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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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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.

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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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When I was filming for a Japanese TV programme at Maxwell Food Centre, I chanced upon this stall. According to the friendly ladyboss Ah Hui, her “chee cheong fun” (steamed rice rolls) are made based on her family recipe and produced by a supplier according to her specifications. There are actually two kinds - the tubular style which is served simply dressed in one of three traditional sauces, and the flatter design that she uses in her fancier versions of curry and laksa “cheong fun”. These were the two I decided to try.
Priced at $4 each, they come in a paper bowl and are topped with different ingredients. The curry “cheong fun” has items similar to what you can find at “yong tau fu” stalls including a tasty beancurd skin with cuttlefish paste, while the laksa version contains the classics of hardboiled egg, fishball and beancurd skin rolls. Both of the gravies aren’t too thick nor spicy, which should suit most people’s palates. They also don’t steal the thunder from the soft and silky rice rolls which at the end of the day, is the star here.
When I return, my next target will be the tubular “chee cheong fun” in sesame sauce.

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Although this place is famous for their pig’s organs soup, heaven help us if we were going to only order that. Our unscheduled stop at a quaint tea shop where the owner treated us to an impromptu tea-tasting session had led to a couple of us being “ahem” close to fainting (sorry @alicia.kho @rainraineeataway 😅). So a pig-out session was in order.
Besides the aforementioned signature soup, we also got a big bowl of pig’s trotter stewed in vinegar, claypot sesame oil chicken, a serving of “mei cai” (preserved vegetable - @that_dex was right, theirs is exceptional), some fresh green vegetables in oyster sauce and bowls of “lu rou fan” (braised pork belly rice). The food was every bit as good as it’s reputed to be but I do wish their chilli dip was a lot more ballsy.

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Clicking open the eDM from @morselsinsingapore caused me a serious case of “heart eyes” accompanied by a side of racing pulse. Their “Wonton Mee”, a noodles special for the week, looked too enticing to miss. So I made like an aerodynamic packet of tissue and reserved via Chope.
Some might baulk at the $28++ price tag but I say this set is worth every damn cent because aside from the egg noodles which are custom-made by a trusted supplier according to Chef-owner Petrina’s specifications, the rest of the ingredients are produced in-house by her and her team. Needless to say, tastiness is unequivocally next level.
Laid on the fine strands of noodles which have been tossed in pork lard oil, mirin and herbal soya sauce is a neat arrangement of juicy, tender slow-cooked pork jowl “char siew”, wontons filled with kimchi-flavoured minced pork, blanched greens and crispy pork lard.
If you can take the heat, mix in all of the green paste served on the side. Created from jalapeños, local chillies, parsley and fresh lime juice, it spikes the contents of your bowl into a fragrant, mouthwatering and very spicy pleasure.
Everyone knows #wontonmee must come with a bowl of soup and Morsels’ take is a luxuriously thick, MSG-free chicken broth so delicious it will have you wishing for more.
If you are keen to try this dish, do note it is available till the 18th of Feb but will return in March due to the rotation basis of Morsels’ noodles menu. I recommend following their Facebook or getting on their emailing list to be kept updated.

Stall #01-27 is “Siam Thai Kitchen” and the middle-aged couple helming it does made-to-order Thai “zichar” dishes.
I wouldn’t say the food here is fantastic or that authentic, but it is acceptable if you are at the hawker centre and find yourself in the mood for Thai food.
My mum likes their olive fried rice ($5) but I prefer the taste of their Pad Thai kway teow stirfried with chicken ($4.50). Eaten with the various condiments of dried chilli flakes, fresh-cut chilli padi and pickled green chillies, it‘s pretty tasty with tender pieces of chicken. But the dish could have done with less oil.

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Putu Mayam was a childhood favourite breakfast item of mine. I think it‘s how it is eaten—tearing up a bite-size piece of the stringy rice flour pancake at a time, dabbing it in the neon bright orange sugar and sprinkling on the freshly grated coconut—that had me so enthusiastic. The simplicity of its taste was also a draw.
Nowadays, when I get a craving, I visit “G.S. Oli Thosei and Food Stall“ at Geylang Serai Market for my fix. Besides their ultra-fine-strand Putu Mayam, they also do a very good Appam, as well as Thosai (the made-to-order cheese and egg one that Burppler Jayne Tan ordered was fabulous). Early risers can also try the stall’s Roti Jala. I have not yet had it myself because unfortunately, it’s always sold out by the time I’m there.

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This Chinese-owned and run hawker stall at Kaki Bukit Market & Food Centre does brisk business for their satay and barbecued chicken wings. Every time I visit with my parents, I see them hustlin’ non-stop to get the ever-growing pile of orders ready.
Although they offer three kinds of satay (pork, mutton and chicken), it’s the poultry that we usually order. I like the size they cut the chicken meat to - thin enough for the marinade to be fully saturated yet thick enough for a satisfying bite. The skin and fat are absent but the meat in this case, never needs any help. It‘s unerringly smoky, full in flavour and tender enough. Do get a portion of their “ketupat” (steamed rice cakes) to accompany. They do a soft one that goes nicely with their satay.
I have had the barbecued chicken wings from “Chong Pang” numerous times too and have always found them good. They are consistent in quality with no unevenness in grilling, and have none of the frozen-for-too-long smell that you get with some stalls’. Served with the wings is a tangy chili dip with kick.
Another plus point: The stall has a buzzer system so there is no need to stand around the stall to wait for your food.

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Isn’t it so cool that many versions of “Rojak” exist? And they differ hugely too. Due to the influence of my late maternal grandmother who enjoyed it a lot, I have a soft spot for Indian Rojak especially. It’s one of the few hawker dishes she always requested me to takeaway for her on a regular basis. In those days, I would buy it from a stall at Bedok Bus Interchange food centre as it was a convenient stop on my way back from school, and we would eat it together the moment I got home. Time has smudged out the name of the stall from my memory but I can still remember theirs was very tasty.

The one shown above was bought by my parents from Geylang Serai Market and Food Centre, and it’s good too. I like that every item tastes freshly prepared and the sweetish dipping sauce has enough spiciness to keep me happy. They do their fritters crunchy and pack a decent amount of small prawns within. Furthermore, they don’t stinge on the complimentary lettuce, cucumber and purple onions.

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Salted egg fans, you will love this! The sauce is really thick, rich and creamy, and they use plenty of it (plus some curry leaves and chilli padi) to stir-fry whatever ingredients you choose from the display in the refrigerated cabinet. As a finishing touch, complimentary pieces of crispy fish skin are scattered all over.
I had picked mostly vegetables, beancurd items, sliced pork belly and instant noodles myself, and after being stirfried, these amounted to a gigantic bowl that cost $14.50 and could be shared between 2 to 3 pax. When carrying the bowl from the stall to my table, and even whilst I was in the middle of eating, people actually stopped me to ask where I had gotten the dish from. I guess it is hard to ignore something so big, tasty looking and wafting with good smells.
All credit for the discovery of @threegoodguys must be given to @marketkitchentable. He had messaged me about them on Instagram just when lunch plans were being tabled at the Burpple office. Honestly, his timing couldn’t have been better.
Anyway, “Three Good Guys” (translated from “三个好人”) is located on the upper level of Beach Road Hawker Centre at stall unit #01-108.
Barely a week old, it’s opened and run by a trio of young Singaporeans who had met at their previous workplace (nope, not a food-related company). Actually, none of them have any F&B background (so try and be patient if your order takes a little longer to be ready) but they do strike me as being savvy with their catchy branding and display signs. One of them shared with me their target customers are not Chinese nationals but young locals, which is why although their set-up resembles most “Ma La” stalls, their aim is to serve what is “trending“. Hence, besides “Ma La”, they offer their own superb Salted Egg Sauce for now, are planning to introduce more options in the future.

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This is a classic example of when your head says no but your belly says yes.
Had it at “Maddie’s Kitchen”, a 6-months-old eatery on level 5 of Far East Plaza over the weekend and I liked it more than the one by a certain eatery chain found around Singapore.
The pork was tender and properly braised, the savoury stewed cabbage, appropriately mushy, and the fried egg, done on point with a frilly edge and runny yolk (I love that it also came with a drizzle of sweetish, thick soya sauce).
As much as the curry appealed to me (it’s pretty fragrant and not at all sticky nor starchy), I was glad it got splashed only on the rice and didn’t drown everything on the plate.
If you are in the area and decide to visit ”Maddie’s Kitchen”, don’t forget to order the “Oyster Omelette” ($10.80 nett). Technically, it is on the dinner menu but you can try asking nicely and the kitchen team isn’t being swept off their feet, you might get lucky.

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Long before “Famous Sungei Road Trishaw Laksa” gained fame and the inevitable long queues, I use to frequent it as I‘d been drawn to the fact that Uncle Soo uses “real fruit juice” in his Mee Siam broth. Yes, in spite of the stall’s name, and having eaten his Laksa and Mee Rebus (he sells those too), I have always remained most fond of his Mee Siam.
When I dropped by today to have it again after more than a year, it’s still the broth that wows. It has a wonderful spark of distinct freshness and gentle sourness that makes it completely different from others. I ordered the $5 bowl which is suppose to come with prawns, fish cake and chicken but I requested for the chicken to be left out. Call me a selective purist but I didn’t think that white meat had any business being in there. Come to think of it, neither does fish cake but oh well. Anyway, I still enjoyed the dish but truth be told, it’s really the part I can slurp that keeps me enchanted.

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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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