Lau Goh Teochew Chye Thow Kway, Since 1906s
Do you know, when we Singaporeans say we want to eat “carrot cake”, majority of the time we meant radish cake in hawker centres instead of the western carrot cake found in bakery shops. The teochews call them “Chai Tow Kway” while the Cantonese calls them “Lo Bo Gao”.
During the olden days, the cantonese would cook the rice mixture with mushrooms, sausages and white radish while the Teochews would fist steam the rice mixture with radish, before frying it with garlic, dark soy sauce and fish sauce.
The earliest appearance of carrot cake is believed to be in Chinatown and Lau Goh is one of the earliest hawker selling teochew style “Chai Tow Kway”. He started selling Carrot Cake from a pushcart along Merchant Road in the 60s. During that time, all the carrot cakes are handmade. Rice is soaked overnight before milling it the next day. But because everything takes alot of time and effort, many hawkers now do not do it anymore.
Unfortunately, Lau Goh has passed away and his third son, Peter Goh continues frying plates and plates of carrot cake for us. Peter and his wife are actually partially deaf so you have to order your carrot cake by pointing to the pictures above.
Peter’s carrot cake is definitely very different from how Lau Goh’s original carrot cake but it has its beauty too. It is sad that they no longer make their own carrot cake. But the preserved radish and fish sauce makes it very delicious.
If you are like me, who cannot decide to have the white or the black version, you can just order this dual carrot cake ($5). They are very generous with eggs. Peter uses vegetable oil instead of lard so his carrot cakes are slightly healthier. The white one is well coated with egg and fried to a crispy texture. The black one, on the other hand, is well coated with black soy sauce. It is interesting that white pepper is sprinkled on my carrot cake too.
Will not specially come back for this but if I am having my meal at Zion, I will definitely have a plate.
Lau Goh Teochew Chye Thow Kway
Address: 70 Zion Road, Stall 26 Zion Riverside Food Centre
Opening hours: Mon to Sat 12pm – 2pm and 7pm – 11pm; Sun 10am – 3pm and 6pm – 11pm.
Closed on Tue.
References: 刘佑珠，菜头粿不分黑白，Lian He Zao Bao, 8 Jan 2006