Ang Ku Kueh is from the Hokkien dialect, which also has the translation of Red Tortoise Shell Pastry. It has a glutinous rice pastry shell which has different fillings, rolled into a ball before pressing it into a mould to take the shape of the mould, and placing it onto a carefully trimmed sliced of banana leave. These beautiful pieces have be arranged carefully. You do not stack them – otherwise the intricate mouldings will be gone after they have being steamed. Traditionally, this pastry is consumed or given out to friends and relatives when they announce a new born baby. In this case it would not be in the shape of a tortoise shell, but will be in the shape of a cone for a boy and a flat top for a girl.
This mould has the Chinese characters “吉祥“ Ji Xiang, which is the name of the company. But it also means lucky and auspicious. This delicate pastry can be found easily in Singapore. However, the ang ku kueh by Ji Xiang is handmade daily. They have several fillings – Sweet Bean (the most traditional and popular filling), Peanut, Salted Bean, Coconut, Corn and Yam. When I was visiting, it was near the period of Qing Ming (Tomb Sweeping Festival), and because it was the weekend they only produced Sweet Bean and Peanut as they are in high demand. Ang Ku Kueh is also one of the pastries along with many traditional Qing Ming food items which people will bring along when they visit the tombs/ graves during the period.
The Sweet Bean paste is made from mung bean, which if it were to be soaked for too long its flavours and nutrition will be lost. It has a smooth texture when it is softened and mashed. I find that Sweet Bean paste is the best match to the soft and chewy glutinous shell, which doesn’t have any distinctive flavours on its own, allowing the full glory of the flavours of the bean aroma to come through with every bite. I have also tried the peanut paste, which is like a crunchy peanut butter spread wrapped inside the glutinous rice shell. Peanut paste can pretty much hold its own, therefore it felt a little disconnection as you bite through the pastry.
I will update more flavours when I have the chance to visit them again.
Each kueh cost about S$0.70 depends on the flavor, there are no minimum number of pieces you have to purchase, but only take-aways.
Contact: Ji Xiang Confectionary – 1 Everton Park, #01-33 (Near Cantoment Road) Singapore 081001. Ph. +65 6223 1631. Facebook.
Mon-Sat 8am-5pm (Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays).
Wei Teng has enjoyed food from a young age, as a Singaporean she is exposed to food from the region and across different Asian cultures. She loves traveling and is constantly hungry for food, exploring what each country she visits has to offer with their local ingredients, and culturally infused preparation of food. She is a regular contributor to Sharking for Chips and Drinks check out some of her work on https://tdrawerfieldnotes.wordpress.com/ and https://instagram.com/tdrawer/