Tiong Bahru Lien Fa Crystal Dumpling (聯發水晶包)

This local food is perhaps the least celebrated and yet requires great skills to make. In fact, you can hardly find Teochew crystal dumplings in most hawker centers in Singapore. And those that do sell pales in comparison with the ones that these brothers has been making for at least 40 over years.

I have to admit that is not everyone’s favorite, mostly because of the texture of the chewy skin. But I have been eating them for the last 30 years, since they were in Tiong Bahru market beside the ever famous porridge stall, and the tastes and texture has not changed a bit. They are probably the last generation of their kind to make these and its a bit sad to see this one go into history in Singapore.

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The dumplings comes in 3 variety: one with salty fillings and two with sweet fillings. I remember in their hay days that the sweet yam paste filling would be the most popular and impossible to get if you are late. The skin is what makes this different from other traditional food. Its quite chewy, but not soggy and doesn’t stick to your teeth. It takes some effort to chew them but that’s where the fun of eating such items come from.

The salty fillings are general strips of fried turnips with a strong hint of dried shrimps. It has a great umami flavor from the dried shrimps and the turnips are cooked just crispy enough and not too soggy.

The sweet yam paste is very smooth and texture is very fine, best of all it doesn’t stick to your teeth and its not too sweet. It takes great skills to make them like this.

The sweet red bean paste is also very smooth and has a fine texture and sweetness just right.

I would suggest to try eating the sweet dumplings with their homemade chilly paste. Its a best of both worlds in your mouth with umami salty chilly paste together with sweet smooth yam or sweet bean pastes. This is how I have been eating them since young.

The stall is now at Alexandra Village Hawker Food Center at #01-10

 

 

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