Come visit a stall in Newtown Food Centre that is as old as the place itself – 39 years to be exact! This week, Dr Leslie Tay takes you to one that sells good carrot cake aka Chay Tow Kway…But be warned, heritage hawkers as Heng Carrot Cake are fast disappearing so you better come try it before it’s gone.
Many people regard Newton Food Centre as a place where tourists flock to for a taste of Singapore food. In recent years, there has been some bad publicity surrounding the Food Centre, such as over-priced prawn charged to a tourist and the long-standing touting problem. The place does indeed have Singapore's greatest concentration of BBQ seafood stalls which I guess is because, with so many tourists, the hawkers want to cash in on high priced items. However it’s unfair to say that all the hawkers there are out to make a quick buck from the tourists. In fact, I think the hawkers there know that they still have to cater to the locals in order to survive, especially those that are selling the less touristy items.
Now, if you are one of those who shun Newton Food Centre then you might just be missing out on this carrot cake which is surprisingly quite good. This stall is more than just a place selling carrot cake. It has a rich history since it has been there since Newton Food Centre was first built in 1971 and the owners are still steaming their own carrot cake because they insist that home-made carrot cake simply tastes better.
Their efforts were quite evident especially in the cooking of the white carrot cake. The texture was just nice. It was softer and more "wobbly" than the factory-made version and you could actually see the strips of radish in it. It was fried till crispy on the outside but moist and soft on the inside and was indeed very tasty. I wouldn’t say it was the best carrot cake I have ever tasted, since they avoid the use of yummy lard, but it certainly does rank up there with the very best. The black version was also very good and they managed to fry it till it was nice and caramalized. This might be one of the rare occasions where I find that both the white and black versions were just as good.
So if you want a taste of more than just good carrot cake but also a true blue heritage hawker stall, go visit the stall. Best of all, it was reasonably priced and is certainly one stall which I would go to Newton Food Centre for.
Newton Food Centre, Stall 28, 500 Clemenceau Ave North
Opening hours: evenings from 6pm onwards