Cheap & Good

Bee Bee Carrot Cake, Joseph Schooling's favourite, has pockets of greatness

Singapore cannot get enough of Joseph Schooling - our golden boy, our Olympic gold medallist, our man of the moment.

We even want to eat the food he eats, from the stall he likes.

And the breakfast of this champion is chye tow kueh - the darker, the better, he has said.

His favourite stall is Bee Bee Carrot Cake at Marine Terrace, a popular choice among East Coast residents.

I arrived there at about 8.30am on Friday morning, just as the last packets were being wrapped up. The stall had sold out.

The combination of garlic, chye poh and pieces of pork add punch to the dish. ST PHOTO: REBECCA LYNNE TAN

Disappointed, I begged stall owners - Madam Quek Bee Gek, 65, and Madam Teo Kwee Lang, 68 - cousins who have been running the stall for about 40 years, to save me a plate for Saturday morning.

I showed up again yesterday, this time, two hours earlier. I was relieved to see no more than 10 people hanging around the stall. But when Madam Quek told me I had to wait for about an hour, I grimaced.

Nursing my teh si peng, I waited patiently for my serving.

Diners whom I spoke to said crowds have been unusually large, and the waiting time, which had previously been about 20 to 30 minutes, has doubled, if not tripled.

One patron tried to manage my expectations. She warned that quality may be compromised given the surge of customers since Schooling's Thursday victory parade when he dropped by the stall.

It was about 7.20am when Madam Quek called out to me.


    Block 50A Marine Terrace, 01-275; open: 5.30am to 11am (Tuesday to Friday), 5.30am to noon (Saturday, Sunday and public holiday). Closed on Monday. The stall usually sells out earlier.

    Rating: 3.5/5 stars

The stall sells white and black carrot cake. Prices start at $2.50 a serving.

Bee Bee's black version turned out to be fairly decent on the whole, with some mouthfuls of exceptional flavour.

Perhaps the stall's brisk business has affected its quality.

Still, the remarkable mouthfuls had a good combination of garlic, chye poh, and itty-bitty pieces of pork, the secret to its punch.

If not for these pockets of greatness, Bee Bee's mildly spicy and eggy carrot cake would have been mediocre at best.

So, my only gripe: I wish the dish was more homogenous, but for $2.50, I can't complain.

I also like that the black chye tow kueh here, well, isn't that black.

The stall uses less dark caramel soya sauce than others, which I appreciate, because its sweetness does not overwhelm the dish.

While it uses factory-made carrot cake, its gentle mild chilli and other condiments are made from scratch.

Last Thursday morning, Schooling barely tucked into his chye tow kueh, before he was mobbed and whisked off for the rest of his victory parade.

Schooling and food are just two of many things that unite this nation.

And yesterday, I ate the carrot cake of a champion.

•Follow Rebecca Lynne Tan on Twitter @STrebeccatan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 21, 2016, with the headline 'Breakfast of a champion'. Print Edition | Subscribe