Singapore's Best Kueh Pie Tee Top Hats


Singapore’s strong culinary identity features many traditional recipes of the Peranakans, also known as the Straits born Chinese known for their rich Nyonya cuisine—a beautiful blend of Chinese and Malay flavours, featuring chilies, coconut milk dishes and spice in the recipes. The cuisine was never given much attention till most recently becoming a culinary trend – the government devoted a museum to it, there are festivals surrounding it and even at Changi airport upon arrival, international guests are greeted by a pop up Peranakan gallery and tid bits of our cultural history.

The Kueh Pie Tee is a traditional Peranakan (Nyonya) snack, also known as “top hats” as it resembles an inverted hat. The devoted cooks make these crispy flour shells from scratch with a mould which is a mean feat, while most cop out and take the short cut by buying packets of ready made shells to be filled with turnip, ground peanuts, chili, fresh shrimps, shredded omelets and in my mother’s hokkien/Peranakan version lap cheong (sweet Chinese preserved sausage), fried shallots and coriander. There are many variations to the finishing touches of garnish, but the base of the Kueh Pie Tee filling is shredded Chinese turnips (bang Kuang) and carrots. The fillings are similar to their cousin, the poh-piah a type of Chinese spring roll with delicate flour skins lined with minced garlic and a thick red date sweet sauce.

Katong Gloria Catering Located on the East side of Singapore in Katong, the Peranakan enclave, this family run place for generations have cosy interiors and retro tiled floors to add to the charming ambience. Best known for their poh piahs, I actually find they do better Kueh Pie Tees as their poh piahs tend to be dribble with sauce and makes the skin wet and soggy if you let it sit. Instead choose the Kueh pie tee. They have a great repertoire of dishes ranging from curries to lots of coconut milk based desserts. The food here is also halal for those with dietary requirements. 139 East Coast Road. Singapore 428829

Lorna (Formerly Missy’s of Rasa Singapura) While no one seems to be quite sure what “Formerly Missy’s of Rasa Singapura” means or the history of its name, this little stall in Simpang bedok is plastered with magazine and newspaper clippings on how marvelous the Kueh pie tee here is. The lady Lorna is not the friendliest person and things sell out sometimes even before noon. The chili in the poh piah and Kueh Pie Tee is lethal and gives a great spice kick if you like your food spicy. The stall prides itself on fresh fillings—the shells of the Kueh Pie tee always crisp, the fillings hot, prawns crunchy and sweet and the skins of the poh piah fresh and smooth (as opposed to limp and chewy) without giving way to Singapore’s humidity. Simpang Bedok (Stall is directly facing shop n save supermarket)

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