Singaporean street food : Chai tow kway (fried radish / carrot cake)


Carrot cake? You walk into a Singaporean food court and you’re see signs for carrot cake?  Have I stumbled into the church fête? Actually, Carrot cake doesn’t contain any carrots, and it isn’t a dessert!

The reason for this misnomer is due to the mandarin word for one of the main ingredients, daikon, a type of Asian radish can also be called a ‘white carrot’ local name is chai tow kway, but everywhere I saw it advertised as carrot cake.

In Singaporean food courts it comes in two varieties – Black and white. Black is cooked with soy sauce whilst white is not.

I was intent on trying this strange ‘cake’ and opted for white.

For my $3 I got a lot more than I expected –a previously steamed daikon cake is wok fried with a subtle hit of chilli, spring onions and egg. The egg was just so, coagulated and binding all the other ingredients in place, texturally it’s pretty similar to an omelette, with hints of spice and veg. The cake has a wonderfully naughty texture of crispy bits with a soft middle which flirts dangerously close to mushy.

The carrot cake heart stopper

The carrot cake heart stopper

Whilst it’s got obviously dangerous charm in the arterial blockage stakes & ticks all the boxes for fried nomnoms, I found it a bit less exciting and lacking textural variation after scoffing through about half the plate. Share it with a grease hunting loved one, and have a salad on the side…  

It need not be said that this is to be avoided for anybody who believes in dietary regimes.

You can try carrot cake at just about any food court or hawker centre, it’s not hard to find.


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3 thoughts on “Singaporean street food : Chai tow kway (fried radish / carrot cake)

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