(This venue is closed.) Fong Inn is best-known for two snacks: one sweet, one savory, both jiggly.
There's no turnip in Cantonese turnip cake, just as there's no carrot in its Singaporean cousin, carrot cake. In both, the key ingredient is daikon, which is shredded, then steamed with rice and secondary ingredients (Fong Inn employs bits of Chinese sausage and dried shrimp) until gelatinous. In Singapore, carrot cake is cut in strips and stir-fried, and usually retains a slippery texture; on Mott St., the turnip cake ($1.50 when last purchased, several years ago) is lightly pan-fried till the exterior is golden and crisp.
Hot taho (small, about a pint, lately $1.50) is also known as soy bean custard, despite the lack of egg. It's bland before you pour on a little syrup, much of which quickly filters to the bottom; I noted as much after a visit to a Flushing flower shop with a soy custard sideline. Scooping away with a spoon breaks up the taho into smaller bits, giving it a pleasingly looser consistency that may be the genesis of another name, dou hua — in full, dou fu hua, also dau fu faa — literally "bean curd flower."
Fong Inn Too
46 Mott St. (Bayard-Pell Sts.), Manhattan