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

Normally nobody would think of combining oysters with egg and starch, much less frying it all together. So everytime I have a plate of oily, gluttonously gratifying orh luak, I thank the madman who combined all of these into a fried, greasy and delicious mess all those years ago.⠀

Tanglin has some weird ass operating hours in ABC Market. Yeah I know, ABC has a peculiarly high amount of stalls in it that are named after other suburbs in Singapore. Anyway, Tanglin the fried carrot cake & fried oyster stall opens for breakfast, is closed at lunch, and reopens for dinner. Perhaps it’s so that the old owners can get a nice siesta to recharge, but what I do know is that the closure at lunch pays off, as it keeps the owners fresh and ready to churn out piquant plates of fried deliciousness at night.⠀

This plate of orh luak isn’t the most outstanding one in Singapore, but it’s rather close. An ample amount of crispy bits are intermingled with the gooey, sticky potato(?) starch mixture that has turned into something akin to gelatin after a stint in the whopper of a wok. Tanglin’s rendition is definitely the eggiest one of them all, with an awesome abundance of egg streaked throughout the dish. ⠀

Of course, about eight to ten fresh and plump oysters are the highlights of this dish. The mollusks were there to explode & release their creamy, briny payload alongside a mishmash of starch that had gone crisp, the fluffy egg, and the gooey & delightfully carb-y starch. Of course, this much grease & starch will get overbearing, so their sumptuously sour & scintillatingly spicy chili sauce is a must have on this dish. And on the side too.

Seng Kee is probably the most famous steamed fish head in hot sauce merchant in Chinatown Complex, and with very good reasons. Firstly, this titanic fish head is fifteen bucks nett. Secondly, it’s incredibly fresh, and the sauce it’s been steamed in is decently delicious. ⠀

The sauce seems to be soya sauce & fermented bean paste blended together into a watery yet savoury sauce, combined with a generous helping of garlic and just a smattering of chili. The flavour profile is definitely deeply umami, with just a little hint of spice & a little appetising sweetness. The hot sauce ain’t quite so hot, but it’s stunningly sapid. ⠀

Combined with the fresh, firm & flaky fish which is probably batang (Spanish Mackerel), this is a fabulous investment at just $15. While it won’t go to the moon like Doge, the sensational flavours will send you over the moon.

The foodcourt in the basement of Anchorpoint Shopping Centre is a failure, seeing that the ratio of shuttered stalls to operating stalls is about two to one. However, Pizza Pazza is quite the success, especially considering its sumptuous seafood baked rice ($8.80 nett).⠀

The dish isn’t particularly deep, but it is W I D E. The foundation of rice is amalgamated with an ambrosial mushroom & garlic cream sauce, which turns these grains into something reminiscent of risotto. A seafood salmagundi is cooked competently before getting incorporated into the redolent rice, and the entire pan is blanketed in shredded cheese. The contents of the pan are then broiled till the cheese turns into a caramelised stretchy, gloriously gooey mess, and you’ve got some brilliant baked rice.⠀

Not gonna lie, my expectations were firmly set at zero, but I found myself enthralled by the stellar seafood baked rice. Every component is as it should be, from the mushroom & garlic cream sauce being a perfect balance of salty & creamy, while the passably fresh seafood is cooked perfectly, and the molten cheese was pure perfection.⠀

As Pizza Pazza has proven with this baked rice, getting baked is a lot more fun when you’ve got lots of cheddar to burn.

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123 Seafood is one of the three zi char stalls that pride themselves on steamed fish head in hot sauce in that chaotic corner of Chinatown Complex. While many may recognise the other two fish head stalls instead, 123 does serve a rather quaint interpretation of hot sauce fish head.⠀

The sauce in question is a very interesting cross between sour plum and peanut butter. It’s nutty, tangy, slightly sweet & spicy. It’s not particularly salty, and it’s more sweet & sour than anything else. As for the Song fish head, it was a little past peak freshness, but the flesh was still acceptably supple. The fish flesh was steamed to perfection, retaining its moist flakiness that combined with the viscous sweet & sour sauce surprisingly well. Plus, there are ultra crispy deep fried lard cubes for an extra oomph & crunch to the dish.

For fifteen bucks nett, this is a great example of why Singapore’s hawker culture has been designated as intangible cultural heritage. Delicious, satisfying heritage.

@hawkermansg at @kedaikopisg sends out the best, most titillating noods, but it’s all a hundred percent halal. And two hundred percent piquant, just in case you were wondering. At $4.50 for this here plate of comely char kway teow, it’s a prime example of why Singapore’s hawker culture is officially designated as cultural heritage by unesco.⠀

It’s cheap, but it’s deliriously delicious. Sure, it’s missing the blood cockles that usually make or break a plate of CKT, but everything else is absolutely spot on. The flat kway teow & the thick egg noodles are slick and smooth with the right amount of chew. The carbs are well incorporated with fluffy scraps of omelette, and there’s an abundance of fishcake slices & chicken lup cheong (preserved Chinese sausages) within. Still, I would’ve liked to see some shrimp in there to replace the absent cockles. ⠀

The whole shebang is felicitously fried in a wok to load it with an acceptably ambrosial amount of wok hei, and then it’s ready to tantalise many a tastebud. I know it definitely tantalised mine, so send me more noods please. JUST SEND IT⠀

Thanks for having me, @kedaikopisg, @hawkermansg, @aricjayden & @esth3r_esth3r!

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Meatless Mondays? Nah fam, round here, we do MEATY Mondays. Meat, meat and MOAR MEAT. While the Arabs have their kebabs, we got our scintillating satays here in Singapore, and Joy Satay at the newly established @kedaikopisg does ‘em excellently.⠀

For $0.70 a stick, we got mutton, beef & chicken on a stick, and each prawn on a stick cost us two bucks. The mutton satay was plenty piquant with minimal offensive gaminess, and the spice marinade had fully & irreversibly bonded with the meat. Better yet, it was tender, joyously juicy, and didn’t require a tug of war to slide off the skewer. Ditto for the beef & chicken as well, and the satay sauce might just be the most stellar satay sauce in the history of satay sauces. THICC, nutty and loaded with the perfect balance of sweet & salty, Gimme More by Britney became my theme song while smashing dat sauce.⠀

The big boi bbq prawns were acceptably fresh, and had a delectable smoky finish thanks to the grill. Sure, it needed a generous sprinkling of salt, but all was well the minute I drowned it in that scintillating satay sauce. Joy Satay is a hot-tay, and you can take that to the bank.⠀

Thanks for having me, @esth3r_esth3r, @aricjayden & @kedaikopisg!⠀

@kedaikopisg is a fully halal coffeeshop, so of course they serve up mouthwatering Malay staples like nasi goreng. But Banana Grill doesn’t just do normal nasi goreng, oh hell naw. They fry up the best damn seafood nasi goreng, and then gingerly wrap it in a banana leaf. That’s right fellas, it’s a present, and it’s a positively palatable one at that.⠀

Fluffy, well separated grains of (basmati? I don’t remember fam) rice are well acquainted with a subtle yet scintillating sambal in a devilishly hot wok, and is buffed with the inclusion of well beaten eggs that morph into omelettes by the end of the cooking cycle. But of course, it wouldn’t be seafood nasi goreng without the seafood, and so a generous bevy of squid, shrimp & sliced fishcakes are incorporated into the marvellous mound of fried carby deliciousness. Oh, and watch out for the slices of chili, which are there are extra spice bombs.⠀

At $9.90 for this Banana Leaf Seafood Fried Rice that will feed two, this is dish is perfect for using as a gauge for your potential wife fellas. Hear ye young kings, for I preach unto thee from the Gospel of Future: if you present her with this piquant present & she receives it eager, she’s a keeper. If she throws a fit, she belongs to the streets.⠀

Thanks for hosting me, @esth3r_esth3r & @kedaikopisg!

You can (almost) never go wrong with the timeless classic combination of potato, meat, sauce & cheese, but Tenderbest does it remarkably well. These brilliant Bolognese fries comprise thin straight cut French fries getting absolutely drenched in a delicious deluge of bolognese sauce, liquid cheese, and mayonnaise for that extra calorie hit.⠀

The only real improvements that could be made here are to ditch the thin spuds for THICC crinkle cut fries that will absorb every last spot of sauce, and of course, MOAR SSSSAAAAUUUSSSE. They don’t call me the SAUS BAWS for no reason, y’know. I can’t tell if the meat in the bolognese is beef or chicken, but I do know that it’s one hundred percent halal, and it’s two hundred percent perfect. Tomato-y, salty, sweet, and majestically meaty, this sauce is simply scintillating.⠀

This may have been intended as a sharing dish, but these bolognese fries are so fabulous I’m enforcing severe social distancing measures on the whole lot of y’all.⠀

Thanks for (over)feeding us, @kedaikopisg & @aricjayden, and @esth3r_esth3r for letting me tag along!

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Tenderbest falls under the purview of @tenderfreshsg, and Tenderfresh has been in operation since the late seventies. They’ve been consistently cooking up fantastic fried chicken as well as redolent roasted chicken since then. With more than forty years of experience in excellence, it was never in any doubt that our nine piece family set ($25.90) was gonna be sublime sumptuousness.⠀

Each colossal chicken cut was tender, juicy and chock full of fabulous flavours. It was supremely savoury, and the fat under the skin had been fully rendered out, leaving behind salty, crispy chicken skin that amplified the ambrosial awesomeness of this fried fowl.⠀

Forget the colonel, Tenderbest is the Commander in Chief of all things chicken related.


TRIGGER WARNING: Italians, look away now.⠀

Okay, now that the Italians have left for their own sanity, it’s time to introduce Indulge @ Tanglin Halt’s carbonara. I strongly suspect that it’s made with cream as many other ‘carbonaras’ are, but did you really expect to get the traditional blend of egg yolks, parmigiano reggiano, and guanciale for eight bucks?⠀

What I do know is that this is a sufficiently satiating plate of pasta. Unlike the alfredo, there’s a complexity to this from the bacon, extra egg yolk, and of course, the cream sauce. Bacon makes everything better, and that applies here as well. The saltiness from the bacon has bled into the sauce, giving it a meaty, slightly smoky saltiness. The extra egg yolk adds an extra silky smoothness to the pasta, plus an additional richness that’s a little unnecessary but I ain’t complaining.⠀

Y’all already know about the excellence of the grilled dory fish fillet, and you can add one of these palatable pretties to your carbonara for an extra custom of four dollars. For twelve bucks, this is most definitely a very inauthentic taste of Italia, but I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t gratifying.


I promised y’all a pasta review today so y’all getting a pasta post today. This isn’t my first visit to Indulge, which was formerly @ Tanglin Halt but is now @ Commonwealth. The funniest part about all this is that they relocated from Tanglin Halt Market to...Tanglin Halt Food Centre. Yeah. Don’t ask, I don’t know either.⠀

Besides the name & location change, then intervening years seem to have mellowed out the chef/owner as well. Long gone is that notorious ‘don’t you dare order until we acknowledge your existence’ warning sign, and the owner was amiable enough to chat with us as we devoured his pastas. ⠀

So, about those pastas. I ordered the grilled dory with alfredo pasta for a grand total of $8.50. That’s it, that’s the ingredient list. I agree, it’s a little too simple and would benefit from an extra ingredient or two. However, the pasta is amazingly al dente, and even though the alfredo was lacking in salt, the pasta was delicious enough to demolish in short order.⠀

The real winner here is the grilled dory. In contrast to the alfredo sauce, it was seasoned splendidly, and is pan grilled with expert precision. The exterior sports a scintillating sear, while the inside is criminally flaky & moist. That’s really all you need for a fabulous fish, but the mayonnaise on the side augments the delicious dory by adding a rich, tantalising creaminess to the fish.⠀

I don’t know how I managed to wax lyrical about a simple dish of fish & spaghetti, but I suspect the four pints of beer I just pounded down might’ve turned me into prime Oscar Wilde. What I do know, however, is that I need to get back there to have myself more affordable, piquant pastas. Stat.

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An An Roast, which recently got down to business last month at the long deceased Salute coffeeshop, isn’t actually new. It’s a rebranding of the old Weiqiang Roasted Delights from 628 Senja Road. So, this ain’t their first rodeo, and the meats certainly prove that point.⠀

While I would’ve appreciated the delicious duck a bit more if they’d properly rendered the fat from underneath the skin, it’s still a damn delectable duck drumstick. Sure, it’s a lil too fatty under the skin but hey, aren’t we all. However, the salt & spices used in the preparation & marination had absolutely permeated every molecule of meat, resulting in some fantastically flavourful fowl.⠀

The roast pork belly (siobak) was a bit of a letdown, as the rind wasn’t particularly crispy, instead being a little limp. Sure, the pork was sufficiently seasoned with spices & the like, but the crackling failed to live up to its name. The char siew, on the other hand...hoo mah gawd.⠀

It had a ludicrously luscious marinade/glaze slathered all over, and the pork was impregnated with all that mellow tastiness. It was roasted just right, and was about a 60/40 split between fat & meat. That’s a goddamn heart attack waiting to happen, but hey I’m here for a good time not a long time. It’s not quite on par with Fatty Cheong’s char siew, but it will give Fatty’s a damn good run for its money.⠀

The fried chili sauce was way too salty, and I left it out of my demolition of this redolent plate of Chinese roast meat. An An may not be a world beater, but all this delicious decadence only cost me $8.50. Now that’s what I call value!

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

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