Photo: Julia Khoo
Although white carrot cake is the original version, the black version is equally irresistible. The addition of black sweet sauce gives the dish a whole new dimension–moist, sticky, sweet, and savoury. When done well, it’s utterly addictive. Everyone has their favourite stall when it comes to black carrot cake. We narrow down to five popular stalls and compare them in this taste-test. Read on to find out our picks for best black carrot cake!
CRITIC’S PICK Fu Ming Shu Shi
Seeing balls of flame engulfing the pan, we knew we were in for the ultimate fried carrot cake experience. Indeed, every mouthful of our fried carrot cake was heaving with wok breath. The sheer intensity of that wok aroma blew us away. Of course, this carrot cake wouldn’t be as memorable if not for the excellent homemade rice cakes (or kway). This gorgeous kway—delicately silky and melt-in-the-mouth—is simply in a class of its own. Fried like an egg pancake with slightly crispy parts, the rice cakes are robustly seasoned with dark, caramelised sweet sauce. Those of us with lighter palates feel it’s slightly too heavy-handed, which is the only reason why this stall did not get a perfect score. Though intense in flavour, we didn’t get that thirsty MSG after-effect. The dish is scantily scattered with chai poh, but we hardly noticed this as the other components are outstanding enough.
Fu Ming Shu Shi| Address: 85 Redhill Lane, #01-49 Redhill Food Centre | Opening hours: Mon-Sat: 3pm-1am, Sun: 6am-1am, closed on ad-hoc basis | Price: from $2.00 |
Moist, slick and well-seared, Guan Kee’s fried carrot cake is sinfully scrumptious. The cornerstone of this guilty pleasure is an excellent steamed rice cake. Smooth, melt-in-the-mouth and lightly bouncy, the rice cake has bits of shredded carrot in it. The finely-cubed cakes are slightly charred on the edges, giving off a lovely wok aroma. Evenly and generously coated with a good quality black sweet sauce, the effect is sweetish without being sugary. There isn’t much chai poh, but the sauce and rice cake are tasty enough on their own. Also, there isn’t much egg, as the focus seems to be the kway and sauce. We love how that the dish is deliciously smooth and moist, although this means it leans towards the oily side. But for this guilty pleasure, we’d gladly run an extra lap around the track
Guan Kee Fried Carrot Cake | Address: 270 Queen Street, #01-59 Albert Centre Food Centre | Opening hours: Tue-Sun: 7am-2.30pm | Price: from $2.50
Heng Carrot Cake
Heng Carrot Cake is another one of those rare hawkers who still make their own rice cake. Neither too firm nor too soft, the gently-seared kueh has gorgeous texture with a whiff of wok breath. Like their white carrot cake, we were impressed by how the black version is relatively grease-free. This is largely due to the use of vegetable oil instead of lard. Yet, this doesn’t compromise on the flavour of the dish. The seasoning is a masterful balance of savoury and sweet flavours. Though delicious, we feel that Heng’s white carrot cake is more memorable than their black version. Portions are comparatively small for the price, but to be fair, food prices at this location are notoriously expensive by hawker standards.
Heng Carrot Cake | Address: 500 Clemenceau Ave North, #01-28 Newton Food Centre | Opening hours: Wed-Mon: 6pm-1.30am | Price: from $3.00
Le Yi Shi Fried Carrot Cake
Operated by two grannies, Le Yi Shi Fried Carrot Cake has been in this food centre for more than 30 years. Old-school and homely in style, their fried carrot is light on sauce and oil. Cut into thick, chunky rectangles, the rice cakes are slowly fried so that every side is browned. Although nicely seared, the kueh lacks sufficient wok fragrance. Also, the factory-supplied rice cake is rather firm and bland. On the upside, there’s plenty of fried garlic, crunchy chai poh and spring onion. These ingredients drive up the fragrance and flavour quotient, as when it is had with a glass of Coke zero. We prefer the spicy version. The non-spicy version is just flatly sweet, whereas the spicy version is more savoury and complex.
Le Yi Shi Fried Carrot Cake | Address: 93 Toa Payoh Lorong 4, #01-38 Toa Payoh Lorong 4 Hawker Centre | Opening hours: Tue-Sun: 5am-1.30pm | Price: from $2.00
Song Zhou Carrot Cake
Depending on who’s frying the carrot cake, standards here can be rather yo-yo. When done right, the black carrot cake is deliciously wet and sweet, with aromatic charred edges. But on another occasion, the dish was overly sweet, clumpy, with burnt bits that stuck to the teeth. Actually, they use a good rice cake that’s evenly smooth and sufficiently soft. We like how the dish is sinfully slick with oil and moist with sauce. However, the black sweet sauce is too cloying. Also, it’s rather heavy with MSG, as we felt exceedingly thirsty after the taste test. They could also use more chai poh to add texture to the dish.
Song Zhou Carrot Cake | 207 New Upper Changi Road, #01-18 Bedok Interchange Food Centre | Opening hours: Mon-Sat: 6.30am-8pm | Price: from $2.50
Food writer Julia Khoo has been a regular contributor to inSing.com since its launch in 2009. Her obsession for writing and photographing all things epicurean is lovingly documented in her long-running food blog, AromaCookery, making her one of the most established food bloggers in Singapore.