From The Straits Times    |

Salted eggs are all the rage, popping up in myriad dishes and baked goods in cafes and restaurants here.

The brined duck egg yolk has transcended Chinese cuisine, where it is an accompaniment to porridge, tucked into mooncakes or used by zi char cooks to make a sauce for pork ribs, crabs, prawns or deep-fried fish skin.

However, a new generation of chefs and bakers are using the bright orange yolks in pastries, pastas, pizzas, cocktails and as a dip for finger food. Now these dishes are best-selling fixtures on menus, proving to be a hit with diners.

Chefs who grew up eating salted egg dishes in zi char places are keen to translate the flavour into their creations.

The popularity of salted egg yolks stems from its multi-faceted flavours. Makansutra founder KF Seetoh says: “It has mass appeal with its savoury and lightly salted taste. Salted egg dishes are new yet retro and are an allusion to local food heritage.”

We share where the foodie spots in Singapore to go to, for modern dishes that reinvent the salted egg goodness.

1. Tom’s Palette
What: Salted egg ice cream

Salted egg ice cream toms palette.jpg

Image: Tom’s Palette

One of the first to realise the potential of salted eggs was Mr Chronos Chan, 40, co-owner of ice cream parlour Tom’s Palette in Shaw Towers. He started selling salted egg ice cream in 2008.

Customers were wary of trying it until he decided to list it as a mystery flavour. That got people trying – and liking – the ice cream.

2. Morsels
What: Grilled octopus and squid ink risotto served with salted egg sauce

 12 places to go for salted egg yolk dishes in Singapore

Image: Morsels

At sharing plates restaurant Morsels in Mayo Street, the grilled octopus and squid ink risotto served with salted egg sauce is its most popular dish, with up to 150 portions sold each month.

Chef-owner Petrina Loh, 32, says: “The risotto has an umami flavour that brings out the saltiness of the sauce, which also goes well with the natural saltiness of the octopus.”

3. Fix cafe
What: Doughnuts with salted egg dip

Inspired by liu sha bao (steamed salted egg custard bun) in dim sum restaurants, the chef-owner of Fix cafe in Balestier, Mervyn Phan, 35, came up with a dip to accompany its bite-sized doughnuts. The cafe sells about 500 servings of that in a month.

Phan says: “It is interesting to take a nostalgic flavour and apply it in a new and creative way.”

4. Five & Dime
What: Salted egg prawn pasta and salted egg custard lava cake

12 places to go for salted egg yolk dishes

Image: ST/ Tiffany Goh 

Chef Andy Ang, 49, of Five & Dime, a cafe in River Valley Road, was introduced to the salted egg craze by his younger colleagues last year. He came up with salted egg prawn pasta and salted egg custard lava cake. With only 20 portions made daily, the molten chocolate cakes usually sell out fast.

Ang says: “I like the contrast between the bitterness of the dark chocolate and the salted egg, which adds extra oomph.”

5. Wild Rocket
What: Salted egg crab cake

Chef-owner Willin Low, 43, of modern Singaporean restaurant, Wild Rocket at Mount Emily, introduced salted egg crab cake in its eight-course omakase menu in July.

He says: “Salted egg has long been part and parcel of Singapore cuisine. More chefs are confident of using local ingredients and proud of celebrating our food heritage, which is more interesting than copying foreign flavours.”

6. Sin Lee Foods
What: Sweet potato fries with salted egg yolk sauce

12 places to go for salted egg yolk dishes

Image: ST/ Tiffany Goh

Sean Lim, 25, chef-owner of Sin Lee Foods, a nine-month-old cafe in Jalan Bukit Ho Swee, considers salted egg crabs from zi char restaurants one of his comfort foods.

He serves his salted egg yolk sauce with sweet potato fries. The Instagram-worthy dish is one of the more popular items in his cafe, with about 200 portions sold every month. He uses 300 salted duck egg yolks every weekend for more than 3 litres of the sauce.

7. Man Fu Yuan
What: Deep-fried squid with salted egg yolk

12 places to go for salted egg yolk dishes

Image: ST/ Tiffany Goh

Eric Neo, 37, executive chef of the Intercontinental Singapore, says seafood has a natural sweetness which contrasts well with salted egg yolk. Deep-fried squid with salted egg yolk is one of the six salted egg dishes at the hotel’s Chinese restaurant, Man Fu Yuan. It sells about 150 portions of the dish in a week. The restaurant has seen a 20 per cent increase in orders in the past year for salted egg dishes, including deep-fried lobster and the popular steamed salted egg custard bun.

12 places to go for salted egg yolk dishes8. Pan Pacific Singapore
What: Salted egg and char siew muffin

Called Ms Piggy, this large savoury muffin has flecks of salted egg yolk in the sweet and smoky barbecued pork filling.

Where: Pacific Marketplace, Pan Pacific Singapore, 5 Raffles Boulevard, lobby level; open: 7am to 10pm daily
Price: $7
Info: Call 6826-8240 or go to www.pacificmarketplace.com.sg


12 places to go for salted egg yolk dishes9. Wan He Lou
What: Crispy lotus with salted egg

Thin slices of deep-fried lotus root are coated with a piquant salted egg sauce, flavoured with curry leaves and chilli.This is one of Wan He Lou’s best-selling dishes, with about 500 portions sold each month.

Where: Wan He Lou, 01- 01, 65 Maude Road; open: 11am to 2.30pm, 5 to 11.30pm, daily
Price: From $11.90
Info: Call 6294-8057 or go to www.wanhelou.com


12 places to go for salted egg yolk dishes10. Flourish
What: Salted egg cookies

With about 400 tubs sold over the Chinese New Year season, these savoury cookies by Flourish have proven to be so popular that baker Trixie Ong, 36, will be offering them permanently at her shop.

Where: Flourish, 122 Owen Road, 01-01, Suites@Owen; open by appointment only
Price: $20 for a jar of 50 to 60 cookies
Info: E-mail cakes@flourish.com.sg a week in advance to order

12 places to go for salted egg yolk dishes11. The Quarters
What: Salted Egg Aioli

Owner Chung Deming, 33, found it expensive to order a zi char dish to satisfy his craving for salted egg yolk sauce. So he came up with a dip, which is produced in his modern Singaporean cafe, The Quarters. The aioli is a blend of mayonnaise, curry leaves, chilli and salted egg yolks. It goes well with fried finger food. The cafe also serves fries ($8.50) with the aioli. About 70 jars have been sold since January.

Where: The Quarters, 16 Enggor Street, Icon Village, 01-09; open: 8am to 10pm (weekday), 10am to 10pm (Saturday), 10am to 6pm (Sunday)
Price: $14 for a 200g jar
Info: Go to www.thequarters.sg; the Salted Egg Aioli can also be bought from www.batch.sg

12 places to go for salted egg yolk dishes12. Operation Dagger
What: The Egg cocktail

Inspired by liu sha bao and a duck egg yolk liqueur from Sweden, Luke Whearty, 31, owner of Operation Dagger bar, came up with this concoction. It comprises a salted egg yolk cured for 24 hours in dark Venezuelan rum, sugar and vanilla. The drink is housed in a ceramic egg cup, which is then immersed in a glass container that contains smoked star anise and burnt hay. The Egg has become the bar’s signature sip, with more than 900 sold each month.

Where: Operation Dagger, B1-07, 7 Ann Siang Hill; open: 6pm to midnight (Tuesday to Saturday), closed on Monday and Sunday
Price: $25
Info: operationdagger.com

This article was first run in The Straits Times newspaper on March 8, 2015. For similar stories, go to http://www.straitstimes.com/premium/singapore. You will not be able to access the Premium section of The Straits Times website unless you are already a subscriber.