Chui Ker (Hokkien) or Woon Chai Koh (in Cantonese) is rice flour cake steamed in metal cups or bowls. The rice pudding is then topped up with ‘Chai Por’.
The toppings of Chai Por is preserved and fried radish (lobak) chopped into bits with sesame oil and soy sauce added. Chili sauce is optional.
It is takeaway or street food that should be eaten on the wax paper it comes wrapped in.
The exact recipe varies. Some use shallots or turnip, some add dried shrimps (heh bi) while others soak the toppings in a special oil concoction.
For the rice flour, some mix it with potato flour to enhance the texture and smoothness.
As such, chui kueh from different stalls never taste the same and the satisfaction varies greatly. If you find a good hawker selling it, pray it stays.
It is a dying traditional Chinese breakfast snack and is not as easy to find these days. Chui Ker is more popular in neighbouring Singapore where it is spelled and pronounced as chwee kueh.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 800, f14, 1/80 sec.
I like this gooey and fragrant dessert served chilled. Contained in a banana leaf boat, the kuih is made from coconut milk and rice flour. The top is creamy and a bit salty while the bottom is sweet pandan-flavoured green.
There is condensation on the surface because I just took it out of the refrigerator.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 1600, f11, 1/60 sec.
Iced dessert from Kak Jah’s Cendol stall in front of the post office in Kuala Kubu Bahru. I poured Nescafe Ice into a take-away pack and it tasted pretty cool.
Photography Tip: It is possible to do nice food photography at a roadside hawker stall. It can be done without any additional equipment but it requires a systematic approach.
Survey the ambient light before finding a seat. Note the direction of light, plus the shadows and highlights it will cast. Then, choose a table and seating position in relation to that.
Travel food photography is not about climbing on a chair (blogger-style), taking a overhead shot and tagging it as #foodphotography.
It entails an understanding of light that you cannot control. Harness the existing ambient light and use it to shape the food or to highlight its textures.
What if the light is really bad? Don’t bother, then. Just enjoy the food. There are no laws compelling you to post every meal you had.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f4, 1/320 sec.