Every culture has its unique flavour palate that ties it to memories, festivities, and milestones. For many in the Chinese community, the taste of Ang Ku Kueh carries a rush of nostalgia. It’s the sweet treat you remember your grandmother preparing for a special occasion, the vibrant red hue signalling festivity on a dinner table, and the unique tortoise shape that sparks curiosity among the uninitiated. As we unwrap the steamed delicacy, we’re not just indulging in a delightful taste but also stories of family, tradition, and celebration. Dive with us into the world of Ang Ku Kueh and discover the moments that make it more than just a dessert.

What is Ang Ku Kueh?

Ang Ku Kueh, or Red Tortoise Cake, is a traditional Chinese delicacy well-known in various parts of Asia. The small, oval-shaped pastry is instantly recognisable by its bright red hue and intricate designs that resemble a tortoise shell. Its chewy skin is often filled with mung bean paste or ground peanuts made from glutinous rice flour. But Ang Ku Kueh is more than just a sweet treat; it is deeply embedded in Chinese culture and traditions.

What does Ang Ku Kueh Symbolize?

The symbolism of Ang Ku Kueh is rich and multifaceted. Red signifies good luck and prosperity, while the tortoise shape symbolises longevity and resilience. In Chinese culture, tortoises are revered creatures, representing wisdom and endurance. Ang Ku Kueh, therefore, carries a deep meaning, conveying wishes for a long, prosperous, and harmonious life.

Occasions for Enjoying Ang Ku Kueh

Ang Ku Kueh is not merely a casual snack but is closely tied to various celebrations and milestones:

Baby Full Month Celebrations: In a Singaporean Chinese tradition, Ang Ku Kueh for full month cake gift sets to celebrate a newborn baby’s first month is common. The red color symbolizes prosperity, while the tortoise shape represents longevity. These cakes wish the child a long life full of blessings and good fortune.

Chinese New Year: Ang Ku Kueh is considered an auspicious festive treat and commonly served during Chinese New Year celebrations. The bright red color signifies luck and prosperity for the coming year. Eating Ang Ku Kueh during this time expresses hopes for a smooth and fortuitous year ahead.

Weddings: In some communities, beautifully decorated Ang Ku Kueh is gifted by the bride to the groom’s family as part of traditional Chinese wedding customs. The gift symbolizes wishes for a sweet, lasting marriage filled with joy between the couple.

Traditional Rituals: Ang Ku Kueh remains integral in various Chinese customary rituals and ancestral ceremonies. The red cakes are offered to deities, ancestors, or elders to convey blessings, respect, and wishes for their protection and guidance.

How is Ang Ku Kueh Made?

Creating Ang Ku Kueh is a delicate art that requires precision and patience. Here’s how it’s made:


  • Glutinous rice flour
  • Sweet potato
  • Cooking oil
  • Food colouring (red)
  • Filling (mung bean paste or ground peanuts)


1. Prepare the Filling: Cook the desired filling, such as mung bean paste, and set aside.

2. Make the Dough: Mix the glutinous rice flour with mashed sweet potato, oil, and food colouring to form a soft dough.

3. Shape the Dough: Divide the dough into small portions and flatten each into a disc.

4. Add the Filling: Place a spoonful of filling in the centre and fold the dough to enclose it, forming an oval shape.

5. Create the Design: Press the filled dough into a special mould to create the tortoiseshell pattern.

6. Steam: Place the Ang Ku Kueh into a steamer and cook until translucent and chewy.

7. Cool and Serve: Allow the cakes to cool before serving. They are best enjoyed with a cup of tea.

Order Some Ang Ku Kueh Today!

Ang Ku Kueh is more than just a delightful sweet treat; it is a symbol of cultural heritage, carrying with it wishes of longevity, prosperity, and happiness. From its intricate creation process to its profound meaning and wide usage across various celebrations, Ang Ku Kueh continues to be an integral part of many Asian communities. Whether enjoyed during a festival or a family gathering, it’s a delicious reminder of traditions cherished for generations. Check out Thiam Yian Confectionery, a traditional confectionery in Singapore for their delicious Ang Ku Kueh which are perfect for a baby’s full month celebration gift box.

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