The Singaporean's Carrot Cake (Chai Tow Kway)
First of all, this carrot cake does not contain carrots.
Hearing the word "carrot cake" might give you an idea that this recipe is made of carrots or is a cake. Oh, but you're wrong. The whole dish doesn't have any carrots but rather, radish. And the "cake" might sound like a dessert to you, but it isn't. It's more like buchimgae (Korean pancake), than it is a pastry.
Well, definitely the name is misleading but the dish is satisfying. No wonder that you will find this dish served in almost every hawker or food court in Singapore.
Radishes (daikon in Chinese) are also called as white carrots, due to their similar appearance to the Western carrots.
The main ingredients are radish, rice flour, eggs, garlic, onions, and occasionally added with dried or fresh shrimps.
But how did carrot cake become this popular?
Carrot cake is a healthy meal that is served on the plate and is one of the most common local street food. When you buy, uncle or auntie will ask you to choose between two options: White or Black Fried Carrot cake.
The only thing that makes these two different is the soy sauce that is added (that gives a dark or blackish color) to the Black Fried Carrot Cake and light soy sauce for the other one.
This dish originated from Chaosan area, Guangdong, Southern China. The Teochews immigrants introduced fried rice cake (char kueh) in the 1950's.
According to the Singapore's Infopedia, "Teochew hawker Ng Soik Theng claims to be the first to have called this dish chai tow kway (fried carrot cake) in the 1960s when she added radish to it.Another hawker, Lau Goh, claims to be one of the pioneers who converted the dark carrot cake into a white version".
If you want to try this food right away, you can order them from your nearest hawker centre or food court. Personally, I suggest trying both black and white variants.