Albert Street Markets, Singapore

Steamed sweet cakes (picture above) using grounded glutinous rice flour, golden syrup and brown sugar, are traditionally made to celebrate the Lunar New Year. This traditional concoction is chewy-sticky and best eaten with grated coconut. Referred to as nain gao in Mandarin or tnee kueh in Singapore/Malaysian Fujian dialect, they can be consumed soft or hard, depending on personal preferences. They are steamed on low heat for up to eight hours and so are a product of patience and love. The symbolic act of eating this nian gao is to imply that one elevates one's prospects to a higher level for the new year ahead.

Two street food snacks that caught my eye along Albert Street were the kueh koci (above) and the pancake creation, the ban chien kueh. (below)

Notice that they are all served on strips of banana leaves. The koci is essentially a miniature pyramid-shaped glutinous rice flour wrap filled with sweet peanut paste and/or grated coconut mix, to be served as snacks at teatime. The pancakes below have aromatic roasted peanuts, sesame seeds and corn inside.

The whole spectrum of tropical fruits are on display above, ranging from different types of bananas, yellow and pink-tinged mangoes, hairy skinned red coloured rambutans and brown skinned longans.


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