Update: 24 Sep 2020: They now operate from a permenant stall in Woodlands! Address updated below
I am a big fan of Fuzhou Oyster Cakes. I think they are the most delicious snack ever invented and the perfect type of dish for pasar malams (night market), fairs and the like. It really is too bad that it is a fast disappearing dish. I only know of four places selling this in Singapore. They are Maxwell Fuzhou Oyster Cake, Fu Zhou Poh Hwa Oyster Cake, Bugis Street and this Teochew meat puffs which is always on the move with the Pasar Malam.
I have been chasing these Teochew Meat Puffs for a while now. The pasar malam always seem to be located in the western part of Singapore, so when it finally came to Hougang, I quickly made my way down to meet Keith, the Teochew Ah Hia who had the audacity to rename his version of the Fuzhou Oyster Cake as “Teochew Meat Puffs”. By his own admission, the only thing that was Teochew about his dish is that it is being made by a Teochew! (I am also Teochew btw) Boy, if every hawker thought like him, we would have Hokkien Chicken Rice, Cantonese Fishball Kway Teow Mee and Hainan Fried Hokkien Mee! Wait a minute! There really is a Hainan Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee!
What sets his version apart from the others is the amount of minced meat filling in each puff. Compared to the other ones which I have mentioned, his is the most generous with the minced meat filling. It is also the most expensive at $3 each which I feel is still quite justified given the amount of meat in each puff. They come in several flavours including oyster, scallop, prawn and even a vegetable version.
Having tasted the oyster cakes from the four stalls in Singapore, this is my verdict. The one at Maxwell is still the tastiest in my opinion but I always find it a tad too oily. I think that the batter at Fuzhou Poh Hwa Oyster Cake is the best because they add ground soya beans to give it that extra savouriness and the oil is always very clean. The one at Bugis street has a crispy and airy batter but there is not much filling. Teochew Meat Puff gets my vote for having the most generous and delicious filling. 4.5
Teochew meat puffs or Fuzhou oyster cakes, whatever you call them, these are really tasty traditional snacks which I think have great potential for a sexy makeover to appeal to the next generation of Singaporeans. Afterall, tempura, churros, and doughnuts are all super popular, why not oyster cakes?
Update 26 July 2021
Due to the closure of the Pasar Malams during the Covid pandemic, the family have now settled in a permanent stall in Woodlands. I finally managed to meet the founder, Mr Hoo Eng, who started selling the snacks at the Pasar Malam over 30 years ago. When I asked what made the meatpuffs Teochew, he explained that there is seaweed and mushrooms added to the meat filling. Aside from that, it was just that he was Teochew and decided to just call it Teochew Meat Puffs!
The meat puffs are full of ingredients and the crust is super crisp when they are fresh. They are a slightly more expensive than the other stalls, but you do get what you pay for as the amount of filling is more generous that the competition. 4.25/5