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Hawker Hits

Hawker Hits

In a land full of glorious hawker nosh, it's hard to find the best of them. This is a list of my best finds.
Russell Leong
Russell Leong

Chinese herbal soups are rarely ever insta-glamorous, but they are certainly instantly comforting. He.Brews, the brother outlet of, SALT at Old Airport, brews up herbal double boiled soups. Their herbal chicken soup is a warm, comforting hug when you’re down and out. It’s a little too sweet for my palate, but there’s no denying it’s wonderful wholesomeness.⠀

It’s heartily herbal and ravishingly redolent, and the soup isn’t too oily despite it’s excellent flavour. According to the old guy manning the stall, the herbal chicken soup is slowly simmered low & slow for thirty six hours, which is why the depth of flavour is immense.⠀

The chicken leg was sous vide separate from the soup, which is why the meat is tender instead of mushy, which would be the case if the chicken was simmered in the soup. Overall, it’s a simple soup, but quite wholesome for the body.

The world famous Liao Fan/Hawker Chan has been touted as the cheapest Michelin starred meal, which is true. However, it’s not the cheapest soya sauce chicken around town, but it’s definitely one of the best.⠀

$8.40 gets you a pretty big bowl of soya sauce chicken hor fun, and I added on a portion of char siew & roast pork for $4.20 each. The chicken skin is beautifully brown, sumptuously smooth & seasoned splendidly. The meat itself was moist & undeniably umami despite being a top quarter cut, and it’s quality was on par with the best in the business.⠀

Oddly enough, the char siew was the real rockstar here even though the soya sauce chicken was excellent. It was sweet & salty in all the right amounts, the char was just right with little spots of burnt crust, and the meat was majestically marbled with fantastic fat. Every bite was boundless bliss, with the tastefully thick slices of juicy pork providing plenty of pleasure with every bite.⠀

The roast pork was rather redolent as well, with a decently crackling rind, a flavoursome amount of well roasted fat, and superbly salted & spiced meat. It’s a piquant piece of pork that’s perfect for pigging out on, and I’m glad I ordered it.⠀

I never had the patience to try the original stall at Chinatown Complex. However, the franchises are decent enough despite a reported slump in standards compared to the original stall.

1 Like

Look man, all I’m saying is that @veronicaphua posts are highly dangerous. Why? Well, her posts about @haikeesg are the reason why I decided to get me half a soya sauce chicken ($16), a hearty serving of char siew ($10) and sio bak (roasted pork belly, also $10).⠀

But what about their food? Well, unfortunately, their soya sauce chicken was average at best. It was a touch overcooked, and was dry at the breasts. It relied a little too much on the accompanying sauce for flavour, and the meat itself wasn’t particularly memorable. The silky skin was a nice touch though.⠀

What you’re really here for is their palate perfect porcine. The char siew was delightfully fatty in all the right places, and was stupendously sapid with just a little touch of sweetness in that caramelised crust. The spice rub & glaze on the char siew was already awesome, but the sio bak was on another plane of existence altogether.⠀

The five spice fragrace was pleasant & perfumed the pork perfectly, and the pork itself was juicy, moist and sumptuously stellar. As for the skin...oh brother. It was crispy as a cracker, and so, so good. Incredibly enjoyable and irresistibly indulgent, I tell you what. Best yet, it was probably the sio bak with the least grease within that I’ve ever had.

As for the rice, it was fabulously fragrant and utterly unctuous. Cooked to perfection and bustling with the aroma of the chicken fat & stock it was cooked in, Hai Kee has elevated plain ol’ white rice into an ascended form of carbohydrate. The chili was subtly sour & savagely spicy, and had enough garlic in it to kill Count Dracula. In short: that’s some good chicken rice chili, fam!

While @haikeesg certainly have a long way to go with their soya sauce chicken, they’re definitely one of the premier pork merchants in Singapore right now.

Havelock Blk 50 Fried Hokkien Mee (which is in abc market instead of havelock, ironically enough) is open from 8 in the morning till 1430 in the afternoon, while the more famous Yi Sheng takes the night shift from 1600 to 2200. Makes me wonder if they’ve got some kinda gentlemen’s agreement going on...

Ah yes, the important question. Which is better? Well, Blk 50’s Hokkien mee is drier and more savoury than Yi Sheng’s, and has more wok hei. However, Yi Sheng’s chili is clearly superior, but Block 50 ain’t no slouch in the chili department either.

Taste wise, both are rather redolent & soul satisfying. The biggest difference between the two is that I didn’t have to queue a full hour for Block 50, so I might just be a little more partial to Block 50.

2 Likes

White House Teochew porridge is not situated within a white house, ironically enough. However, what is certain is that their food is rustic yet redolent.

Their most famous dish would certainly be their braised duck, and after a quarter of a duck I can certainly see why. It’s not quite as tender as Soon Kee’s braised duck, but it’s tender enough and it’s splendidly savoury. Plus, the slices are cut satisfyingly thick and it’s a real joy to chew on. Really gives a whole lotta satisfaction, especially if you’ve got stress issues to chew through.

The other delicious dish they’ve got is their steamed squid. It’s fantastically fresh & it’s perfectly steamed, and it’s got the satisfying springiness of a fresh & competently cooked sotong to boot. Dressed with a splash of their homemade sour chili that hits all the right notes of sour, salty & spicy, it’s sumptuously sublime.

It may not be presidential level, but it’s definitely good ducking food.

3 Likes

Anyone who’s known me for a while will know of my predilection for orh luak (fried eggs, starch & oyster). Sadly, other than Ah Chuan who’s currently playing ‘Where’s Waldo’ with his ever changing hours, I haven’t really found any other orh luak that’s been stunningly stellar. That is until I stumbled upon Hougang Fried Oyster.

That gooey, greatly gratifying starch mixture is fried fantastically till it’s half gooey, half crispy before the egg goes in and is fried till slightly crispy and plenty fluffy. And that, ladies & gentlemen, is where the fresh, fat oysters come in. About ten of those briny, plumptious beauties are briefly fried before the whole hot mess is carelessly plated up, ready for a torrent of sharp, sourish chili sauce to drench it.

It does get too oily at the end, but there’s no denying the bountiful amounts of enjoyment derived from this ugly delicious plate of fried fabulousness. Besides, if it does get too rich at the end, just splash on more of that sapid, spicy and slightly sour chili sauce! For only five bucks, this is damn good eatin’.

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Dog goes woof, cow goes moo, duck goes...straight into my stomach. Soon Kee, which was at Longhouse for the better part of a decade before bouncing around and finally settling in Balestier, has been a family favourite for almost as long.

Their braising sauce is T H I C C and ultra unctuous and umami, and it goes well on the tender, delicious duck, the slightly dry but unquestionably delicious rice, the porridge, the noodles...yeah, it goes well on just about everything.

While my annoyance at the duck getting sliced up too thinly still goes unaddressed, the duck itself, despite having its texture somewhat marred, is smashingly savoury from being slowly boiled in that brilliant braising sauce. That sumptuous, sapid sauce just serves to heighten the gluttonous gratification of the duck.

Also, their fried chili is the best in Singapore. Slightly sweet, superbly savoury & rounded off with a feisty fire from the chili, it’s absolutely addictive and impossible to resist.

Is Soon Kee the best braised duck rice in Singapore? Yes, quite possibly so.

5 Likes

Depot Road Zhen Shan Mei has won the Michelin Bib Gourmand award for the fourth year straight, so naturally I had to go and investigate if it was worthy of the almost-Michelin star, or if someone somewhere had been paid off.

Based on taste alone, the answer would be a resounding “why the hell doesn’t this have a Michelin star yet?” The laksa gravy was quite possibly the richest, most luscious laksa gravy I’ve ever tasted. With just enough heat to get you hot & bothered, it was remarkably redolent.

Zhen Shan Mei definitely lost the chance for a star with their portion sizes, however. This is the five buck portion, and apparently someone thought it would be an absolutely hysterical practical joke to call it the ‘medium’. It ain’t nothin’ but a snack, lemme tell you that right now.

The four cockles within apparently suffered from crippling dwarfism, and the solitary shrimp was decidedly lonely. There’s an alright amount of shredded chicken within, which is definitely un-traditional af, and an attempt was made to compensate by giving a bit more tau pok.

It certainly seems that the six dollar portion would be the only way to go. Considering just how doggone delicious this luscious laksa is, it’s probably worth it.

5 Likes

At the recommendation of @that_dex & @coolheart, I waited for about an eternity and an hour on a Monday night for this legendary plate of $8 hokkien mee.

So how does Yi Sheng stack up to Hong Heng, which is my other favorite? Well, Hong Heng’s noodles are definitely more satisfyingly sapid, but Yi Sheng has Hong Heng beaten handily in the wok hei category.

However, the one thing that makes Yi Sheng’s Hokkien Mee so legendary is that supremely scintillating fried chili on the side. Powered up by the inclusion of ikan bilis into the marvelous mix, the chili has some serious pumped up kicks. Plus, it’s ridiculously redolent and absolutely addictive, and mixing it up with the noodles is what makes this hot mess so undeniably and unforgettably umami.

5 Likes

I’m real glad to say that Wow Wow West’s chicken chop is still real good eatin’ 10 years later. Unlike their once fantastic fish & chips which have suffered from an appalling drop in standards, their chicken chop is still a winner at $7.50.

The chicken chop is a bit on the skinny side, but the meat is juicy and superbly seasoned. The skin is done just right, with the sub-dermal layer of fat all cooked out and with charred bits in all the right spots. The chicken may have been thin in thickness, but the size is stellar and a surefire satisfier.

Not a fan of the crinkle cut fries getting changed to their more straight-laced counterparts, but alongside the slaw & the baked beans, it’s still an acceptable accoutrement. You could definitely do a lot worse for $7.50, kids.

6 Likes

Penyet Project is located in ABC Brickworks’ Muslim row, and is practically engulfed by all of its competitors offering ayam penyet. So how on earth does a stall run by two young Malay men manage to stand out from all other stalls run by makciks and enciks?

That’s simple, they make their fried chicken gloriously great. Just on looks alone, that juicy chicken leg is a stunner. But wait, there’s more! The batter encasing the chicken is absolutely amazing. It’s deep fried to perfection, and it’s titillatingly crispy. Better yet, the batter is thoroughly seasoned with a medley of Malay spices that makes it scintillatingly savory. The chicken within was decently moist and also superbly seasoned, and the skin is a delight to devour.

Of course, it wouldn’t be as outstanding as it currently is without that stellar, spicy sambal on the side. It’s perfectly balanced, as all things should be. It has enough spice to get you all hot and bothered, but it’s not overpowering and won’t obfuscate any of the other fabulous flavors on the plate. It’s spicy, savory and slightly sour, a perfect refinement to the awesome ayam penyet. The chicken rice on the side was redolent & rich, but a little too moist and soggy.

Chicken rice is brilliant, but I like ayam penyet more. It’s just that good, don’t @ me.

4 Likes

Whenever I am feeling low, I look around me and I know
there’s a place that will stay within me, wherever I may choose to go. I will always recall the stall where they serve up the best roast meats, and that is Fatty Cheong.

At $8 for the holy trinity of roast duck, roast pork & char siew, it’s a shocking steal. Y’all already know all about their fatty, smoky and savory char siew is, how unbelievably unctuous their sio bak is, and of course, y’all know all about that ridiculously redolent roast duck. But that dark, delicious gravy just holds it all together oh so perfectly, and floods the steamed rice with flavor.

This is home, truly, where I know I must eat. Where my dreams wait for me, where the gravy always flows.

7 Likes

Alcohol may not be good for my body, but my body is good for alcohol.

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