Ah Chew Desserts (Food)

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Situated inconspicuously along Liang Seah Street (opposite Bugis Junction), this shop hidden among a row of eateries is a gem. To locate it, just look out for the never-ending queue of people eagerly waiting to have their sugar fix. With yellow menu tags hanging behind the counter, hard ebony wood furniture, and Chinese paintings adorning the store's walls, the décor goes well with the offerings and would remind many of dessert stores found in Hong Kong and Taipei. But the desserts have a local touch, with many of the desserts modified with ice cream or flavours to suit local taste buds.

I would broadly divide the desserts to three main types: the best sellers - Mango Sago and Pomelo; the healthy choices - Hashma boiled in Red Dates Soup, Ginko Barley and Bean Curd Skin which has ‘beautifying qualitites’; and local favourites - Black Sesame Paste, Peanut Paste and Pulot Hitam.

Some of the recommendations include: Rock sugar white fungus with papaya ($2.50), Red bean paste with Lily Bulb ($1.80), Mango Sago and Pomelo ($3.80), Yam with Sago ($2.00), and Fresh Milk Steam Egg with Red Bean ($3.00). Rest assured that the Mango Sago and Pomelo is made of fresh fruits as I have seen the staff cutting the ingredients on the spot. In this variation, a touch of coconut cream is added on top of the usual evaporated milk, giving it fragrance and extra texture. The sweetness of the ripe, juicy mango chunks is complimented by the refreshing, citrus Pomelo pulps that bursts and crunch at every mouthful! It reminded me of the version similar to Hong Kong’s ‘Hui Lau Shan’.

The Fresh Milk Steam Egg is so smooth that it trickles down your throat. You have the option of having it coffee-flavoured, or red bean-flavoured which would give it some bite. Eat it with your eyes closed and let your taste buds do the work.

For local favourites, the Yam and Sago was inspired by the owner after a trip to China. If you can forget about your calorie count, the yam is velvety and tasty, and the coconut milk does not have a sour aftertaste. Pure indulgence.

On the flipside, the very cramped space of the shop itself and the hard furniture can make eating a little comfortable, especially on a hot afternoon. There are also many people waiting for seats, and you feel bad sitting there a while more to savour that last drop of sweetness.

There are few credible dessert stores in Singapore to satisfy sweet cravings. Many provided at foodcourts or places which do not specialize in desserts, often leave you ending up with less than satisfactory experiences - they are either too sweet or do not taste fresh. At Ah Chew, you can be assured of quality desserts you which can match up to counterparts found in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Food: 5/5
Ambiance: 3/5
Service: 3/5
Value: 5/5
Overall: 4.0/5

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