Most people wouldn’t associate the word delicate with Singapore carrot cake (savoury fried Chinese radish cake). But it’s appropriate when describing the way the cook at Chey Sua Carrot Cake fries its pancake-style carrot cake.
This carrot cake stall at the Toa Payoh West market along Lorong 1 has received rave reviews for years (decades, even) and the accolades are deserved.
The top of the dish, where the egg meets the steamed Chinese radish cake is crispy and light – most definitely not over-fried. The steamed cake below the crispy top is soft to the point of being almost melt-in-the-mouth. When you take a mouthful of the whole, it’s a super combination of contrasts.
The reason why this is probably the best pancake-style carrot cake in Singapore (and maybe the best carrot cake of any kind) is the care and attention given to the cooking of the dish.
There’s always a wait. Even at 7.25am on a Wednesday, when I had this, I was told there would be a 15 minute wait – in the end it took about 13 minutes. While that’s partly due to the popularity of the stall, the wait is also due to how much time and trouble the cook takes to get the fry on the top of the dish just right, so as to get that delightful, fresh crispiness.
When I considered ordering this on a visit to this hawker centre the previous week (on 10 May 2016) at about 8.30am or so, I was told the wait would be 30 minutes, so I skipped this and had the Come Daily Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee instead.
But the wait is made much more tolerable because the stall doesn’t require you to wait in front of the stall for your order, but will deliver it to your table – just make sure to tell the order-taker your table number. That means I can order my coffee and anything else I’d like, and just enjoy my newspaper or conversation with my breakfast companions.
And so reasonably priced. You can get it for $2, $3 or $4. Great food for $2! Frankly they could easily charge quite a bit more, and make more money. But I’m glad they keep it cheap and good – every Singaporean’s dream!
This photo above shows the food when it’s been flipped over. As you can see there’s no egg at the bottom, so all of the egg is at the crispy top. Notice that the bottom pieces are still nice and white, while the top of the dish, as you can in the other picture is nice and brown. How do you get that?
Meal eaten on Wednesday 18 May 2016 at 7:40am.
Meal shown is the $3 plate, without chilli
Chey Sua Carrot Cake
127 Toa Payoh Lorong 1
#02-30 Toa Payoh West Market and Food Centre
Food will be served at your table. Be prepared to wait – on a weekday, 15 mins at 7am+ and 30 mins at 8am+.