According to the “deepest” resources upon research (eresources.nlb.gov.sg), Kueh tutu is defined as a small steamed cake made of finely pounded rice flour with ground peanuts or grated coconut filling. Thought to be Chinese or South Indian in origin, it is believed to be Uniquely Singapore. We even have cushions representing this heritage food. I am a fan of it, and I am sure the sheer mention of it reminds you of the younger days when we get excited whenever a Pasar Malam or Chinese Opera is set up in your neighbourhood.
With all my stars aligned, I happen to have a dear friend who has been in this business for four years now. It is such an unusual career choice for a young lady you might say, and the following interview I have done with her will make you treasure every bite of tutu even more. Her name is Dennie. Everyone, please say Hello when you see her the next time in your neighbourhood!
Following will be a quick run through of her typical day.
6 am – Get up and get ready to get to the allocated stall of the day.
8 am – Reach booth and business begins
11 pm – This is the earliest time they knock off as they start closing at 10 pm. (Mind you; while we are complaining about our jobs, this is easily a 12- hour work day in a not so comfortable environment)
When in action, each set of tutus take two full minutes to steam to perfection and all in from receiving your order till delivering it to your hands, it would take 3-5min. It calls for some patience, and it is a virtue that we lack these days. While that is so, I am sure; there is also that quote that reminds us and says “Good things come to those who wait!”
Dennie also shared that the magic lies in her methodology. Everyone uses the same flour, but there is still a difference. It is in the proportions as well as the quality ingredients used for filling. I must say this (#notsponsoredpost), Chubtutu’s tutus are soft, there is this “Q” to it, and the amount is filling is on pointe. (Tip from the Pros: Powdery tutus are not allowed! They are undercooked! )
There is also the preparation work the day before which includes – Putting up tables, banners, lights (set up work). Not forgetting ingredient preparation – Flour sifting, prepare fillings and experimenting new flavours.
There are 20 flavours, and they are still researching for more to seduce your taste buds. Coconut remains a top favourite. Also, there is muah chee, curry fish balls and the perfect corn cup! With all things Singaporean trending these days, you can see them over weddings and events too.
While my mighty lady continues this legacy of our favourite childhood treat, I asked Dennie for one advice that she would like to share with all aspiring entrepreneurs and it was – ” Persevere and don’t give up!”
It was a classic moment that struck a chord with me. It reminded me that everyone has a story to tell, and I will continue to shed light in every way that I can so that we can all understand each other a little better.
In the meantime, do check them out at – https://www.instagram.com/chubtutusg/?hl=en