Gems Harvest – A Blast From the Past in the Form of Wah Kueh

Sheila Hong
Sheila Hong
April 25, 2021

One of many traditional breakfast favourites in Singapore is wah kueh, which means ‘bowl cake’ in Hokkien. Not to be confused with chwee kueh (which is Teochew, by the way), wah kueh is becoming one of those dishes that are slowly disappearing from hawker centres. Thankfully, I found a stall in Telok Blangah Crescent Food Centre that still serves this nostalgic snack. 


Shaped like a big rice pudding, the bowl cake ($1.50) was steaming hot, drenched in a savoury brown sauce and finished off with a dollop of minced garlic. After watching it delightfully jiggle for a while, I dug in and my spoon smoothly glided through the soft kueh


It was my first time eating wah kueh and, to me, it almost tasted like a giant chwee kueh — bouncy but way softer in texture. It was a whole new experience for sure, especially when the sauce was taken into account. The uncle running the stall shared that when he was first putting together his sauce, he aimed for a percentage of 80% savouriness, 20% sweetness. 

For me, it was more 65% savoury and 35% sweet instead so I was a little disappointed. But it wasn’t boring in the least because there were bits of mushroom mixed in with the sauce and the tiny mound of garlic shouldn’t be underestimated — it was POTENT (in a good way). On the bright side, it wasn’t as sweet as chee cheong fun’s dark sauce, which I can’t say the same for the next item I tried. 


The pumpkin cake ($2) certainly looked enticing, painted with dark sauce that made for a nice contrast with the pale yellow kueh, and adorned with a sprinkling of fried shallots and green onion. 


The thick sweet sauce was very much like the type you eat with chee cheong fun. As for the pumpkin cake, it was studded with hae bee (dried shrimp). It would have been nice to find shiitake mushrooms as well; no wonder I felt something was missing. 


As if I hadn’t had my fill of carbs, I also decided to get the glutinous rice ($1.50/2). I love glutinous rice, but lately I’ve been eating the pre-made ones that some dim sum places bulk-order or DIY-ing by sticking it into a microwave. You have no idea how happy i was to see Gems Harvest’s hand-made one simmering away in a pot at the counter. 


The rice, which was evenly coated in the soy sauce mixture it was cooked in, was flavourful. Texture-wise, it was a little on the mushier side; I would have preferred the grains to be firmer, more whole, and a tad more separated. Also, they could have been more generous with the mushrooms but overall, it was still a nice change from my microwaved ones. Remember to mix it up with the chilli!


I was actually gunning for the yam cake ($1.50/2) too but unfortunately it was sold out. Guess I know what I’ll be getting the next time I’m in Telok Blangah! Anyway, Gems Harvest is a pretty good breakfast haunt, especially for folks who enjoy old-school breakfast items.

Gems Harvest

Address: Telok Bangah Crescent Food Centre, 11 Telok Blangah Crescent, #01-86, Singapore 090011

Area: Telok Blangah

Opening Hours: 6.30am to 4pm daily. made an anonymous visit and paid its own meal at the stall featured here.

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