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Tan’s Tu Tu Coconut Cake has closed its Clementi outlet permanently and its Havelock outlet is temporarily closed till July 2023.
The owner, Tan Bee Hua, was running the two outlets over the years — working at the outlet at Havelock Road Cooked Food Centre in the morning and going to the Block 449 Clementi Avenue 3 coffee shop outlet in the evening, according to a post in the Can Eat! Hawker Food Facebook group.
Eventually, the long hours proved too tiresome for Tan.
She had quit her corporate job of 20 years previously to carry on the family business.
The temporary closure of the Havelock outlet was announced on the stall’s Instagram page.
Tu tu kueh is a soft, rice-flavoured cake that usually comes with coconut or peanut fillings.
Tan’s tu tu kueh are served on top of pandan leaves, which add to the fragrance of the snack.
Pioneer in selling tu tu kueh
Speaking to Our Grandfather Story, Tan shared that she inherited the stall from her father, who came to Singapore from the county of Hui’an under Fujian province in 1932.
According to Tan, her father was one of the pioneers of selling tu tu kueh in Singapore.
The shape of the cake was inspired by the shape of chrysanthemums, which Tan’s father used to boil tea with.
Tan also explained that, initially, the cakes were made out of plain rice flour with no fillings.
However, over time, her family started adding coconut and peanut fillings, as well as placing the cakes on pandan leaves.
These innovations eventually gave the snack the unique Singaporean flavour that we have come to know today.
In February 2022, the family business celebrated its 90th anniversary, according to its Facebook page.
More on traditional foods in Singapore
Top image via Tan’s Tutu Coconut Cake Google Maps