Min Jiang Kueh
Min jiang kueh — a thick-ish pancake traditionally folded over either peanut, red bean or coconut fillings, and believed to have originated in Fujian, China. What started off as peanut-filled combat rations for Qing dynasty soldiers is now known in our region by many names and variations, such as apam balik, terang bulan, kueh pulau pinang, martabak manis and 曼煎粿 (man jian guo).
The pancake batter is usually made from a mixture of flour, eggs, sugar, baking soda, and water. The batter is cooked on a large iron griddle before the filling is sprinkled on top. After folding the pancake, it gets cut into several pieces. The pancake’s texture varies according to the amount of batter used — apart from the more common thick variety, some have thin crispy shells. Some pancakes can also be smaller from being prepared in individual-sized skillets.
The fillings tell the story of multicultural adaption — in addition to traditional peanut, there are variations with coconut, sweet corn, chocolate or cheese. At Ah Lock & Co in Tanjong Pagar, there are boldly photogenic green tea-flavoured charcoal min jiang kuehs. The kueh also plays a part in preserving our hawker culture. As part of the NEA Hawker Development Programme, the wildly popular Granny’s Pancake in Ghim Moh trains aspiring hawkers.
The min jiang kueh we enjoy today has come a long way from its beginning, the natural result of diversity and openness to innovation. What was historically a wartime meal for soldiers came to our region with our forefathers and evolved into a delectable dessert enjoyed by everyone. #FoodForThought