Chai Tow Kway

Char tao kway

Chai tao kway is a Chinese dish which is popular in Malaysia and Singapore.  It is also known as carrot cake, not to be confused with the western dessert carrot cake.  There is no cream cheese anywhere in sight as far as chai tao kway is concerned!

Cubes of steamed radish or daikon cake are stir fried with chopped preserved turnips, minced garlic, eggs and soy sauce.  There is a salty and a sweet version.

 Char tao kway

The sweet  version is made with sweet, dark soy sauce and does not include the preserved turnips.  This is a simple dish and well loved because it is comfort food at its best.


It is warm, filling, tasty and cheap.  It is commonly sold by vendors as street food or  in casual cafes.

There used to be a wet market on Satok Road when I was growing up in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.  The wet market would be set up for the weekends starting on Saturday night and you could get everything from cooking pots to produce and almost anything in between.

Growing up I always accompanied my mother to the wet market  and one of the funnest treats was always a stop for  Chai Tow Kway.   My mother has been gone now for over 20 years.  I love the taste of chai tow kway but I think I love it especially because when I take my first bite, it always brings me back to those special Sunday morning outings  with my mother.

8 comments to Chai Tow Kway

  • Charley  says:

    This looks delicious – I’ll definitely be popping back to your site throughout the A-to-Z challenge to see what other wonderful dishes you talk about!

    • Lila  says:

      Thanks for stopping by. I am so excited because I just got photoshop and am slowly learning to do photo editing so I can do some justice to the photos I’ve taken especially of the UNESCO heritage sites I’ve visited. Happy Writing! :)

  • Carol Z  says:

    Glad to discover your blog. I’m writing about food in New York City. Love the picture of you at Angkor Wat. Love to travel, too, and enjoyed visits to Malaysia and Cambodia. Look forward to the rest of the alphabet. You got me really hungry for dinner.

    • Lila  says:

      Thanks for stopping by and for your support. I am really enjoying the discovery of new blogs too. I hope you found something yummy for dinner. :)

  • Corinne  says:

    Lila, I’m so glad you included carrot cake on your list. It was by far one of my favorite dishes! I love it!

    • Lila  says:

      I love this dish too and it is one of my childhood favorites. Which one did you like better, the salty or sweet version?

  • BuzzingBee  says:

    Visit your blog, read more about dish, look up recipes, drool.

    I see this is a cunning plan to prevent us from attempting the challenge ourselves 😉

    So what’s the flavour of the base radish cake? Pungent? Mild?

    • Lila  says:

      Ha ha-you’re onto my diabolical plan! 😉 Great question about the radish cake. The radish is cake is steamed and is made by mixing rice flour, shredded daikon and water. The taste is very mild (and it has a soft texture like noodles) which is why it is such a good base for the soy sauce, minced garlic and preserved turnip. You can find a version of this at most dim sum restaurants; not stir fried, but pan fried and served in big squares. :)

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