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Home / Chinese Cuisine / Yue Lai Xiang Cheng Tng – Sweeter but is it that good?
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Yue Lai Xiang Cheng Tng – Sweeter but is it that good?
By Alfred August 27, 2009
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Yue Lai Xiang Cheng Tng – Sweeter but is it that good?
Fast Facts
Cheng Teng
Chinese Cuisine
Hawker Centre
Price Range:
S$1 - S$5
Rating Range:
6 to 6.9
Bedok (勿洛)
Food Centre:
Bedok Food Centre(Bedok Corner)
Recommended For:
Reviewed by:

Have you ever wondered why taste of Singapore’s food pales in comparison to Malaysia’s food? I have wondered and come to this conclusion. In Malaysia, authenticity of food gets preserved because the businesses are always passed down through generations. Over there, it is a decent job to be a hawker, especially if you’re living in a kampong and it’s not like you die die must go to the big cities to work unlike Singapore where there is no kampong for you to move to and if you move a bit out of the city, you drop into the sea already! If you live in a kampong and your family has a food business and especially if you are not really a city person because you did not grow up in the city, then it makes all sense to continue the family business right?

It’s also the same reason why authenticity of Singapore’s food had been deteriorating. As we all know, due to our competent government, we have a good education system and so a lot of us have the chance to improve our literacy. In a city environment where there are many more opportunities than say a kampong, it’s no wonder a lot of us are out looking for something more lucrative, and so a lot of food businesses are dying a slow death, with no takeovers and disappearing too is the authenticity. But that doesn’t mean that there are fewer and fewer foodstalls in the market, it’s just that we are having more ’startups’ and these newbies have to start from scratch and food authenticity is something that takes time to build, well imagine that happening in a large scale? So that’s how Singapore’s food is not as delicious as Malaysia’s food, make sense?

When we talk about authentic, then it must be the kind of food that has their own flavour which is something you cannot get anywhere else other than that particular stall. Bedok’s Bak Chor Mee or Changi Villages’ Nasi Lemak is a obvious case of authentic food. So when I was told about this Cheng Tng stall at Bedok Corner being authentic, I was left wondering ‘How much more authentic it can get since Cheng Tng means ‘Clear Soup’ in Mandarin and whether will it be authentic until ‘not that clear’ ?

Yue Lai Xiang Cheng Tng has been around since 1939. This stall sure looks authentic. They still use old kind of signboard with a dull red background instead of those modern ones that has all kind of patterns on it. The long queue is a testament to it’s authenticity, well it looks like it. The price starts from $1.50 and moves up to $3 for the special version. That stroked my curiosity and has me wondering whether should I go for the $3 version since coming all the way here for this, I must try the best of the best right? Alas I didn’t, after looking at their display racks and found that the ingredients aren’t exactly something that can whack my umami hard. I mean things like dried persimmon, white fungus or sago isn’t exactly something that I really like eating and I can imagine my $3 special Cheng Tng coming with loads on it and so immediately my mind rings a “NO! NO! NO!”.

Sago, sweet potato, barley & persimmon.

Cheng Teng.

Mine came and I took my first spoonful. I allowed the Cheng Tng to swim around my mouth so as to feel the level of authenticity in the flavour. Alas it tasted very normal. I found my first spoonful and subsequent spoonfuls tasted so normal that I felt like drinking some syrup water. The more noteworthy thing is that it tasted slightly sweeter than any other Cheng Tng I’ve had. Inside were miscellaneous ingredients you can find in any other Cheng Tng like white fungus, dried barley, gingo nuts, sweet potato, sago, dried longan and extra ingredients were dried persimmon and something else that looked like dried winter melon which was extremely sweet. The sagos were huge though as bland as anything without flavour. The whole bowl is sweeter but that’s about it. This bowl of Cheng Teng seems to thrives on people’s unfathomable inability to tell the difference between shiok food and sweet food. Well at least that looks like it.

Sweet potato and dried winter melon strip.

Dried persimmon.

This stall sure looks authentic but impression is one thing and facts another. This is just another Cheng Tng for me unfortunately. But all is not lost yet though – that is, if you are into preserved sweet stuffs then you might have more faith in this stall. But this definitely doesn’t worth my $2 and this Cheng Tng can be fantastic or shiokadodo to anybody but disappointing for me. Distinct lack of depth in flavour of the soup mean that this isn’t something that’s going to worth my time again. Another bowl of Cheng Tng from somewhere for $1 with ‘upsized’ syrup might just duplicate this.

Price: $1.50 – $3

Recommendation: $1.50 version

Conclusion: Just another Cheng Tng. Did not quite hit the spot for me though the queue was long. I’m half suspecting they’re relying a lot on regular customers. Uses canned ingredients and some of it in the soup are ultra sweet. If you have a sweet tooth, this surely can make you shiok.

Likes: The sweet potato tasted fresh.

Dislikes: Ingredients are too sweet. Soup not enough pandan leaves flavour. Sago tasteless and too big.

Address Overall Rating

Yue Lai Xiang Cheng Tng
Bedok Corner Food Centre Stall 31
Off on Mondays

6/10 ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ 

6/10 ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ 

6/10 ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ 

6/10 ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ 

7/10 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 

6.25/10 ★★★★★★¼☆☆☆ 

Readers' Comment(s) : 10
Jasmine Tan says:

I think I had tried this cheng teng stall before. Is there a famous hokkien mee stall just a few stalls away from this cheng teng stall? To me, cheng teng is cheng teng. The best one is still made by my mummy.

Posted August 28, 2009
bobo says:

This is a teochew style of cheng tng thats why you get persimmon in it.

Posted August 28, 2009
Siew Foo says:

This stall not bad. Traditional.

Posted August 28, 2009
Alfred says:

Yes…there is a hokkien mee stall nearby which has queues too. Ok gotta try your mummy one :P

Posted August 28, 2009
Alfred says:

Now that explains why I didn’t like it. Because I ain’t a teochew :)

Posted August 28, 2009
Alfred says:

ok maybe elders can relate to this stall better.

Posted August 28, 2009
Jasmine Tan says:

I like persimmon…(柿子) and yes.. I am 100% Teochew so I like 柿子.

Posted August 28, 2009
Andrew says:

I don’t like the cube ice…prefer ice kachang kind of ice.

Posted August 28, 2009
Mei says:

It’s the ingredients they use which is fresh. But if you don’t like those preserve ingredients then there’s nothing much to go for.

Posted October 27, 2009
Ming says:

Ya, looks is one thing, taste is so so..

My favourite is still Soon Huat desserts at Hougang Ave 1, blk 105 Market #02-43

the red-tea jelly makes my mouth water everytime just thinking of it..

google Soon huat desserts and you’ll find it.

Posted February 8, 2011
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