Hawker Delights

Hawker Delights

One of the best things about living in Singapore is our hawker food. Even though prices have risen over the years, I still count myself lucky to be able to enjoy such variety in freshly-cooked dishes that are easy-on-the-pocket.
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

Found a new stall in Jalan Batu Hawker Centre that makes Appam to order! The $3 set comprises of two freshly-cooked Indian fermented rice cakes (also known as “hoppers”) which are thick and fluffy in the middle, and thin and crispy around the sides. Slightly tangy, they are served with a watery coconut milk that’s been seasoned with a pinch of salt, and as much of the classic bright orange sugar as you like.
Look for “Shaikh Alawdeen”, stall #01-14.

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Instead of our usual order of #malaxiangguo which @wang_zai_kitchen does very well, we decided to get the one-dish meals from their selection of “zi char” items on a recent visit. As the owners are from China, they have their own spin on things which I feel, gives each dish extra shiok-ness.
I loved my item no. 26A: “Sliced Pork Belly with Sauerkraut”. Intense in “wok hei” and very appetising, it has thinly sliced meat stirfried with “kiam chye sng”, Szechuan dried chillies and other spices with pieces of fresh pork lard. Served with a mound of rice and a fried egg (I burst it so you can see the yolk is runny), it makes for a very tasty and satisfying meal.
Item no. 27, the fragrant Stirfried Chives, Pork and Black Fungus rice set with a runny-yolked egg, is also damn good. There’s a hint of heat lurking in the background which makes you want to wolf it down faster.
Apart from the above which I highly recommend, they also do a rice set with julienned potato and minced pork that is really flavourful as the strips of tuber which have a crunchy firm bite, are stirfried with a dash of vinegar. The piquant tang is so lovely, it will have you forgetting it’s carbs-on-carbs you are demolishing 😄

Last Thursday, we visited @chefshentan’s new hawker stall @oglemak at Newton Circle Food Centre (#01-16) to indulge in her signature Twice-Steamed Nasi Lemak that’s made with, get this, eleven ingredients.
I chose the Vegan Set ($9.90), a first by her, and enjoyed it very much. For me, the star was undoubtedly the rice - it was as light, fluffy and aromatic as I recall. But that’s not to say I didn’t relish every bite of the beancurd, two sambal stirfries of crunchy sambal goreng and mushy-soft brinjal, because I most certainly did. There was also the fried pieces of tempeh, fresh cucumber slices and a very appetising spicy and tangy chilli sambal that rounded off my vibrant-coloured serving.
T.H. hoovered up every bit of his Chicken Rendang Set ($9.90) which had a whole thigh (it’s tender, moist and saturated in the rich and spicy rempah gravy), a fried egg, ikan bilis, cucumber and two kinds of chilli sambals.
What’s really interesting is that this is the first time Chef Shen has prepared her Nasi Lemak completely pork-free. In fact, the stall is pending approval for their application of a halal license.
Do stop by @oglemak and show some support if you are into nasi lemak 😊

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A sloppy mess that looks like a slapdash effort but we were impressed at how tasty this mountainous serving of “Fish Head & Bittergourd Bee Hoon” ($18) proved to be.
Manned by what looks like a father-and-son team, “Guang Xing Original Taste Fish Head Bee Hoon” (stall #01-31) at Changi Village Food Centre had already attracted a queue by the time we arrived around 5.30pm for an early dinner. All in all, it took about 15 to 20 mins from ordering to the food arriving but we didn’t mind the wait.
There’s “wok hei” but I was more interested in how full of fish-rich flavour the rice noodles were from the stock and the wet, braising style of frying. This is not a dish for those who can only handle fish fillets because the Red Snapper fish head is chopped into large pieces and has bones you’ll need a pretty nimble tongue to maneuver around. But those who can, are amply rewarded. The strips of bittergourd retain some bitterness and crunch which provide a welcome contrast to the bee hoon.
I really like the sambal chilli mixed with fresh-cut chilli padi and splash of soya sauce that’s served alongside. It really works for this stronger-in-fish-taste noodles.

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More like a sandwich really, the Cumin Burger was something I got for us to share. Its namesake spice permeated the minced pork strongly (you can choose a chicken version too). The bun was however, a bit too dry for me but I guess, that’s how it’s traditionally served in that part of China.

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The Xinjiang Chicken Noodle which I added as an afterthought, turned out to be surprisingly tasty. I found the spices in the chicken and potato stew in which the noodles were served, to smell like a mild version of the kind you’d find in a Ma La Xiang Guo. The noodles were basically the same as the Biang Biang one - very broad and pretty much neverending with the most addictive slightly silky and chewy texture.

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When I was at a friend’s home for mahjong yesterday, I was delighted to see that its central singapore location allowed me to order #biangbiangnoodlexianfamousfood on @grabfoodsg. This is a stall I have had on my wishlist for a while.
Between the Spicy and Non-Spicy versions of their signature Biang Biang Noodles which I chose to have with Tomato, Egg and Pork; we all preferred the former. However, since the heat level was really manageable and I’d like it dialed up considerably, I shall request for Extra Spicy next time. If you adore garlic, you are in for a treat because there’s chunks of it in there.

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Next to Fried Hokkien Mee, Chai Tow Kway and Chicken Rice, I reckon #WantonMee is one of the most subjective of hawker dishes out there. Everyone has a favourite stall they swear by, and are more than happy to list the evidence as to why it is so whenever the topic is tabled. Of course, there are no right and wrong answers because at the end of the day, our tastebuds simply gravitate towards the version we find most pleasing 😊.
Topping my own list of go-to’s when the craving hits is #JooChiatAhHuatWantonNoodle which is located in the basement of Dunman Road Food Centre. For those of you who’ve followed me on Instagram for a while, you’ve likely seen me share about it quite often on my Stories. Anyway, I’ve been a regular customer since they started because I had recognised the owner - he use to work side-by-side with the original ladyboss (I’m guessing they are related) of Hong Mao Wanton Mee when they were at Tembeling Road (I was such a huge fan!) before she retired and sold the business to a couple of her regular customers.
For me, Joo Chiat Ah Huat’s wanton mee tastes the same as Hong Mao’s. From the al dente noodles to the sauce (which is a bit darker than most) to the unique tangy chilli sambal, it’s a combination I enjoy immensely. While their lean slices of char siew are acceptable, their handmade wantons are scene-stealing with tastily-seasoned fillings and very smooth, soft skin. Our modus operandi is to add on an order of their wanton soup to share, so we can feast on more of those silky parcels. A plate of this stall’s braised chicken feet is another must for us because they do an extremely tasty rendition that includes frying the chicken feet before braising them in an aromatic sauce concocted from sesame oil, black soya sauce and ginger.
If you plan on trying the food from here, my advice is to arrive early, like in the morning or before 1pm to be very safe. And be prepared to queue.

I have never had a “ma la xiang guo” with more “wok hei” than the one from “Wang Zai Kitchen” (stall #01-03 at Jalan Batu Food Centre). It’s definitely due to the hawker’s technique as well as the fact that he takes his time to fry. Together, they imbue whatever ingredients you choose with a tantalising “roasty” smokiness. That plus the crunchy pork lard I ALWAYS request for, propel their version of this popular highly-customisable dish to heights other stalls can only dream of.

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In anticipation of the “No Dining In” rule which comes into effect on 16th May for a month, here’s a dish worth adding to your list for takeaway/delivery as it travels well and is immensely satisfy.
The Seafood Soup by #yanjigourmetseafood in the basement of Far East Plaza isn’t something new and many of you probably know about it already but for those who don’t, here is a rich, concentrated and deeply flavourful seafood soup, this is hard to beat. They offer several variations of it, so there is bound to be one that suits you. The Toman Seafood Soup ($14) is one of our preferred but since we don’t like dealing with prawn shells, we always ask for our crustaceans to be swopped out for the housemade meat patties or fish maw. If you aren’t into Toman, there’s Dory, Batang and Grouper too (at different price points of course). The fish slices aren’t that thick but the good thing is they taste fresh. Rice is charged separately at $1 a portion.

Orders can be placed by calling 6369 0988.

“Mee Pork Tah” from “Boon Wah Fishball Noodles” (#01-42) - I wasn’t expecting much from my $3 bowl but ended up slurping it with gusto. The noodles were cooked perfectly al dente, and the fishballs, were large and bouncy. I wished there was more chew to the minced meat but if you like it soft and “powdery”, theirs will please. Interestingly, the chilli sambal was not the usual sweet style. Instead, it’s savoury and there was a pleasant grittiness to it. The lady who prepared my order told me her mum-in-law made it. I didn’t find the sambal very spicy, so do ask for extra if you prefer your noodles to pack a big kick. Soup is clear and quite plain. So unless you like that style, I think it’s better to get the dry version here.

When it comes to Putu Piring, I still prefer to get my fix at @haigroadputupiring’s original location - stall #01-07 inside Haig Road Market & Food Centre. It’s probably psychological but I have always thought their freshly-steamed light rice flour discs filled with thick and gooey gula melaka taste the best. The piece de resistance has to be their grated coconut flakes which never fail to be moist and almost-juicy.

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