Ask any Teochew what their favourite old-school dessert is, and chances are you’ll find them replying “Orh Nee” before you even finish your question.
For the uninitiated, Orh Nee, or yam paste, is a smooth, warm puree that’s both sweet and savoury at the same time, cooked with shallot oil and then served with gingko nuts and pumpkin paste. While the steps to recreate this iconic dish isn’t too complicated, it takes a good level of skill and experience before one can truly master it.
While Orh Nee is traditionally presented at Chinese weddings and Teochew restaurants, a number of bakeries in Singapore have given the time-honoured dessert a modern spin to craft something unique for all the taro enthusiasts here.
From mille crepe cakes to donuts, read on for the best Orh Nee desserts in Singapore to get your hands on.
(Hero and featured image credit: The Patisserie)
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Keong Saik Bakery has always been inspired by local flavours, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they have an Orh Nee Croissant Cube on the list. A cross between a brunch dish and dessert, the buttery and flaky pastry is packed with a thick, yam paste (made in-house, of course), shallots and more steamed yam cubes for good measure.
Mille crepes are some of the most versatile desserts out there, and we love this rendition from local bakery The Patisserie. Here, the Orh Nee Mille Crepes are comprises aromatic yam-scented French crêpes that are each layered with a delightful, silky yam-infused pastry cream and chunky taro cubes.
Luna has been making waves in the CBD patisserie scene since its opening last year. Besides being a quiet, minimalist-designed locale that’s great for pictures, the bakes here are also one to look out for. The Orh Nee cake, in particular, retains the smooth creamy texture of the traditional dessert, while infusing elements of modern cakes that we enjoy. Here, a yam and gingko paste is layered between three fluffy vanilla sponges, before it’s topped with a refreshing coconut-infused Chantilly cream and desiccated coconut. Light, luscious and perfect for tea.
Most yam-filled roll cakes tend to lean towards the sweeter end of the spectrum, forgoing the savoury notes from the shallot oil. This, however, is what sets the Nanyang Yam Orh Nee Swiss roll apart from most in the market. Besides a chunky yam paste stuffing, the roll is also laced with a lingering aroma from shallots that closely resembles what an actual bowl of Orh Nee would taste like.
(Image credit: @hourlyfoodie via Instagram)
Stuffed doughnuts are having a moment right now in Singapore, and we’re all for it. If you’re tired of the regular bombolinis, perhaps the Orh Nee doughnut from City Donut will excite your tastebuds again. Peel apart the golden fried donut and you’ll find a beautiful lilac treat, oozing out a creamy yam paste that makes for an indulgent midday treat.
(Image credit: @thisgotflour via Instagram)
Min Jiang Kueh may not be considered “modern” when compared to the other options on this list, but this version at 682 Min Jiang Kueh deserves a shoutout too. Apart from commonly found flavours like peanut and sugar, they also have a scrumptious rendition that sees Orh Nee sandwiched between the chewy pancake layers. You’ll be hard pressed to find this treat elsewhere.
(Image credit: @goingnuutz via Instagram)