Street food is gastronomic magic that opens gates to understand people and cultures. Just like I shared way back in the Paddy’s Market (Sydney) post, I remember hearing a travel show host mention that the best way to discover a destination’s essence is by visiting its local markets. I think that sentiment extends to local food in general – including food stalls.
I was intrigued with Netflix’s show Street Food when it premiered a few months ago, and naturally picked the Singapore-themed episode to watch before the rest. I’m so glad I chose to watch it because I was intrigued with the behind-the-scenes snippets of each stallholders’ days and their stories on the beginnings of their culinary journeys.
Although all of the vendors featured in the show were completely new to me, one of them looked vaguely familiar. I had a feeling that I’d seen Traditional Haig Road Putu Piring’s logo before, but couldn’t put my finger on where it was. It took me a few minutes to realise that a putu piring (steamed rice cake) place with the trademark green logo opened a food stall not too long ago at the underpass of a shopping centre that links the train station and the mall.
I’ve passed by countless times before and it looks popular. They usually have customers who’re eagerly waiting to collect their orders while enjoying themselves by spectating the art of preparing the putu piring displayed next to the cash register. Plus, it has been featured as a Michelin-recommended establishment. The heritage behind this stall and the owner’s backstory (a local culinary #girlboss in my opinion) is fascinating.
With a peaked curiosity from watching the show, I visited this outlet once before to have a taste of their famed putu piring. This time, I felt like visiting it again – and I’m sharing my experience on the blog!
The beauty of an open-concept food stall is regardless of whether it’s your first or hundredth visit, admiring the cooking process never gets old. Plus, everything is freshly made to order, hence being cooked on-the-spot and right in front of you. The jovial staff were enjoying the cooking process too, which was fun to watch. It’s always wonderful to meet people who possess a shared love of food and enjoy what they’re doing!
Putu piring is a sweet snack that’s native to Southeast Asia. It comprises of rice/glutinous rice flour. The flour mixture coats its filling, which is stuffed into the mixture. The most accurate description I can think of is it’s a steamed pancake with fillings, most usually palm sugar. After that, it’s steamed in the metal contraptions (I reckon they’re stainless steel), and served with a pandan leaf at the bottom – which isn’t edible but adds a pop of colour and fragrance.
The fillings soften and ooze into the ‘batter’ while it’s steamed, which gives it a deliciously flavourful experience in every bite. To top things off, grated coconut is added on the side. Coconut and palm sugar are a match made in heaven, which is why most of my favourite Asian sweets comprise of a combination of both ingredients! Each box includes of 4 pieces of putu piring at S$3.50 in total for the original palm sugar ones.
Traditional Haig Road’s putu piring was soft and delicate. The base wasn’t sweet at all, so the palm sugar added a dimension of sweetness and flavour without making it overwhelming. The putu piring was perfect for teatime! I enjoyed my putu piring with a cup of green tea. If you’re in Singapore, you could visit any of the Traditional Haig Road locations to grab a snack for a Southeast Asian touch to teatime.
There are variations to their fillings at the Northpoint City location, apart from the traditional palm sugar filling – there’s chocolate, and even durian (which I’ll be documenting in a post coming soon!) fillings available at this outlet.