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

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.

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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.

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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 plated for 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Fatty Cheong has opened up a new noodle stall right at the back of ABC Hawker Center, and for five bucks, you too could get a plate of sapid shui gao (soup wonton) hor fun.

While the shui gaos aren’t the best as the skin is too thick, it’s still quite quaint in its own right. Due to the generosity of Fatty Cheong (who I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume is the owner), those shui gaos are pretty plump and sensationally superb. The hor fun is done al dente, and the standard issue chili is rather redolent and spicy. Of course, Fatty Cheong’s sinfully stellar char siew makes everything better.

Hey, if you liked the noodles at the OG stall, you’re gonna love this one.

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Hong Kong Soy Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle is new chicken rice stall in ABC market, and yet another one with Hong Kong in their name just to add to the confusion. But the real question is: do they have their chicken game on point?

On first inspection, it doesn’t look that impressive. The guy brandishing the chopper is sadly lacking in terms of knife skills, as the chicken drumstick is viciously hacked into uneven portions. The chicken’s already dead my dude, there’s really no need to chop it up like that.

That’s where it all gets better though. The chicken was juicy and full of flavor, and the skin was well and truly impregnated with the sapid soy sauce the bird was stewed in. Better yet, the herbal and satisfyingly savory sauce is splashed over the plate of chicken rice, giving you that extra kick of deliciousness.

The char siew, while losing outright to Fatty Cheong’s, is still superb char siew in its own right. Moist, fatty and delicious with a slight tinge of sweetness from the honey in the marinade, you’d be robbing yourself if you didn’t try it.

For a grand total of five bucks, this is some good eatin’ right here at ABC.

I’m gonna be honest, I’m kinda addicted to soya sauce chicken. So it really was kinda inevitable that as I was walking down Bugis with an empty stomach, I would end up eating Choo Chiang’s magnificent meats. According to the assorted newspaper clippings, they used to be located in Yishun, so I suspect that they could very well be the long lost roast meats stall I used to frequent a lifetime ago.

The soya sauce chicken was tender, juicy and terrifically tasty. The thick sauce was healthily herbal and full of savory flavors, and there’s a generous amount of marvelous meat to go around. The roast pork was another winner, with its well cooked fat and thoroughly seasoned meat. Of course, the crackling was the main event, and it was unarguably stellar. Crunchy and utterly smashing, when you bite into a slice of siew yoke, everyone within a five meter radius is gonna know about it.

The char siew could give all the other roast meats stalls out there a hell of a run for their money, save for the fact that the guy swinging the cleaver has the aim of a bad guy in an 80’s action movie. The superb slices of char siew are very unevenly sliced, one slice would be paper thin while the next would be supremely chunky. Of course, everyone knows that when you slice char siew too thin, the texture is ruined.

Fortunately, there were a few joyously thick slices of char siew, and I can confirm that they are truly tender and incredibly moist. The mildly sweet and stunningly savory seasoning lathered onto the meat pre roasting has thoroughly infused every last molecule of meat, and every bite was a truly sapid sensation.

Only problem is that this three meat combo will set you back by a whopping $9.50, so expect your wallet to get absolutely pounded. While there’s far better value out there, Choo Chiang’s meats have me firmly aboard the taste train to Flavortown.

2 Likes

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

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