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In Chinese it’s called 水粿, which is “water cake” translated directly. The batter, made from a mixture of rice, wheat and cornflour with of course water, releases water when heated (thus the name), and in the process creates a depression in the middle which gives the signature naked look. Jian Bo’s kuehs have a lovely mild translucence to it, and are so soft that it breaks apart when you lift too big a piece with the bamboo picks.
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The cai po taste best when fried with garlic, shallots, sesame seeds and dried shrimp, and the fragrant hint of the latter is probably what draws the Tiong Bahru hawker crowd. I love my chwee kueh with heaps of cai po, never mind the oil that drains off eventually… I usually try to scrape it aside 😬
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It’s not a common dish at hawker centres these days, so I’m really happy to be able to feast on this for the #BurppleTiongBahruMarket assignment! Look out for #Burpple’s next #BurppleTastemakerSGuides coming soon 😉

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