Chey Sua Carrot Cake Stall Owners Serve Handmade Chai Tow Kway At $2.50
As you step into bustling food courts, thinking about savouring your favourite plate of carrot cake, you may suddenly find yourself having to grapple with the fact that it’s $0.50 more expensive.
Which is why we think that old-school stalls like Chey Sua Carrot Cake are a rare breed that has successfully bucked this trend.
Despite being highly popular, they’ve maintained their prices between $2 to $4 for decades. Open every Tuesday to Sunday, this store starts business at 6.30am and is always sold out by 2pm.
Serves only white carrot cake at $2.50
According to Lianhe Zaobao, Chey Sua Carrot Cake in Toa Payoh is managed by 2 sisters — Ms Shirley Tay, 61 and Ms Grace Tay, 55.
The sisters have taken over their father’s carrot cake stall since 1991.
And up till today, many things remain unchanged — down to the signboard that their father put up since business started 69 years ago.
Their age-old recipe has won the palates of many Singaporeans, including food aficionados behind the Michelin Food Guide — an iconic dining guide to noteworthy meals around the world.
What sets Chey Sua Carrot Cake apart from other stalls is that they only serve white chai tow kway. The dish is usually sold in ‘white’ or ‘black’ varieties.
Humble beginnings as a pushcart stall in 1950
Back in 1950, parents of the Tay sisters began their pushcart carrot cake business at Serangoon Gardens. In 1972, the family relocated to Zhong Zhong Cooked Food Centre.
By 1973, they had moved to their current location at Toa Payoh Lorong 1 Food Centre.
To stay true to the roots of this 69-year-old stall, the Tay sisters still keep to traditional preparation methods — carrot cake handmade from scratch, served with a special chilli sauce.
Crispy on the outside while soft on the inside, this carrot cake has amassed a loyal following of diners who keep coming back for more — especially for the affordable price of $2 per plate.
The sisters claim that neighbouring carrot cake stalls often told them not to ‘spoil market’, as they were the only stall that maintained its prices over the years.
But when the hawker centre had to be refurbished, the sisters increased their prices to $2.50. To mitigate the price hike, the sisters also increased the portions accordingly.
Perfected frying technique thanks to their father
Ms Shirley describes their father as a perfectionist who fried every plate of carrot cake “beautifully”.
Having grown up with his mindset as a steady influence, they have been trained to only serve ‘beautifully fried’ carrot cake as well.
She then recalled a customer who placed an advance order of 30 packs of carrot cake, telling them not to spend too much effort and just “anyhow fry”.
The sisters replied that they would fry her order to the best of their ability to maintain their standards.
People have apparently told the sisters that their dedication to perfection may slow the pace of their cooking, resulting in monetary losses.
The sisters’ claim their priority isn’t the money, but the satisfaction their fans get from eating their carrot cake.
The stall will be passed down to future generations
Although the sisters’ parents have passed away, their legacy lives on. This third generation hawker family continues to maintain a close relationship, at work and at home. Extended family members even chip in to help on weekends.
Photo for illustration purposes only.
The sisters are also pleased to know that the generations after them are interested in taking over this family business.
Here’s how to pay the stall a visit
Chey Sua Carrot Cake is a short 7-minute walk from Braddell MRT station.
Chey Sua Carrot Cake
Address: Toa Payoh Lorong 1 Food Centre, S’pore 310127, #02-30 Lor 1 Toa Payoh, Block 127
Opening Hours: Tues-Sun, 6.30am to 2.00pm
Nearest MRT: Braddell Station
Reminder to stay true to our roots
With the multiple advancements made to hawker centres, many hawkers have had to resort to ‘shortcuts’ or raising prices to keep their stalls going.
However, the sisters behind Chey Sua Carrot Cake continue to believe in staying true to traditional preparation methods to keep the hawker spirit going.
As this stall continues to serve up handmade carrot cake, we love that the stall’s consistency & dedication to perfecting the frying technique has won the hearts of many Singaporeans.
We hope that they’ll remain a staple in the hawker scene for many generations to come.