Soon Yan Carrot Cake – Super Eggy Carrot Cake with Prawns!
Located in the same kopitiam as the famous Hainanese chicken rice balls, Soon Yan Carrot Cake is a hidden gem in Toa Payoh. The uncle manning the stall is friendly and easy-going, and he swiftly churns out plate after plate of pan-fried chai tau kway.
Soon Yan has been opened for 19 years, with the current owner picking up the reins from an elderly couple (the original owners of the stall) who have since retired. Having no prior culinary experience, he only learnt the basics of frying carrot cake from the previous owners in a short time span of 14 hours! Ever since then, it has been a process of trial and error as lao ban attempts to perfect the chai tau kway. Pointing to the signboard, I asked if Soon Yan still sells laksa. The boss chuckled and explained it was difficult managing two very different items, so he decided to forgo the laksa and concentrate on serving delicious carrot cake instead.
Soon Yan does only white carrot cake and, specifically, white carrot cake with prawns. Now, as a carrot cake purist, I thought the addition of prawns was rather gimmicky, but we shall see! The Carrot Cake with Prawn comes in three sizes — small ($3,), medium ($4) and large ($5).
On first impression, Soon Yan’s carrot cake was reminiscent of that from Chey Sua. In terms of structure, both had the same piece-by-piece, pancake-like layers of kueh. They Sua’s is darker due to the sweet chili being buah onto the layers, while Soon Yan’s had a golden hue which reminded me more of an omelette. Indeed, when lao ban delivered the carrot cake, the distinctive eggy fragrance filled the air.
The exterior was reasonably crispy while the insides were extremely soft – in fact, it was a little too nua for me. You definitely get more egg than kueh in every bite, so good news if you prefer a higher egg-to-kueh ratio in your chai tau kway! Soon Yan’s carrot cake was rather well-balanced, and was not too salty or greasy. However, the chai poh taste was almost non-existent.
Flip over the carrot cake and you will find the ‘prawns’ embedded in the ‘pancake’. Actually hor, even though the signboard says prawn, I think ‘shrimp’ would be a more accurate description due to the small size. The prawns tend to fall out easily and if you eat it on its own, it is plain and there’s nothing to shout about. Make sure you kiap the prawn together with the carrot cake! The crunchiness of the prawn complements the soft kueh super well, giving it a very nice mouthfeel. The chili was also not overly spicy, and played a supporting role in enhancing the overall flavour of the carrot cake.
To put it simply, if you like your white carrot cake to be gao gao in eggs, then you should give Soon Yan a try!
Soon Yan Carrot Cake
Address: 111 Lor 1 Toa Payoh, Singapore 310111 Lor 1 Toa Payoh, Singapore 310111
Opening Hours: 6am to 12pm and 12pm to 4pm daily. Opened till night on Tuesday. Closed on Wednesday.
MissTamChiak.com made anonymous visit and paid its own meal at the stall featured here.
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