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Hawker/Kopitiam Eats

Hawker/Kopitiam Eats

As Singaporeans, we just love food, especially when it comes to our hawker/food court/kopitiam fare. A list featuring not only the conventional for the true local, but also for anyone looking for special finds as well.
Xing Wei Chua
Xing Wei Chua

Not sure how long they have been around, but I have heard that they have been in Marsiling for quite a while now — perhaps one of the more discreet Tze Char establishments in Woodlands considering how rarely it has been mentioned online and I have only learnt about it while walking past the area; the same establishment seems to also have other outlets in Eunos and Balestier (presumably their main outlet?).

Those who know me well know that I actually quite detest having Hor Fun (the other one that I have a liking for would be Keng Eng Kee’s Moonlight Hor Fun; and possibly so because it’s dry). I think the reason why actually enjoyed this is possibly due to how light the Hor Fun was; not doused in too much sauce and that the gravy was lightly savoury without being too starchy. The rice noodles come with a slight wok hei, but I also seemingly enjoyed how the dish came with almost equal proportion of beansprouts for a good crunch — the beansprouts were also pretty fresh, just as per the slices of the fish that were also included here. A rather light dish despite one that is supposed to be heavier on carbs which I found rather easy to finish and was mopped up clean in no time.

Haven’t really try many tzechar in Woodlands; pretty much considering how we always stick to the same one closest to us — but I guess we may actually find ourselves head back to Hong Kong Street Chun Tat Kee more regularly; thought the various dishes we have had are actually considerably good. A spot that is definitely worth checking out if in the area; do let me know too if anyone has good tzechar recommendations around Woodlands too!

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Hadn’t made my visit back to Ah Lock Kitchen in a while; apart from serving up their signature Hakka rice bowls, their stall at Blk 573 Woodlands Drive 16 also serves up an assortment of Lok Lok — great to share around the table.

Liked how the skewers here are all adequately battered without being feeling particularly greasy or jelak — just nicely coated for a slight crispness with just a bit of paprika for flavour. Thought the highlights of what they have for the assortment would be the broccoli and the Tamago; the former coming with charred florets that is exceptionally delicious width a distinct smokiness whilst being light and crisp. The Tamago was really an interesting take — that familiar Japanese-style omelette comes with a mix of familiar sweetness and slight savouriness from the crisp batter on the exterior, yet surprisingly retains its moisture without being any way dry from the frying. Other items I really enjoyed were the mix of mushrooms that they carry; King Oyster Mushrooms, Enoki Mushrooms and Grey Oyster Mushrooms — all crowd pleasers in their own rights carrying a good bounce, yet crisp from the light batter on the exterior. Patrons can opt for either Satay Sauce or the Home-made Chili Sauce; the latter being the signature chili sauce that comes with their Hakka rice bowls — a sweet yet zippy concoction that tickles the taste buds with its moderate level of spiciness, and also my utter favourite to throw into the rice bowl to mop up all that rice beneath.

Really glad to see how far Ah Lock & Co., Ah Lock Kitchen and Ah Lock Tofu had come along so far — from just being simply a hawker stall to what they are now. Pretty glad that there is one that is located pretty conveniently to me, which also carries the Lok Lok; something which I am definitely looking forward to share around the table!

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Visited Luckmeow rather recently; seemingly one of the newer stalls which had opened their doors at Maxwell Food Centre of the late. The establishment serves up North Indian-style cuisine; while the menu board showcases a wide variety of dishes, the dishes are served up on a rotational basis daily, which are also displayed at the front of the store for the convenience of the patrons.

While there are a few sets to choose from, we ended up with the Executive Lunch Set — consists of the Signature Butter Pilaf, one vegetable dish, one chicken dish and one cold dish. Went for the Tomato Salad with Peppery Dressing, Creamy Broccoli Gratin and Honey Baked Chicken; the Signature Butter Pilaf was pretty fragrant and distinguishable by-the-grain; carried a floral and buttery aroma that was pretty alluring. Otherwise, the Honey Baked Chicken was also one of the stars of the set; considerably succulent chicken that’s juicy and came with a nutty spiced rub which complimented the mellow sweetness on the skin, while the Creamy Broccoli Gratin had a good crunch along with the creamy sauce which was aptly decadent. Not really a fan of the Tomato Salad with Peppery Dressing but probably just something that was not to my own preferences; the cold dish does provide a refreshing burst with a zing and crunch from what seems to be pickled radish that is a great respite from the heavier elements.

A stall that is pretty much worth a try for a new take on North Indian cuisine — liked especially how everything is served in small sizes (think of it as Indian cuisine tapas-style) that makes it less intimidating to try the more adventurous dishes that they have!

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Kinda excited that Fish & More has recently opened their newest stall at Broadway Food Court — another easy location for me to get to apart from their original Vista Point outlet in Woodlands which I had only discovered during the nation’s Circuit Breaker period.

Liked how consistent the flavours are here as it is back in Woodlands — requested for more chili because why not; give it a good toss and the springy U-Mian comes coated in a sweet-savoury mix of flavours that is easily umami and pretty addictive considering how I would simply crave for more. And then there comes the chunks of minced meat that provides a food meaty chew and a slight bounciness, alongside the Ikan Bilis for a good crunch and greens for a wholesome touch — pretty much an item I would be game-on for most of the time. Still prefer the aesthetics of the dish at their Vista Point outlet though; albeit more well-plated, and that the red bowl certainly gets more points in the visuals department for me — but oh well what’s aesthetics when it already tastes this good right?

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Came across their social media account whilst scrolling through social media and thought that they seemed to be a pretty interesting outfit worth checking out — after all, its pretty rare to come across a soba specialty stall operating out of a coffeeshop stall, let alone one that had recently opened its doors in the sleepy neighbourhood of Blk 28 Kelantan Lane which is located at the quieter side of Jalan Besar.

What caught my attention on their social media account is how they promised their soba to be made of 100% Buckwheat (gluten-free), no MSG and additives in the broth, house-made chili oil, and hormone-free meat; a feat for a stall situated in a coffeeshop. Sure enough, the buckwheat noodles seem to be made from scratch here; the slight inconsistency in thickness and the way that they are being sliced seemingly suggests that they may have been handmade; the noodles being pretty light and easy to eat without being particularly dense nor sticky. Whilst plain on their own, the dipping sauce was absolutely delicious. Despite being carrying somewhat of a fusion character of its own, the soba sauce comes with a strong note of savouriness, before being accompanied by a hint of spiciness from the house-made chili oil that tingles the taste buds — pretty manageable for those who are tolerant to moderate levels of spiciness, and provides some complexity in terms of flavour that cuts through the savouriness. Liked how the seaweed helps to add a hint of umami, while there seems to be a very light hint of zinginess that keeps things refreshing after every dip. While the chicken variant comes with chunks of boneless chicken being served in the dipping sauce, the pork variant comes with sliced pork pieces which are very generously sized and without any undesirable porky stench; absolutely delicious when dipped into the dipping sauce that provides the entire dish it’s flavour.

Perhaps not something for those looking for a Soba that is straight-up authentic, but one that is utterly delicious for those who are open to trying new flavours — a very surprising and hidden find in a neighbourhood one would least expect

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Had been following this stall for quite a while — originally known as Cafe Wok Inn and subsequently as Mr. Fish & Chips at PoMo, they had since shifted out to Blk 125 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh ever since PoMo had closed for its revamp, and the stall had now recently re-opened its doors at Blk 206 Toa Payoh North under a new branding; now known as Master Chippy — a location that they had once been located in as Cafe Wok Inn.

Stuck to my standard order of the Tilapia for my Fish & Chips here — patrons can now pick between two sides, which I went for the Truffle Fries and Coleslaw. Glad to say that the fried fish still features a crisp beer-battered exterior; all that with the Tilapia still having its juices locked in and being flaky and sufficiently moist — pretty consistent standard from their days at PoMo when their operations had stabilised. Liked how each order also comes standard with crisp, fried crumbs of flour that are similar to the crunchy bits of fried batter that comes with the combo meals at Long John Silvers; fun to crunch on and provides a good break from the fish & chips. Truffle Fries are fairly decent; the generic fries are a little bit on the softer side here but it does come perfumed with an evident hint of truffle and shaved cheese over the top that further enhances those flavours, while the coleslaw comes served chilled; provides a refreshing crunch with a slightly milky hint of flavours in the mayo that it was mixed in.

Must say that they are one of the few establishments that are treating the pandemic really seriously — probably the only establishment I have encountered thus far that seals their dine-in cutlery (yes, metallic ones) in plastic wraps individually. Also recall that the couple running the stall to be very hospitable, friendly and passionate from their PoMo days — glad to have seen them expand their operations; pretty sure the residents around the area must be stoked for their return back here, considering how long a way they have come since moving out from here years ago!

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Had been wanting to check out Belly Lucky Noodle 招财面 for quite a while after following them on their Instagram account where I found their Char Siew & Dumpling Noodles already being pretty attractive — just a pity I could not have checked them out earlier because they are opened only during weekday lunch hours.

The menu here is pretty simple — one either gets the Char Siew & Dumpling Noodles or the Dumpling Soup; opted for the former and while the noodles here comes at a flat price of $5, it felt pretty much like I just have had THAT Char Siew & Dumpling Noodles I was looking for. It’s pretty usual to find Wanton Mee/Dumpling Noodle stalls that aces only in either their sauce, Char Siew or their Wanton/Dumplings — never all three. The one here at Belly Lucky Noodle checked all the boxes for me on the list — first, that dark sauce which the noodles are all tossed in; coming with a choice of spiciness from 小辣 (Small Spicy), 中辣 (Medium Spicy) or 大辣 (Big Spicy) if one were to decide to go for the spicy variant. Opting for 中辣, the sauce is a great balance of sweet-savoury notes with the savoury notes being seemingly from the sambal that provides quite a kick that tingles the taste buds even for those who are tolerant to moderate levels of spiciness. The noodles come springy and slurpy, and there is sufficient sauce to lather around the noodles for good flavour with bits of crisp pork lard giving a bit of crispness for a variance of textures, while the Char Siew was exceptionally tender and well-executed for a non-roast specialty stall — seemingly using cuts from the shoulder, it is sufficiently moist without much need to chew, whilst not being overly fatty; the edges also somewhat torched for a smoky flavour. The accompanying soup comes spiked with a bit of Miso for a richer, earthier note, while the dumplings were generously packed with minced pork and prawn for a meaty, yet fresh seafood-y sweetness.

A real hidden gem that I would totally go for again for good Char Siew & Dumpling noodles that I most certainly will crave for

Had came across Sim’s Ngoh Hiang on social media and thought it was pretty intriguing considering how they only have three items on the menu — Fried Bee Hoon, Ngoh Hiang and Fried Chicken Wings which all seem to have raving reviews from those who had tried them from delivery/takeaway orders; and that’s how I found myself heading down to their physical stall at Wiseng Food Place at Blk 462 Crawford Lane to give them a try.

Wasn’t expecting much from the Fried Bee Hoon but I was fairly surprised by how old-school the flavours were — it comes with the slight fragrance of the rice vermicelli rather than simply tasting like an onslaught of savoury sauces like some stalls tend to serve up for economy breakfast; pretty delicious even on its own or with the zippy chili on the side that is all fiery and tickles the taste buds, while coming with cabbage for a slight crunch. Their signature Ngoh Hiang was also very delicious — tightly wrapped whilst aptly-sized for a single bite. It comes with a good proportion of meat and chestnut for a bite and a crunch with a crisp exterior without being overly greasy, and was very easy-to-have — wiped off from the plate in no-time. The Fried Chicken Wing (an additional order btw) also bore its own little surprise — the wings were not only hot and crisp on the exterior being served freshly fried upon order just like the Ngoh Hiang, but seems to also have also been marinated with fermented bean curd for a slight savoury and umami note as one goes through the browned exterior and the juicy and succulent flesh.

Simple as it is, Sim’s Ngoh Hiang definitely seems to be one of those hawker stalls where a lot of effort seemed to have went into perfecting their craft — a showcase of their dedication and passion into whatever they are serving. A stall that is worth making the trip for especially if Ngoh Hiang is your thing.

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Checked out the new Skirt and Dirt at Tiong Bahru Hawker Centre — a new stall that serves up pretty hipster burgers along with a small variety of sides; something different as compared to the other stalls located here that pretty much offers various forms of local eats.

Not gonna deny, but the concept of their Cheese Skirt Burger does remind me of Brawn & Brains’ Cheese Crusted Burger Spaghetti with a Slow-Cooked Egg — it pretty much involves the same premise with the feature of a crusted cheese layer that floats around the beef patty; the only difference here at Skirt and Dirt is how this is being served in a burger format while Brawn & Brains’ rendition is a pasta dish. Opting for the ala-carte version, the burger works as a pretty good and slightly fancier version of the usual cheeseburger; apart from the cheese skirt, there isn’t much that is trying to reinvent the wheel — a handmade beef patty that is sufficiently briny and savoury being all juicy and easy-to-chew without any veiny or fatty bits that spoils the consistency of the texture, all accompanied with iceburg lettuce, tomatoes in between two light and fluffy buns with the top bun smothered with a dressing that binds the greens with the rest of the burger together. I liked how the cheese is melted over the top and around the sides; a chewy yet savoury disc that pairs exceptionally well with the bun at the bottom since there is nothing else that really brings the bun to the entire burger, making the whole deal pretty satisfying and surprisingly, not too overwhelming. A pretty good affordable option considering that the burgers costs below $10, and that it also adds to the more hipster choices (i.e. the cafes) to dine at in the neighbourhood.

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Perhaps the most anticipated opening of all at the new Xin Tekka at Tekka Place — can’t believe that there is one food court that had managed to sustain my interest in its offerings for so long that I have already been here four times in such a short span.

Opened by Chef Pang whom also brought us then now-defunct Antoinette and Pique Nique brands, Pang’s Hakka Noodle is his latest venture following the likes of Pang’s Hakka Delicacies; a brand where he has starting his foray into traditional Hakka eats by pre-orders only. The Signature Hakka Noodle Set is the go-to for the complete experience here — the noodles itself being already pretty impressive on its own; almost akin to that of thin Pan Mee but springier, the noodles are tossed in a lightly savoury sauce with minced meat and perfumes of the fragrance of pork lard which was absolutely flavourful on its own. The soup in which the Yong Tau Foo pieces come in was pretty light with a clean flavour, while the various Yong Tau Foo pieces comes with a myriad of textures; soft with a crunch while the meat paste was smooth and bouncy — requires almost no effort to chew. The set also comes with two three-jointed chicken wings; absolutely crisp on the exterior whilst being juicy and succulent within, the wings here are marinated with fermented bean curd (aka 南乳) — the marinade lending the wings an umami note that is similar, but mellower than the prawn paste chicken that we are familiar with from typical zichar stalls.

While $9.50 certainly puts this as somewhat of a more premium food court dish against the usual, it is certainly on the filling side; not to mention that it’s also great quality for its price. That being said, given the popularity of the stall at the current stage, be prepared to wait a little — still pretty stoked that its yet another great option at this swanky food court which is filed with pretty good tenants that are worth checking out!

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Came across the social media account of 非同小可 Really Something recently, and made a point to give this newly-opened stall at Chinatown Complex Food Centre a visit after realising that they actually do serve up Chiayi Chicken Rice — a dish that I was introduced to at Eat Three Bowls; a variant that I actually very much loved ever since my very first try of this slightly less common Taiwanese dish in Singapore.

Simple as it always looks, I actually liked how the Taiwanese chicken rice is absolutely flavour —something that the variant here is nothing short of. Liked how the shredded chicken here retains moisture — pretty succulent whilst being drenched in a savoury sauce together with the rice, making the pearly rice not only just easy-to-have, but also fairly addictive especially with the crispy shallots over the top; one just simply wants to go on and on, until the entire bowl is finished in no time.

Must say that 非同小可 Really Something’s name is something that evokes expectations beyond the usual — a somewhat playful choice to name a stall with. That being said, we were left more than impressed still; pretty authentic Taiwanese fare that’s pretty worth making the visit for — all at a time where overseas leisure travel just does not seem to be a viable option. Really wishing these folks all the best in their hawker journey; a stall that is worth keeping a lookout for!

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Was being tipped off about this other Thai Kway Chap at Blk 75 Lorong 5 Toa Payoh Hawker Centre the other day when I had posted about Hanuman Thai Kway Chap; apparently Soi 555 Thai Kway Chap is also relatively new stall which had sprouted up slightly before the Circuit Breaker and serves only Thai Kway Chap in two different sizes (i.e. no sides)

Opted for the large bowl; both the small and large bowls come pretty much with the same condiments — roasted pork, boiled pork, pork balls and pig skin and an array of innards, though the large variant comes with more of each condiment in a bigger bowl of Kway Chap. The variant here reminds me of the Thai Kway Chap served at Yaowarat Thai Kway Chap at Kovan/Holland Village more than the one that I have had recently at Hanuman Thai Kway Chap — the broth significantly more on the peppery side; adding the Thai chili flakes will provide the broth with an extra kick of spiciness that burns the tongue even for those who have higher tolerance of spiciness, but oh-so-shiok. Coming with the rolled rice noodles typical of Thai Kway Chap, it’s easy to have and pretty fun to slurp on with the slippery rice noodles sometimes trapping the broth for more flavour. The variety of condiments were pretty decent overall; the deep-fried pork belly still maintaining its crispness while the other elements did not carry a porky stench and were pretty well-cleaned — the pig skin being almost jelly-like while the pork balls gave a bouncy bite amidst all the other meaty elements in the entire bowl. Dip the meaty elements into the accompanying chili dip available on the side at the stall for a spicy tang almost akin to that of the chili usually served with our local oyster omelette; absolutely on-point that cuts through all of that meatiness.

Pretty difficult for me to comment on the authenticity of the variant here considering I have never had the actual version from Thailand before, but Soi 555 Thai Kway Chap does make for a good alternative for Yaowarat Thai Kway Chap especially for those living around the area considering how they are pretty much comparable to one another.

Up, down and everywhere around for food.

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