Now you see them, soon you might not. With the influx of competing food businesses from around the world and changing taste preferences, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find some of the uniquely local treats that strongly define Singapore’s food heritage. These are several “critically-endangered” foods that are gradually getting elusive in the country, do try them before they disappear!
Another local favourite made from steamed rice flour is none other than Tu Tu Kueh, which is a relatively small and round flower-shaped rice cake filled with peanuts or grated coconuts and served on a piece of pandan leaf. In order to cater to the taste preference of younger Singaporeans, there are now other fillings to choose from, such as chocolate and brown sugar. Most Tu Tu Kueh sellers today use commercial pre-made rice flour and peanuts that result in a somewhat dry texture. It is getting difficult to find vendors who make the cakes in the traditional and laborious way of manually pounding rice into flour and roasting peanuts.
Also known as Gao Lak in Hokkien, roasted chestnuts are wonderful street snacks that can be eaten on the spot from a paper bag. The unmistakable smell will draw crowds to the giant wok in which the chestnuts are roasted. These days, there are hardly any vendors except those at night markets selling these irresistible source of natural goodness.
Kacang Puteh refers to an assortnment of nuts served in a paper cone. This street snack used to be sold from pushcarts around Singapore, especially outside schools and theatres. Although once commonplace in Singapore, these nibbles are almost on the verge of extinction now, and the only existing stall can be found outside Peace Centre along Selegie Road.
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