55 year in total."

He explains why he prefers to use the traditional method of Chwee Kueh preparation: "I prefer to use the traditional method. My mom told me not to change the recipe, so I've been sticking to the traditional handmade method.

"I use pork lard, that's why my Chwee Kueh is more fragrant. The traditional method gives it a more fragrant taste," he reveals. 

Mr Lee says that the preserved radish, or caipo in Hokkein, used for his Chwee Kuehs are also more chunky than usual, so it is more chewy in texture. 

"I do not believe in taking shortcuts when I make my Chwee Kueh for people. This makes me happy too," said Mr Lee. 

SPH Razor tries out his Chwee Kueh and tells you if his painstaking methods are worth all the effort.

According to SPH Razor, Mr Lee spends 16 hours a day making the Chwee Kueh based on his mother's traditional recipe. 

Multimedia journalist Low Yi Qian said: "Honestly, when Uncle Lee first served these to us, I was worried there is not enough caipo on top of the Chwee Kueh cause hedoesn't put alot. Not like some stores where they just pile on the caipo. But now that I tried it, his caipo really packs a punch. So actually, this is just nice."

Multimedia journalist Olivia Chang had this to say about Mr Lee's Chwee Kuehs: "The rice kueh is abit dense, not like the usual wobbly kind that I am used to."

Yi Qian says that although it is a little hardly to cut, he likes it because it is more chewy.

"The caipo here is very strong, very fragrant as well. I suspect it got to do with the the pork lard," said Yi Qian. 

Olivia, who finds it a little too salty, said: "The more you eat, the more it grows on you."

Now, for the verdict on Mr Lee's chilli.

Both presenters agree that the chilli is very spicy and salty.

For first-timers trying the dish from this stall, SPH Razor recommend that you go easy of the chill and caipo. There is no need to ask for extras.

They explain: "I think Uncle Lee knows that his condiments really pack a punch so he is really careful on the caipo and the chilli."

Olivia rates the Ghim Moh Chwee Kueh "quite shiok", while Yi Qian says it is "very shiok" because "this traditional taste is something that is really dying out and this harks back to the golden times of the hawker where... Singapore street food was what people were used to."

According to Yi Qian, you would definitely tell the difference (in quality) between this Chwee Kueh and the Chwee Kueh that you buy at food courts and so on. 

But Olivia prefers the famous Chwee Kuehs sold at Tiong Bahru and Bedok because they they have a mix of both sweet and savoury. However, she thinks that the Ghim Moh Chwee Kueh is nonetheless very nostalgic. 

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