Tau Kwa Pau (Bean Curd Pau)is one of those hawker dishes that you don’t readily find anywhere, so it is hard to make a comparison and say which one is the best. It seems to me that all the mediocre ones have left the scene and what’s left are the ones which are relatively good. Now if something is really good, why aren’t there more people cashing in on the opportunity? ie if Tau Kwa Pau is really that good to eat, why aren’t there more Tau Kwa Pau vendors around? It’s like mooncakes. If it’s so shiok, why aren’t they sold all year round like what happened to Bak Changs?
Tau Kwa Pau is a Teochew Nonya dish. Even the stallowners don’t know why. I think it is because Tau Kwa Pau uses Braised Soy Sauce for its flavouring so it is frequently sold by Brasied Duck stalls. This stall however, sells only TKP. The picture above shows the stuffing that they throw on top of the Tau Kwas.
I took this pic for those who, like me, might be curious to know what ingredients actually go into the stuffing. This stall uses 3 types of fish cakes. The normal one on the left, the thin fish strips in the middle and the Spiced fish cake on the right. I know of other stalls which uses braised egg and duck meat as well.
The stuff above is the Shredded Yam cake which has been reshredded and fried till crispy. Don’t ask me why they didn’t just shred raw yam and deep fry it. The beauty of Tau Kwa Pau is in the contrast of tastes and texture that each ingredient brings to the overall experience. So you have the crunchiness of the cucumber, the crispy fish strips and Yam contrasting with the softness of the Tau Kwa and egg, the savoury taste of the Lor and Five Spiced Fish cake with the blandness of the Tau Kua and cucumber.
I think it is a yummy dish to have as a snack. But as I alluded to in my introduction, if Tau Kwa Pau is so die die must try, then surely there will be more stalls all over the island! 4/5 For comparison, there is another famous Tau Kwa Pau stall diagonally opposite the intersection. They had moved from the coffeeshop recently from the coffeeshop on the opposite side of Joo Chiat Road. I tried it once but was unimpressed, though there are people who do rave about it.