As you approach Hiap Huat Cakeshop in Jurong East, the first thing you notice is the sheer variety of freshly made fare, from steamed to baked to fried.
The second thing that struck me, when I was there on a recent Saturday morning, was that there were many young people in the queue waiting to buy some of the old-time favourites such as ang ku kueh.
What caught my eye in the clean-looking show- cases was the bamboo shoot rice cake (80 cents) not commonly found in most stalls. The usual version of the soon kueh uses turnip rather than bamboo shoot.
Here, the filling is almost entirely bamboo shoot slices, which give the kueh a firmer, more springy bite. Enclosing it is a smooth, thin skin. The savoury filling goes well with a cup of steaming-hot kopi-c (coffee with evaporated milk) which I ordered from a coffee stall in the food centre opposite the kueh shop.
If you are not a bamboo shoot fan, there is the usual cabbage kueh (60 cents) and soon kueh (60 cents). These are decent but not remarkable.
What I like is the onde onde (40 cents) generously coated with fresh grated coconut. Bite into one and you feel the burst of the sweet gula melaka filling in your mouth.
The steamed sweet potato kueh (40 cents), steamed kueh ubi (40 cents) and kueh lapis (60 cents) are not sweet enough, at least for me. Add a little more sugar and I would have enjoyed them a lot more.
What I appreciate is the softness of the kueh, evidence of how fresh the product is.
The baked kueh ubi (three for $1.20) was better than the steamed tapioca version if you prefer something more fragrant.
There are just too many items to check out, but the steamed sweet potato ($1) and baked sweet potato ($1) intrigued me because they are so simply done – steamed or baked. The sweetness of the root vegetable comes through, but both versions would have tasted better if they were still warm.
This article was first published on Nov 23, 2014. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.