Desserts make us happy (there’s no denying it!) and we all know how much dessert makes our little ones smile too! So why not indulge in some of Singapore’s local delights to quench the heat or as a great introduction to new foods for your little ones? Your tastebuds will thank you!
Bo Bo Char Char
A colourful concoction of tapioca cubes with orange, purple and yellow sweet potato are sure to entice your little ones (who doesn’t love a bit o’ veg hidden in a dessert?). This nyonya classic can be served either hot or cold, although the hot version preserves the taste of the coconut milk better.
Made from basic ingredients such as coconut milk, palm sugar and jelly noodles (made from rice flour with green food colouring) kids will love the sensation of drinking green worm-like jelly. The more adventurous can try the durian-flavored chendol, which is super yummy, if not a bit challenging for tiny tastebuds!
Dou Fu Hua (Tofu Pudding)
A very common and sweet dessert, Doufu Hua as the Chinese call it, appeals to kids and adults alike! It is usually sold with soymilk and you can request for the soymilk to be served together with the pudding. If mamas find this delicious dessert a little too sweet, you can always ask for less sugar syrup. Although it can be served cold, it is best eaten on the same day at room temperature to maintain its smooth texture. Both the soymilk and Doufu Hua are excellent for the scorching heat and humidity of Singapore!
While your kiddos may be deterred from this dessert, encourage them to give it a try… it’s usually served in either syrup or as a beverage. Known as “ching chow” it’s super refreshing with a minty aftertaste, although some may find it a tad bitter. Canned longans are usually served with this dessert and if the stall serves soymilk, you can request for both to be served mixed, so you can enjoy the best of both worlds!
Yam Paste (Orh Nee)
A traditional teochew dessert, Orh Nee means yam paste in Teochew. This dessert is customarily served in most Teochew restaurants and even local wedding dinners. The sticky, oily and delectably sweet puree is a great introduction to yams for little ones. Traditionally served with ginko nuts, which are known to be beneficial for memory, you could also request for coconut milk to drizzled on it as well. Newer versions are often served with pumpkin puree.
While this may not quench thirst per sae, it does provide mamas with some peace and quiet while tiny hands work on dismantling all the layers. Kueh Lapis literally means layer cake in Malay, making this colourful steamed dessert of rice flour and mung bean mixture, a sure hit with most children!
“Cheng Teng” means clear soup and is a sweet soup made from dried longans, barley, ginko nuts, lotus seeds and lily buds. Every stall will have its own version, but you will find basic ingredients such as sweet potatoes, white fungus, jelly strips and red dates in every soup. It is said that this soup has cooling properties so is perfect for beating the heat on our sunny island!
Mango Sago Pomelo
A very popular dessert in most Chinese restaurants, mango sago pomelo is a lovely way to introduce your mini gourmands to exotic local fruits, as well as the sensory experience of eating this yummo sweet. Served as a thick mango puree, with cubes of mangoes and pomelo lurking throughout, kids will love the chewy texture of the tapioca laden sago.
Ice Karchang (Ice beans)
Asia’s version of ice cream, no kid can resist the finely shaved ice mountain heaped on top of a bowl of assorted ingredients, like agar agar jelly, grass jelly, red bean, attap chee and corn. The top of the mountain is drizzled with evaporated or condensed sweetened milk along with rose, green, and gula melaka (palm sugar) syrup. New variations include having durian popped on the top (for exploratory taste buds) or chocolate syrup — a sure winner with the kiddies.
One of Singapore’s most loved desserts, who can deter from an ice-cream sandwich? Not us! You’ll need to keep your wits about you though, as you trawl Orchard Road looking for the mobile ice-cream vendor who makes these sinful sweet treats. With chocolate, vanilla, corn or atap chee flavour available, multi-coloured bread is wrapped around the ice-cream… succumb to the temptation mama – you won’t regret it!
For Adelin, writing has always been a lifestyle. She loves to travel and write and started her career as a travel writer. A self-confessed foodie, Adelin loves travelling around the island discovering new food joints, especially those hidden haunts where she can spend time with her family and friends! A strong believer that every child can be a little gourmand, Adelin gets her little daughter to try every fruit, vegetable and spice she can find. She also has a lovely golden retriever, whom she tries to ensure lives harmoniously with her rambunctious toddler!