Makansutra: Don't let the sun go down on Peranakan Khek bakery
Get homemade Nonya goodness before this bakery closes for good on Feb 17
With the Year of the Pig around the corner, the classic adage - "if the old don't go, the new won't come" - comes to mind.
But there is a big twist to that saying, especially when it comes to our local makan heritage.
I am not going to recommend anything new, but I'll go against the grain and talk about a little eatery, Peranakan Khek, that is going to pack up on Feb 17.
We see many fresh-faced hawkers attempting their level best but somehow tripping over for so many reasons - chief of which is visibility and exposure.
Sharon Low opened her little "by appointment only" Nonya bakery in 2016 and made some waves in the foodie scene, with some calling Peranakan Khek the saviour and future of Nonya cakes in Singapore.
With some baking experience, she winged it, tweaking and twisting yet maintaining the old ways .
She does not bake a lot for walk-ins and has limited portions each day. It is best to call or book online to get a slice of the fascinating action on her menu.
We ordered online and most were memorable.
The star was the Pulot Hitam Chiffon Cake ($15 for a cake).
I closed my eyes and focused on the flavour as I bit into a slice, made more complex because I was comparing a cake and the glutinous black rice dessert.
It was on point - the gula melaka shone through and there were fine bits of black rice in the soft fluffy cake.
The Kueh Salat ($2 a slice; from $30 a cake), or kaya glutinous rice cake, was rich but not cloyingly sweet, which I like.
The kaya layer was soft but I would have preferred it softer, to counter the blue butterfly pea flower-tinted (bunga telang) glutinous rice layer.
I also enjoyed the Kueh Kosui ($2 for three) - this version is a cross between the really firm factory-made ones and the uber soft ones local celebrity chef Damian D'Silva makes at his Folklore restaurant. And again, it was easy on the sugar.
The Sugee cake ($22 for a seven-inch loaf) came soft, rich and unctuous. Many aficionados like a lot of almond finely chopped and buried in the cake, but the style here refreshingly has full shards of the nut sitting atop the cake under sugar dust.
Also a standout is the Pandan Mochi Chiffon Cake ($48 a cake). Imagine vintage soft pandan cake with a layer of salted gula melaka mocha (think kueh dodol) lined in between and layered with soft fresh cream and grated coconut.
The burst of flavours and texture in a single bite was outstanding and memorable.
I was sceptical at first of the pumpkin orange Kueh Bulan ($2.50 each), like an ang ku kueh but stuffed with eight treasures like pumpkin seeds, candied melons and melon seeds, inspired by the eight treasures mooncake.
I also liked the Kueh Putugal ($2 each), even though I have never tried it like this - steamed pandan green tapioca fudge with a pisang raja banana inside.
To prolong such sweet pleasures, I suggest you persuade Sharon to rethink closing or ask her to sell from home, because it is a pity this place has to go.
11 Cavan Road, # 01-03 Cavan Suites
Wednesdays to Saturdays, 11am to 6pm, Sundays and public holidays, 11am to 5pm, closed on Mondays and Tuesdays