Traditional Tau Suan from Dessert Hut
Tau Suan (Split Mung Bean Dessert with a porridge-like consistency) has been one of my favourite local desserts ever since I was a child but in the last 8 years, I hardly ate it, largely because the versions sold at most hawker stalls or foodcourts are but a shadow of this humble dessert's tasty past.
For over a decade, I have been lamenting to friends that the quality of hawker fare has been declining and it often feels as if the newer generation of hawkers are no longer proud of their food but simply sell what is easiest to prepare with the largest profit margin, often with factory-produced foodstuff. Gone are the days when I grew up remembering hawkers (at least the ones who left an impression) preparing their food with utmost pride and dedication. They often cooked from scratch. I guess its harder for hawkers to stay viable these days with very high rental, ingredient and energy costs to deal with, hence the quicker and easier methods.
Thankfully, there is still a sliver of tradition that can still be found in the Tau Suan sold at Dessert Hut. Although the desserts are factory-produced, the flavour of the Tau Suan served here is the closest to what I grew up eating. They have delicious Almond Cream Desserts, Glutinous Rice Balls, Barley Gingko and Black Glutinous Rice (Pulot Hitam) desserts but my all-time favourite dessert is "Tau Suan".Tau Suan @ S$1.70 Mung Bean Dessert
I like Dessert Hut's Tau Suan because it is not excessively starchy nor sweet and has a decent quantity of beans in the pandan-infused syrup. The surface of the beans have a slight bite to them but when bitten into, gives way to a soft interior. They are also fairly generous with their topping of sliced Yew Char Kway (dough fritters). The Yew Char Kway is worth a mention because they are not overly fried (ie. dry and hard) but are still fairly fluffy and most importantly, do not have a rancid flavour (a sourish tang that is sometimes found in Yew Char Kway that has been fried in oil that has been reused too many times). This is a Must-Try!
Some places put so much starch to thicken the dessert that the end result is a globby mass that is both unappealing to the eye and weighs too heavily on the stomach. Others put so little beans into the dessert that you get 25% beans and 75% starch, how very unsatisfying because the point of the dessert is to get a slight bite from the beans along with the sweetness of the syrup. Speaking of sweet, most of the versions I've tried in recent years are cloyingly sweet. I also find that the hawkers are often very miserly with the Yew Char Kway topping, which is essential to add a savoury and chewy profile to the dessert.
I remember how disappointed I was with a bowl of Tau Suan that I ate some months back at Tiong Bahru Hawker Centre, which I felt was possibly the worst bowl I ever had in a few years. It was very starchy, too sweet, had too little beans and not very fresh Yew Char Kway.
Till I find the next best alternative, Dessert Hut has my heart for Tau Suan.
Dessert Hut Branches1) #02-48/58 People's Park Centre, 101 Upper Cross Street, Singapore 058357 Tel: +65 6533-1137 2) #01-06 The Arcade, 11 Collyer Quay, Singapore 049317 * Tel: +65 6222-0067 3) #01-36 Tanjong Pagar Plaza, 3 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 081003 Tel: +65 6222-3010 4) #01-12 Plaza 8, 1 Changi Business Park Crescent, Singapore 486025 * Tel: +65 6786-1195
Operating Hours: Daily from 11am to 7pm
*I think these branches may be closed on Sundays, so do call ahead before heading down.