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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
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I know many people zero in on the dry version of the noodles here because this stall is well known for adding a lot of black vinegar to give a tangy flavour. But I find that the way they prepare the soup, so rich from the concentration of minced pork, makes the soup version of the noodles a winner.
You can taste the freshness of the ingredients in every bowl. Even if you don’t really like liver, you must give the ones here a chance because they are cooked perfectly and are very soft, almost creamy.

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Housed in a corner coffeeshop next to the huge Smith Street Market and Food Centre in Chinatown is this porridge institution. I have always gone there for their frog leg porridge but I tried the pork one last night and liked it very much too.
For $4.50, it sure was chockfull of sliced pork, meatballs, pig’s liver and intestines. The porridge itself was properly seasoned and fortunately, not too sludge-like. I am not fond of eating porridge that has the texture of wet cement.

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Although technically, it cannot really be considered as the healthiest thing. Especially not when the dishes picked include braised sesame oil chicken, “giam chye buay” (stewed preserved mustard greens) and “chai por nng” (fried egg with preserved radish).
I guess it is the simplicity of the hot, plain porridge (sometimes with sweet potato making a cameo) that has always given me the impression I am eating clean and light, and therefore, healthy.
Oh, the lies we tell ourselves 😂😂

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Fried one plate at a time, the “char kway teow” here has an intense smokiness, almost to the point of a charred fragrance. It is what blows me away about this hawker’s version of the dish. He also throws in crispy pork lard which in my opinion, is mandatory. Two kinds of vegetables are included - beansprouts and “chye sim”. I like how they give the noodles a bit of a lift and crunch.
Do note this stall does the Singapore-style of “char kway teow” which means a thick and sweet black sauce is drizzled in. Frankly, I prefer the savoury Penang style but because of the way this hawker does his frying, that sweet sauce gets to be a bit caramelised. The result is a very tasty plate of noodles I would queue for again.

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Introduced to me some time ago by Burpple Tastemaker @blueskiescottonclouds, this fish soup stall is one of those at Havelock Road Cooked Food Centre that I frequent when I am in the area. They offer a slightly wider variety than the usual, so besides the commonly found “batang” (Spanish mackerel), they have prawns and red grouper, as well as more unusual items such as fish roe and “shirako” (sperm sac).
My most recent order was red grouper with fish roe and “yee mee” for $8. For greens, I picked the bittergourd over the other leafy choices this time.
In case you are curious, the other carbs available are thick and thin beehoon and rice.

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Before “Da Dong Prawn Noodles” moved to Joo Chiat and stole my heart and stomach, it was “Wah Kee Big Prawn Noodles” at Pek Kio Market that ranked as my favourite stall to hit whenever I craved a good bowl of “hae mee” or 虾面. I would brace myself to brave the queue and the elderly lady who takes the orders (she is an interesting character) so as to indulge.
After at least a couple of years of not dining there, I dropped by the stall with my dad a few days ago. To my surprise, there was no queue and the same lady was chatty and full of smiles (“time to buy 4D”, my dad had commented under his breath). So we happily ordered a $5 bowl each. I opted for the dry version as I remember liking the savoury sambal chilli they tossed the noodles in. True enough, that was still shiok but the soup left me less impressed. It struck me as being all about prawns which I’m sure is why many love it, but I felt it tasted pretty one-dimensional personally. Perhaps the main reason for this is because I have gotten used to the thicker, more rounded style of broth at Da Dong’s which is boosted by the sweetness of pork bones as well.
But to be clear, I still found pleasure in my bowl of Wah Kee’s prawn noodles. It was good; just nowhere as mind-blowing as it was for me in the past.

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Unlike our local “chee cheong fun” which has a bit of springiness and is served with sesame oil, the Hong Kong version is a different thing altogether - it’s much thinner, softer and slightly sticky. Sesame oil is left out but a very light soya sauce is poured over the delicate steamed rice rolls instead.
My mum loves the one by this popular stall at Pek Kio Hawker Centre so my dad and I went over to take away some for her.
Theirs is worth queuing up for as it is truly very good. The texture is perfect, and the sauce they dress the “chee cheong fun” in is tasty too. I also enjoy the savoury sambal chilli included on the side.

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With a reputation that precedes itself, I was looking forward with great excitement to having the Mee Soto at “Inspirasi” again (it’s been many years since my last visit). My order of mixed mee and beehoon was huge, and came with large pieces of shredded chicken, lots of crunchy beansprouts and coriander. Of course I had to add on their famous bergedil (a deliciously seasoned mashed potato patty). Although the broth wasn’t as thick in consistency as I remember it to be (or maybe I’m mistaken), it was very tasty indeed. Especially after I threw in a bit of their lethal chilli sauce.

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My favourite seafood soup at stall #01-122 inside Old Airport Road Hawker Centre has undergone a name change. It’s now rebranded as @oarseafoodsoup which I think it rather clever as “OAR” alludes to the sea which is the source of the ingredients, and it also happens to be the acronym for “Old Airport Road”.
Because it is basically a takeover of the business by the same guys who have been doing the cooking since day one of the previous brand, I found the taste to be extremely similar.
My order today was the $12 Red Snapper Seafood Soup which came with big pieces of the fish (on-bone), the familiar huge, chunky meatballs and fish maw (I asked for the default prawns to be replaced as I didn’t fancy peeling them) in the signature concentrated broth. If you like your soup even sweeter, I was told that you should stick to the crustacean. Oh and another thing I noticed is they give more of that incredible soup now.
Although the taste isn’t strictly identical, I think OAR Seafood Soup’s recipe is as close as anyone can possibly get to the original. And frankly, that’s good enough for me to want to return for more.

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The cheapest Michelin star dish in Singapore and purportedly, the world, is a humble plate of Cantonese-style soya sauce chicken from “Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle”.
It is served with either rice or noodles and most people seem to opt for the latter but I prefer the former. Even though it comes splashed with the same dark sauce used to cook the chicken, I find rice more ideal as it’s a less intrusive sidekick to the juicy, tender flesh of the fragrant and very flavourful chicken.
If you want a more authentic dining experience, I recommend checking out the original hawker stall located inside Chinatown Smith Street Market and Food Centre located at 335 Smith Street #02-126. Be prepared to queue though.

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After the lunch at two-months-old “Banh Mi Thit” left us feeling rather underwhelmed, Burppler Dex Neo suggested we visit “Sia Kee Duck Rice”, a stall he has had on his Burpple wishlist, for lunch part two. So we walked less than half a kilometre down Geylang Road to the corner Sin Huat Eating House where the stall is located and in the spirit of true foodies everywhere, over-ordered.
That’s how we ended up with a platter piled with half a duck (very tender of flesh), duck liver (superbly creamy), braised eggs, “tau kwa” (this was the best!) and fish cake topped with sweet, soft peanuts, cuttlefish and blanched bean sprouts. Over it all went the distinctive aromatic and tasty thick braising sauce.
Tucking into this goopy-licious heap of protein lifted up our spirits. Coupled with the extremely cheery service from the Oh brothers - Ron, Laurence and Albert, who co-own and operate “Sia Kee Duck Rice”, we couldn’t help but be all smiles by the time we left.

Basic with effort. The traditional local breakfast of “Fried Beehoon” gets a little extra with the customer’s pick of freshly fried, handmade toppings, getting served on a separate plate.
The taste of this dish and everything else at “China Street Cooked Food Rickshaw Noodles” (stall #01-87) is undeniably old-school. They still serve their namesake of “Rickshaw Noodles”, a bowl of rather mushy Hokkien yellow noodles in a broth with bits of pork and vegetables. What makes it special is it was created decades ago by this stall’s founder to fuel the bellies of the hungry rickshaw pullers who gathered at Jinrickisha Station, the largest depot for rickshaws, just across the road.
So if you are feeling nostalgic and fancy a little time-travel, this would be a good stall to check out.

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Can't cook to save my life but boy, can I eat! 😄 (I pay for all my meals unless otherwise stated)

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