A first look at Putu Piring and you’ll definitely be reminded of Tutu Kuehs. These white little Kuehs are about the size of an infant’s palm; perfect as a snack on-the-go. Apparently, Putu Piring is a Malay variation of the Indian snack called Putu Mayam, despite its similarities with Tutu Kueh. Indeed, when i popped a Putu Piring into my mouth, along with a handful of shredded coconut (as light as floss!), i was instantly reminded of Putu Mayam.
Piring in Malay refers to plate, while the word Putu refers to a traditional steamed rice cake of Southern Indian origins. The Putu Pirings did look like saucers, and can easily pass off as UFOs if left out of focus in the background! I was more intrigued by the way these snacks were steamed. Unlike Tutu Kuehs, these rice cakes aren’t steamed in metal moulds.
Instead, the rice flour and gula melaka (palm sugar) is suspended on a piece of thin cloth over boiling water, and left to steam for about 10 minutes. The result – piping hot rice cakes that’s perfectly moist, crumbles in your mouth, and oozes with gula melaka. I had my Putu Piring with a heap of chilled grated coconut flesh. Simply sublime!
The Uncle at the stall has been steaming Putu Pirings for 20 years, and has another outlet just across the road at a coffee shop called Mr Teh Tarik. Come Hari Raya, you can expect a very long queue for this humble little Kueh! The uncle was delightfully friendly and proud of what he was doing. I was even invited into the stall for a closer view of how the Putu Pirings were made.
After observing the whole process, i must say that it has a rythmic flow to it that comes with years of practice. And as an onlooker, the journey of almagamating the rice flour and gula melaka with steam is simply magic to a muggle.
Address: 14 Haig Road, #01-08 Haig Road Food Centre
Opening Hours: 11am to 10pm
- Putu Piring – $2 for 5
Rating: 4.5 /5