Unlike carrot cake, which can be found in many hawker centres, carrot cake sticks are a rarity. Whether slender or squarish, these delicious deep-fried bites (crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside) are a treat for both kids and adults.
Mainly of radish, rice flour and salt, each radish cake block is cut into strips, which are deep-fried, then served piping hot. Carrot cake sticks are like the Singaporean answer to the French fry. And they taste great with chili sauce, too.
Chai Chee Cai Tou Guo
Located in Bedok North Street 1 Market, the stall sells only three varieties of food — yam cakes, carrot cake pieces, and carrot cake strips. The constant line of customers is testament to how good these are.
Blocks of radish cakes are first cut using a hand-crank machine that is (according to a stall employee) nearly 60 years old. The strips are then neatly assembled on a large metal grill before they’re fried for about two minutes.
The result is a crunchy carrot cake stick that’s surprisingly soft and tender on the inside. This stall is notable for producing carrot cake sticks with a crisp, golden-brown exterior, and are not overly oily. The cost? Just $2 for 12 pieces.
Where: #01-55, Blk 216 Bedok North Street 1 Market and Food Centre. Open every day from 6am to around 12pm (or until sold out).
103 Delicious Kueh & Cakes (Vegetarian)
This stall started over 60 years ago as a pushcart business that offered traditional homemade delicacies in Tanjong Pagar. In the 1990s, the owner — who only wanted to be known as Mr Chan — took over the business after his father passed away.
It serves up only vegetarian items, such as ondeh ondeh, kueh lapis, ang ku kueh, and of course, carrot cake sticks ($1 for seven perfectly fried sticks).
Where some carrot cake dishes don’t feature a strong flavour of radish, it’s not the case here. The delicate radish taste coupled with a slight exterior crunch promises that you’ll be hooked from first bite.
Where: North Bridge Road Market and Food Centre #01-103. Open every day from 3am to around 1 pm (or until sold out).
Big on crunch? This vegetarian stall at Sims Place is for you. Mr Ng Ah Hock, who turns 62 this year, has been running the stall with his wife for more than 20 years.
All the delicacies here — like spring rolls and tiny pancakes — are fried only in vegetable oil. Here, carrot cake comes in different shapes and sizes, from mini-rectangles to carrot cake sticks. Each stick is hand-cut from a block that’s sourced from a supplier.
The rectangular ones ($1 for 4 pieces) are easily devoured in two bites. The carrot cake sticks, at $1 for 10 sticks, are a toothsome treat with a super-crispy exterior that gives way to a soft, tender core with a hint of savoury radish flavour. The contrast of textures leaves you wanting more.
Where: #01-69 Sims Vista Market & Food Centre. Open from 4am to around 1pm (or until sold out). Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Tian Cheng Food
“Every item we sell here is homemade,” says stall owner Susan Yeo, who’s been running the stall together with her husband since the 1960s. Their experience shows — these sticks are charmingly chubby, and perhaps more importantly, made from scratch.
Madam Yeo, 67, makes the dough herself, combining rice flour and radish and leaving it to settle into a sticky block. The sticks are hand-cut and fried, producing a carrot cake stick with a soft, delightfully chewy consistency. You pay $2 for 10 carrot cake sticks. However, these are strictly a weekend treat, as they’re unavailable on week days.
Where: #02-42 Tiong Bahru Market. Open every day from 8am to around 12pm (or until sold out). Carrot cake sticks are sold only on weekends, from around 9am.
Dong Jin Yuan Dian Xin
Lines are long for its carrot cake sticks, which are affectionately referred to as “carrot fingers”. The sticks are fried in small batches, and go for $2 for 12 fingers (with a minimum order of $2).
The stall owner, who only wanted to be known as Mrs Neo, reveals that some regular customers have been eating these carrot fingers for some 30 years, and now come with their own children. Each carrot finger is fried to crispy perfection, and there’s a flavourful, slightly sweet taste of radish that lingers on the tongue.
Where: #02-04 Hougang 105 Hainanese Village Centre. Open from 4am to 11am on Thursdays and Fridays, and 4am to 12.30pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Closed from Monday to Wednesday.
Deep Fried Carrot Cake
In the bustling Whampoa Market is a stall with a name that proudly proclaims its wares. The stall owner, Mr Lim, has been keeping busy for the past 21 years. He runs the stall alone — which means he does all the machine-cutting, frying, packing, and washing up himself.
Each carrot cake stick has a distinct crunch. Priced at $2 for 14 sticks and $3 for 21 sticks, these goodies tend to run out very quickly so be sure to come early.
Where: #01-36, Block 90 Whampoa Market. Open every day from 6.30am to around 10am (or until sold out). Closed on the 1st and 15th day of every month of the lunar calendar.