I didn't grow up in HDB flats, but neither did I grow up in condominiums or private houses. I grew up in now-demolished shop houses, where there was an old uncle who sold hand-made kuehs and only gave me, and not other kids, his freshly made kueh lapi (九层糕) for free. Till now, it was the best I've had in my life.
Although shops selling hand-made kuehs are dwindling in Singapore, I am glad to learn about Lek Lim Confectionery, a shop at Bedok which has been selling handmade kuehs since 1968.
The place started from Changi South and moved to Bedok in 1987. From a humble shop selling Ang Ku Kueh, Lek Lim has expanded to nyonya kueh, Chinese kueh and the latest addition is the deep-fried yam cake.
What is special about Lek Lim is that there is No Eggs, No Meat in their Nyonya kueh and suitable for VEGANS. It is also Halal-certified.
Do you know that a piece of kueh which we finish off easily in a bite takes a long process to make? While everyone is asleep, this machine starts churning Gula Melaka(palm sugar) and grated coconut as early as 4am to produce the key filling for various kuehs.
The various ingredients such as the rice filling, ku chai(chives), soon kueh filling involves a lot of advance preparation, from cutting, stir frying to cooling.
In Hokkien tradition, the shape of Ang Ku Kueh indicates the sex of the first-month baby; the pointed one is a boy and the flatter one is a girl.
During this invited kueh-making session, we had a lot of fun as we do not have to follow the typical way of pairing which dough to certain filling. So we just randomly mix and match. We even wanted to stuff two fillings into one kueh! Though the outcome was not pretty, it made us realized that the perfect kueh is a matter of skills and experience.
And hence the experienced staff could churn out rice kueh and pulut inti (glutinous rice made from blue pea flower coloring, topped with fragrant grated brown sugar coconut ) faster than the speed of light!
Some of the steamed kueh resting on the trays include (from top left clockwise) steamed yam cake mixed with fresh bits of yam, kueh salat, kueh kao swee and ondeh ondeh without the coconut coating. All except for the yam cake ($0.80/piece) are priced at $1.20/pkt.
Besides ang ku kueh (green bean and coconut version), I like the kueh dadar which was bursting of aromatic, moist coconut filling in a thin pandan crepe. The Kueh Ambon is also surprisingly delectable and chewy.
|From Left Clockwise : Beng Kueh ( Rice Kueh) / Ku Chye Kueh ( Chives Kueh)/ Soon Kueh|
If you like deep fried food, there is also (from top left clockwise) the yam cake, spring roll, curry puff and sardine puff. I had not tried the steamed version, I particularly enjoyed the crisp brown coating of the yam cake, which could not conceal its alluring fragrance when it was sitting in the package!
Lek Lim is a place that serves honest hand-made kuehs that can easily beat any of the factory-made kuehs we often find in the neighbourhood or shopping malls. I am not a kueh-expert so I cannot claim that the kuehs here are the best. For the best taste of the savoury kueh and even some of the sweet kuehs, it might be good to reheat them before consuming.
While I have been fascinated with western pastries these few years, I am glad that my love for kuehs has not wavered. They were not just desserts or snacks, but my breakfast before I head to school. If you have not try any of the kuehs here, why not pay a trip down to this shop to buy some to share with your friends and family? You can even order online and Lek Lim will deliver to you!
Thanks to Gavan and family for the invite to this food-making session
Lek Lim Nonya Cake Confectionery
Blk 84, Bedok North Street 4, #01-21 ( Nearest MRT: Bedok / Tanah Merah)
Tel: 64490815 Fax: 64424958