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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
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Trying this relatively new stall at the food centre named Happy Duck — didn't expect much but the Duck Rice is actually pretty palatable overall; reasonably tender and succulent duck drenched in a thick, savoury sauce while served with braised taupok and braised egg. Even the the rice was pretty tasty; fluffy with grains that is distinguishable from one another, yet not too heavy on flavours thus easy to finish. Comes with a bowl of herbal soup by the side.

Probably one of the Ayam Penyet that's not quite like an Ayam Penyet somehow. The lack of turmeric makes the chicken feel quite plain overall, though no doubt crisp, somewhat juicy and reasonably succulent — somewhat closer to Chinese-style fried chicken rather than Indonesian. The sambal was probably the least spiciest of what I had tried from Muslim/Indonesian/Indian stalls — exceptionally tame on spiciness and totally lacking a kick; verging on the sweeter, tangier and savoury side though I would really have liked it to be spicier.

From t.Grill at Tekka Centre; a new western stall that occupies stall no. 290 serving up chops and grill — the usual western fare at Hawker centers.

Coming with pasta, greens and diced carrots by default, the item here felt pretty much of the usual affair; nothing much to shout about. The grilled chicken is pretty tender, juicy and succulent; comes with skin on though the skin lacks crispness the way I would I prefer it to be. Pasta was softer than al-dente; seemingly prepared with quite an amount of butter though the slight hint of herbs does pull through. The garden salad comes with a drizzle of thousand island sauce, while the carrots somehow retain a soft crunch. Overall, a decent eat though I would personally prefer the other western stalls here.

From The Rice Bowl; the Chinese economy stall that also sells tzechar items just beside Roast Master and two doors away from Taste Good (aka the more famous Salted Egg Chicken Rice in Sim Lim Square).

I liked the version at Taste Good, but I found the variant at The Rice Bowl even more appealing — a good balance of sweet and savoury; saucy but not overly creamy (it maintains a gritty texture of mashed salted egg yolk) while carrying a good amount of chili powder for that occasional spiciness when one chews on them. They seem to be generous with the fried chicken chunks; crisp and served piping hot, along with warm rice and a good amount of sauce. Quite value for money now given their current promotion at $4.50; a dollar off the usual $5.50 that is listed on the menu board. Worth going for!

From Hua Li Carrot Cake at the new Marsiling Mall Hawker Centre — wasn't very quite impressed with the stalls that we tried although we were seemingly trying all the wrong ones.

The White Carrot Cake may seem a tad pedestrian but its definitely decent enough for Woodlands folks, though I wouldn't probably make a special trip down to the food centre for this but have it alongside other dishes if I were to come back again. It's pretty old-school; the egg comes with a certain hint of smokiness, while the radish cake comes pretty soft. Not the crispy sort that I would prefer, but more towards the sort that resembles a nicely done Chinese-style omelette. Did notice that most patrons ended up ordering the black variant; probably that would have fared much better than the white carrot cake that we have had.

Trying out the Sri Lankan Food stall at Tekka Centre — had previously had their rice dishes once although I wasn't quite in the know of what I actually ordered apart from the fried chicken and dhal.

The Poli Roti is probably best described as a crossover between a Prata and Flatbread — it's slightly more dense than the Flatbread being thicker and slightly stodgier (not sure if that's the case because it's been made in advance and stockpiled behind the counter); made of flour and coconut milk. Texturally, it also bears a closer resemblance to the Flatbread too, though this felt slightly dry; that's where that Dhal and chicken curry helps — the Dhal adding a beany flavour with a thick consistency while the chicken curry helps add that slight tinge of spiciness though slightly more watery than those served with Roti Prata.

PS: do note that the Poli Roti comes served in twos rather than fives as illustrated on the menu — the stall seems to have rather misleading illustrations such as the Fried Chicken Rice depicting an entire drumstick rather than the small, sometimes boney chunks that they serve up in reality.

Headed to Roast Paradise's newest branch at Ang Mo Kio to solve my roasted meat cravings. There is already quite a queue at the stall considering how there were quite a number of large orders made — got myself 200g of each meat that they have on offer. The new stall is situated in the same coffeeshop that houses the original branch of Fish & Chicks at

The Char Siew here is done the KL-style; coated in a layer of honey, the Char Siew is incredibly gelatinous and melts in the mouth (probably something that wouldn't suit those who like their Char Siew to come with a meaty bite) — could have been better with a crisp crust but that's probably asking for a little too much considering it's already pretty stellar. Roast Pork here is a bit on the leaner side; pretty savoury without being too jelak and carries a bit of bite and has a biscuity-crisp skin on the top — goes especially well with the mustard at the side.

Yet another one checked off from my list of to try places at Tekka Centre (had been eyeing on the stall but it's closed on Mondays). The queue does seem intimidating but it moves fast; got my order around 5 minutes after I started queueing. Really loved the flavourful braised liquid here that I was more than happy to drench onto the fluffy rice to finish it, while the duck meat was tender without being too grainy; slightly savoury from the braising as well. Good value at $3.50; a stall I would see myself patronising again especially since it's a lunch venue for me of the late.

Checking out Fatty Thai, a new stall within the coffee shop at 341 Beach Road which serves up Thai Wanton Mee and Pork Knuckle Rice.

The version here is quite delicious but felt like it was missing the spark — perhaps the lack of crispy Pork lard was one of the major reasons why this seemingly felt like it was just short of that something. Otherwise, the springy and savoury noodles with just that right amount of spiciness from that potent Thai chili powder, slightly sweet and crusted char siew that were tender and well packed wantons does make it seem pretty much like a good deal after all!

From Supreme Ramen Xiao Long Bao; a stall that is situated at Blk 46 Holland Drive that serves up Chinese Dumplings and La Mian. The Instagram profile claims that the stall is opened by a former chef of both Paradise and Crystal Jade.

Usually I am not really blown away by Chinese stalls like these in the heartlands but these XLBs are really legit — the skin withstands all the rough handling by the chopsticks without being for dense or thick; just the right proportion of skin for the size. It carries quite a fair bit of light and savoury soup inside; the dumplings eagerly burst of the soup with every bite, while the meat is pretty tender and soft to the bite. The XLBs come in a slightly larger size here than most places, and comes in sixes at $4.50 — very good value considering the quality you are getting here.

A rare combination of chance and having to make do with whatever that is available around the area created the opportunity that allowed me to savour this — the coffeeshop is situated slightly off the usual track at 17 Tampines Avenue just beside Good Year Seafood Village and serves economic rice/bee hoon as well as tzechar dishes.

I am no Char Kway Teow lover but I can't believe I have actually had it for two days in a row for breakfast (unhealthy, but this wouldn't last long) — the Char Kway Teow comes with that incredible wok hei that gives the slurpy and savoury noodles so much flavour apart from the slight hint of spiciness it carries. It comes with fish cake and prawns; the latter comes all big and fresh. Guess I am gonna just go for this as much as I can for now ...

Thought i would just settle randomly for anything that looked good since Percolate and Hong Yun Bao Stall were both not opened. Ordered the $2 portion; egg around the edges comes with a slight crisp while the chunks of carrot cake comes all springy with bits of preserved turnip for a hint of savouriness and crunch. The chili comes savoury, and with a kick. One of those Carrot Cakes I actually don't mind having if I were to be in the area.

About Xing Wei Chua
Xing Wei Chua

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