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Home / Chinese Cuisine / Dunman Road First Delight – Handmade Kuehs
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Dunman Road First Delight – Handmade Kuehs
By Alfred June 30, 2009
Readers' Rating
5.67
(3 rated)
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Editor's Rating
7.50
Overall
Dunman Road First Delight – Handmade Kuehs
Fast Facts
Food:
Chwee Kueh (水粿) Soon Kueh Kueh
Type:
Chinese Cuisine
Setting:
Hawker Centre
Price Range:
S$1 - S$5
Rating Range:
7 to 7.9
Location:
Joo Chiat
Food Centre:
Dunman Food Centre
Recommended For:
Dinner Lunch
Reviewed by:
Alfred

Some of you may be asking – how on earth can something as simple as Chwee Kueh be turned into a franchise business? Well I don’t have the answer but I do know that preserved radish or chai poh is one of those things that can crank up your appetite with an almost immediate effect. So did chai poh or did not chai poh alone elevated Chwee Kueh to become a viable food to be franchised? What do you guys think?

Many believed that Chwee Kueh is a traditional Teochew food because Teochew loves steaming and they used a lot of preserved ingredients like salted seafood or pickled vegetables etc. But yet I wonder whether we can find Chwee Kueh in China because none of my mainland chinese friends have seen this thing back home.

This snack food which is widely eaten by Chinese in Singapore and Malaysia is clearly also not a fusion of any food from any of our neighbours like Thailand, Indonesia or Vietnam. Even so near, distinct similarities in food flavour are none to be found so the chances are going to get slimmer as we venture further north, agree?

Yet this simple food is by no means a pushover. It is one of the local’s all time favourite snack as evidence from the many many stalls that are selling nothing but just Chwee Kueh nowadays. Already we can see a few ‘branded’ Chwee Kuehs doing quite well in the market but long before those ‘branded’ Chwee Kuehs became franchise businesses, I was already eating them from their original outlet on a regular basis.

My family was keen patrons of the old Tiong Bahru market which was very very run down and was famous for two things early in the morning. Lor Mee and Chwee Kueh. We’ve seen how that place grew and been developed into the current modern market it is today. It is a lot better now with multi level parking and the whole place is very well ventilated. Unfortunately the quality of food there is suffering from an identity crisis at the moment with many new stalls opening up trying to sell food that Tiong Bahru market is famous for. So instead of heading to Tiong Bahru for my usual satisfying Lor Mee and Chwee Kueh fix, I instead have to tikam(choose randomly) and choose my breakfast properly in the hope that I’m in luck in that morning.

Any food business being turned into a franchise should be a good thing since it just mean that they’re going to cater to the market needs in a broader context. However after trying a few franchised Chwee Kuehs for a few times, I was left reminiscing the old Tiong Bahru Chwee Kueh’s taste of yesteryears. Franchised Chwee Kueh paled in comparison to it’s originator, to say the least but I know that they’re still doing pretty well and maybe because their Chwee Kueh is still a notch higher than the run of the mill ones you can find in those snacks corner in a kopitiam. But if like me, you’ve tried the really good ones in the old days, you will know the level of deliciousness it can go to, and then you must have opinion about the level that those Chwee Kueh franchisers are giving us now. Taste after all is a relative meter, agree?

Franchised food has the tendency to suffer the standard drop effect due to the repercussion of mass production. And many branded Chwee Kuehs unfortunately is a living example. I’m sure you can also tell the difference if fishballs are made by stall owners or made in a factory right?

First Delight is your typical snack shop except that most of their snacks are still handmade. It is well hidden in a little corner in the Dunman Road Food Centre and I chanced upon it sometime back when I was looking for food there. Fwah! What a find it was to be! It became the only place that I would need to go for my Chwee Kueh fix and I would need to get at least 4 tubs of Chwee Kueh whenever I was there.

If you’re wondering what’s with the plastic tub, here they don’t serve Chwee Kueh in the shape of a small cupcake but from a tub like those holding a lo mai kai. This Chwee Kueh’s texture has that melt-in-your-mouth kind of smoothness that is so different from those chewy and bouncy ones you can find elsewhere. It almost tasted like the softest carrot cake you can find.

Once I ate a spoonful, I need to go on and on and on until it’s empty. Simply shiokadelicious! The chai pohs here are well fried to that familiar fantastic chai poh aroma and it definitely doesn’t taste like those you can find in franchised ones where they’re using a lot of garlic, onions or sesame seeds or some other ingredients to spruce up the taste but yet so very un-chai-poh already.

The Soon Kueh here is also a notch higher than elsewhere. The skin wasn’t too chewy which is to my liking and the flavour of the fillings are pretty kickass with a superb peppery hint if you know what I mean. The occasional dried shrimps and pieces of minced mushroom provided very good balance to the taste. A very expressive Soon Kueh which offers a pungent bite due to it’s freshness.

These remarkably delicious Kuehs that are handmade here have the kind of character that is so often missing and hard to be duplicated in factory produced ones. First Delight is the reason why the missing link will never be missing when we talk about snacks been made in the most authentic form.

Price: 70cent and above

Recommendation: Chwee Kueh and Soon Kueh

Conclusion: The quality is clear here. You’re getting the real stuff with no diluted flavour which is so often found in factory made food. Has that wonderful hint of freshness every single time I ate.

Likes: Fresh and traditional flavour.

Dislikes: Soon Kueh skin can go a little softer.

Address Overall Rating

c1
First Delight 一品佳美食
Dunman Food Centre
271 Onan Rd #01-08
11am – 9pm


Food:
8/10 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 

Value:
8/10 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 

Service:
7/10 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 

Ambience:
7/10 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 

Cleanliness:
7/10 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 

Overall:
7.5/10 ★★★★★★★½☆☆ 


Readers' Comment(s) : 4
Lim Boon Tiong says:

waaa….. their CHWEE KUEY indeed special.
I have never seen such packaging before as I always thought they were prepared in those metal cup shaped stuff.

nowadays those branded franchise CHWEE KUEY really suffer a STANDARD DROP effect.

their Soon Kuehs look good too….. i must give it a try !

Posted July 1, 2009
PH says:

ya, the kueh-kuehs look delicious….

BT, can ta-pao for me too?…. again…

ok, this time I will pay la :)

Posted July 1, 2009
Alfred says:

Yes you gotta try since it’s quite near to your place.

Posted July 1, 2009
yap siang khoon says:

what bus to get there ?

Posted June 25, 2012
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