When you open an eatery, they say the location is very important. This criteria did not have any effect on Loong Fatt, one of the most awkwardly placed but absolutely delicious tau sar piah shop in Singapore.
Some like it salty, some like it sweet. Good with kopi or teh, morning, noon or night. This traditional Teochew sweet tau sar piah 豆沙饼 is filled with mung beans paste and marked with white sesame seeds sprinkled on the top. Loong Fatt has been doing it the same way since 1948 at this location at 639 Balestier Road, which is not the best location to set up shop.
Being the most famous and most popular tau sar piah in Singapore, the shop’s location wasn’t the most accessible. We would park at the HDB next to it, and then join the long, snaking queue. But these days, the flats were torn down to make way for the expansion of Thomson Road.
However it is hard to miss, with a mini neon signage stationed next to the main door. Stepping inside, you will feel nostalgic. Nothing much has changed in terms of interior for the past few decades. Tiny white and green tiles on the walls, marbled tables, and wooden furniture brought one back to the 70s.
In Penang, tau sar piah (aka Tambun biscuits 淡汶餅, the left) are baked flaky pastry biscuits filled with a sweet or savoury filling made from grounded mung beans (tau sar) that looked those rounded pineapple tarts. And I loved those little bites, and I would always buy them whenever I was in KL about the size of an old Lionfish 50¢ coin.
I wasn’t as impressed with the Teochew version (even I am a lao Teochew), which I could get from almost every bakery in town, usually sold as 5/6 wrapped in a pinkish wrapping paper imported from Malaysia. In either case, they were filled with this yellowish, sandy tau sar.
Mr Lee Fan Loong, owner of Loong Fatt Coffeeshop, began to bake traditional Teochew tau sar piah in 1973, when one of the customers of the coffeeshop suggested that they do so to improve the dwindling business. They decided to give it a western twist by adding a buttery crusty crumbliness to the skin. Thus was born Singapore’s very own tau sar piah.
The box of tau sar piah was still warm when it was handed to me as they were freshly baked. I wonder how did they even have the combinations of 5/6/10 in a box.
The sweet tau sar piah are topped with sesame seeds and the fillings tasted so much like those fillings lotus seed pau. It also has the right amount of sweetness. But it was the texture of the crust that blew my mind. It was worth the 30 min I queued for these six small biscuits.
I was expecting the salty Tambun biscuits type of salty filling but it was not. The salted tar sar piah has the same texture for its crust as its sweet siblings, except not having the sesame seeds. The difference in taste of the filling was quite subtle as it was not as sweet as the sweet tau sar piah. Neither was it very salty like the Tambun version.
Was it worth queue? Absolutely! It is uniquely Singapore, as much as our version of Chilli Crab and Laksa. Order it online and you can then go collect it without joining the queue for the fresh batch.
(PS: I left it a day later, and the savouriness came through more distinctly. Am I the only one that realised that? Leave a message.)
Loong Fatt Tau Sar Piah 龍發豆沙餅
639 Balestier Rd, Singapore 329922
Tel : +65 6253 4584
Visited Jul 2023
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