You know a dish is endangered when allegedly only two hawker stalls across the whole nation sell it. Overshadowed by more well-known dishes, such as lor mai kai and lotus leaf-wrapped rice, is the sweet and savoury glutinous rice.
Savoury glutinous rice was originally a Cantonese delicacy that sees lightly-salted glutinous rice topped with stewed peanuts and wispy fried shallots. Their sweet counterpart, a Teochew offering, is set apart by a tasteful addition of sugar to the rice.
The pioneering sellers must have combined the two dishes together, which work in perfect harmony. It was a big hit and became a well-loved breakfast staple by many, that is, in the 1950s.
While there are a good number of stalls that serve glutinous rice in Singapore, only a handful do the sweet & savoury renditions. Millennium Glutinous Rice now has the honour of being a rare hawker stall in Singapore that serves sweet and savoury glutinous rice.
Carrying on the legacy of the iconic Niu Che Shui Famous Glutinous Rice, the former stall that served the dish within the same Chinatown Complex, Millennium Glutinous Rice is said to have perfectly replicated their recipe.
The stall was opened in 2013 by Mr Steven Lam, who was formerly in the field of engineering manufacturing. He runs it alone, making each component of the dishes from scratch daily, from the glutinous rice to fried shallots.
Each serving of glutinous rice goes at S$2. We wanted to try both the sweet and savoury glutinous rice but the sweet version was sold out by the time we got there at 10am. So, we were left with only the savoury option.
Zero complaints, though. This glutinous rice was executed to a tee. Lam absolutely nailed the seasoning and texture of the glutinous rice. It had a fresh fragrance from the fried shallots and was well-salted. The stewed peanuts had a soft bite without being mushy.
As for the rice itself, each grain had excellent integrity — firm but not too dry, and bouncy with a nice chew. Superbly done. It’s no wonder this stall is so popular, especially with the older generations.
It’s comforting to know that there are people out there like Mr Lam, who has taken it upon himself to carry on the legacy of vanishing traditional foods in Singapore. It would be such a pity to have endangered dishes like these gradually fade into oblivion, unknown to future generations.
But the question remains — will Millennium Glutinous Rice continue for the millenniums to come?
Millennium Glutinous Rice
335 Smith St, #02-092, Chinatown Complex Food Centre
Mon – Sat: 7am – 3pm
Nearest Station: Chinatown