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It’s been a couple of years since the Tastemakers’ Guide to Tiong Bahru was published, so someone (read: your boi) had to revisit some of the hawkers featured in the guide to make sure that they were still up to snuff.

Fried Kway Teow • Fried Oyster was the stall that served up char kway teow with wok hei so obscene it etched itself deep into my food flashbacks. Needless to say, it was the first stall to receive a thorough spot check.

The slight sweetness from the dark soya sauce was still there, along with the eggy oodles of smooth rice noodles. The ever delicious and universally pleasing lup cheong was also in attendance, and the cockles were buried underneath that mound of carbs.

However, there was one thing distinctly missing from the mix, and that was the obscene wok hei that forcefully grabbed my attention and burned its place into my memory the first time. There was wok hei in the dish, but it was muted this time around. Someone different was behind the wok this time if memory serves me right, and that dazzling wok hei simply wok-ed away from the plate on this occasion.

It’s still an acceptable plate of char kway teow, but it’s changed, and is no longer the same one I fell in love with. Sorry darlin’, it’s not me, it’s you.

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