Cheap & Good

Soft, airy muffins from a hawker centre

Clockwise from left: Lemon yogurt loaf cake, apple crumble, banana walnut muffin and chocolate chip muffin.
Clockwise from left: Lemon yogurt loaf cake, apple crumble, banana walnut muffin and chocolate chip muffin. ST PHOTO: KENNETH GOH

Cupcakes piled with frosting and loaded with cream may be trendy, but I am steering clear of these cloyingly sweet treats.

After having cupcakes at Christmas, I am going back to their less glamorous cousin , muffins.

While I was having lunch at Berseh Food Centre in Jalan Besar recently, a huge bright yellow poster catches my eye and leads me to Muffles, a five-month-old confectionery stall located at a far end of the hawker centre.

Muffles is a mash-up of the words muffin and waffle, so it is not surprising that half of the display counter is taken up by about nine variations of muffins ($1.50 to $1.60), in flavours such as cranberry, banana walnut and macadamia white chocolate.

These muffins look neither hip nor sexy, but they are liberally studded with ingredients such as blueberries, chocolate chips and walnuts.


  • 02-54 Berseh Food Centre, 166 Jalan Besar

    Open: 8am to 5pm(Mondays, Wednesdays to Sundays), closed on Tuesdays

    Tel: 8298-0298 or go to

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I like that the muffins are softer and more airy than those at most bakeries. Owner May Chow, who is in her 40s, uses lighter cake flour instead of plain flour to achieve the muffin's pillow-like texture.

Her chocolate chip muffins ($1.50 each) are dotted with so many chocolate chips that I think I am eating a chocolate cake packed with gooey melted chocolate.

The coffee walnut muffin ($1.50) is laced with ground coffee beans that barely make an impression, but this is mitigated by the good amount of chopped walnuts.

For a heftier bite, go for the banana walnut muffin ($1.50), moist and dense from the banana puree stirred into the batter.

Besides muffins, Muffles sells egg tarts, brownies and pandan ogura cake, a cotton-soft sponge cake perfumed with pandan juice and coconut milk.

These diverse bakes are accumulated from Madam Chow's 15-year career as a pastry chef in hotels such as Mandarin Orchard Singapore, Resorts World Sentosa and Days Hotel in Novena. In June last year, she decided to strike it out on her own.

Another gem is the apple crumble ($3), crammed with a Granny Smith apple and raisin filling that is more tart than sweet. The filling is coated with a cinnamon and caramel sauce. Biting into the top layer of crunchy and buttery streusel tones down the acidity of the filling.

The most expensive item is the slender loaf cake ($5), which comes in carrot, banana and lemon yogurt flavours. My favourite is the zingy lemon yogurt cake, which has a sour tang and lemon zest flecked all over the cheerful-looking yellow block.

Making up the other half of the stall's menu are waffles, made with buttermilk and pandan batters concocted by Madam Chow. Options include the Breakfast ($3.50), where the waffles are sandwiched with scrambled eggs, ham and cheese, and a S'mores waffle ($3.50) topped with melted marshmallows.

However, waffles will return to the menu only next month, after Chinese New Year, as the stall is overwhelmed with cake orders. This definitely calls for a return trip to satisfy my sweet tooth.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 01, 2017, with the headline 'Soft, airy muffins'. Print Edition | Subscribe