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

Look, I know @roastparadise has been slinging out highly acclaimed roast meats since…2016? 2017? Yes, they’ve been around for years, and it’s only in 2023 that I’ve finally cleared my calendar to sample their sustenance.⠀

Their claim(s) to fame are their char siew (BBQ pork) & siew yoke (crispy roast pork), so it was only right that I get both greatest hits with rice ($5.50 a bowl). The rice was subtly flavoured, almost like a slightly bland chicken rice, and it’s definitely a slight upgrade on regular ol’ white rice. As for the meats, the char siew retained a surprisingly excellent texture & chew despite being chopped into small bits. The exterior of the char siew, which was lovingly lathered with copious amounts of char siew marinade, transformed into a crisp crust cocooning the fatty pork within. The charred exterior is crisp and it will stick to your teeth.⠀

As for the pork itself, it was insanely fatty, and I could see it getting surfeiting after a couple of servings. Still, the meat was more than amply flavoured thanks to the char siew marinade penetrating deep into every meaty morsel, and the amount of fat was a tad overkill when it came to lubing up the mouthwatering meat. Unfortunately, the roast pork performed poorly. It was chopped into such thin slices that the crunch of the beautifully browned rind was wasted, and a porky musk permeated the fat on the pork. Bit of a shame really.⠀

In all fairness though, at just $5.50 a bowl for both roast pork variants over rice, it’s quite an economical deal. Plus, Roast Paradise has got cabbage soup that you’re more than welcome to help yourself to. Roast Paradise might be sorta overhyped, but don’t let that distract from the fact that their char siew is mad decent.

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I’ve only ever had @liaofanhawkerchan at one of their restaurant outlets before, and while I thought the soya sauce chicken was decent enough, it sure as hell didn’t deserve a Michelin star. This time, while wandering through Chinatown Complex, I noticed that the OG, original stall had a queue of three as opposed to the usual queue of fifty three. Well, it was a no brainer then, it was time to inspect how and why Liao Fan earned that coveted Michelin star.⠀

At six dollars & fifty cents flat for this plate of soya sauce chicken drumstick with an additional soya sauce wing, it certainly is an economical meal in a Singapore suffering from eight percent GST (not success). Not only is it an economical meal, it’s an excellent meal too. Compared to the more upscale outlets islandwide, the original Liao Fan’s chicken was superior in every way. ⠀

The skin was noticeably smoother and a darker shade of brown, and it could qualify as a work of art. The meat was markedly moister and softer, with even the breast part of the wing being suitably slippery. And the flavours, oh boy. The meat & skin were supremely savoury and sweet from the honey glaze brushed onto the skin post simmering, and were far more alluring with unmistakable aromas of hua tiao chiew (Shaoxing rice wine). All the flavours that the chicken from the outlet had were multiplied by a factor of five at the original stall, and topped off with that stupendously sapid soy sauce poured over the chicken? Yes, oh yes, this is one of the best birds this side of Chinatown.⠀

So, did Liao Fan ever deserve their Michelin star? Based solely off the chicken alone, I’m gonna be generous and say that yeah, Liao Fan/Hawker Chan deserved that Michelin star before they decided to chase the bag.


There’s been a fair bit of hype over @dicksonnasilemak due to the fact that they reportedly use the same recipe as the famous Village Nasi Lemak in Kuala Lumpur. However, that hype has died down considerably since they took a three month long hiatus last year due to the fresh chicken shortage. All the better for me, as I could just strut up to their shop, stump up $9.20 (before GST gets added on) for their famous nasi lemak, and be out with the food in about five minutes.⠀

After trying both their the chicken leg & boneless thigh chunk versions of the Ayam Goreng Berempah set, I can issue the verdict that the hype is fairly well deserved. The all important nasi is satisfactorily fragrant & alive with the aroma of coconut milk. It’s soft and fluffy when bitten into, and the richness of the coconut milk turns each grain of nasi (rice) into a luxurious lemak sensation.⠀

The other important element, the sambal, is a scintillatingly spicy affair. It’s superbly savoury, and less sweet than standard Singaporean sambals, but still capable of breathing fiery life into anything & everything. I particularly enjoyed the inclusion of onion bits in the sambal, which did add a smidge of sweetness to the salty & spicy chili. Despite this being a nasi lemak set, the star attraction was definitely the fried chicken.⠀

The boneless chicken thigh chunks seem to be noticeably greasier than the whole chicken leg, but the chicken leg fares better in terms of juiciness. Both chicken leg and chicken chunks, however, were fabulously flavourful. The unmistakable aroma of turmeric perfumes every ounce of chicken, and tasting the chicken reveals that the berempah mix has imbued every last molecule of chicken with the aromas & flavours of turmeric, galangal, ginger and a few other spices. The ayam goreng berempah alone deserves all of the hype for being this stunningly sublime.⠀

But wait, there’s more! Dickson has even scattered a charitable amount of loose crispy batter bits over the chicken for even more crunchy satisfaction. And that’s on top of the thunderously crunchy fried ikan bilis and nuts. For ten bucks, Dickson’s nasi lemak is damn decent, son.


@saporitasg claim to fame is their signature Truffle Cheese wheel Pasta ($15 nett), and you’ve probably seen at least one article or tiktok about this pasta. A whole Grana Padano cheese wheel is imported all the way from Italy and hollowed out so the the pasta can be twirled around within to acquire extra cheesiness. After a quick spin in the colossal cheese wheel, the heap of pasta is drizzled with fragrant truffle oil.⠀

Of course, there’s more to this pasta than it just being twirled in the cheese wheel & being lashed with truffle oil. The al dente fettuccine is tossed in a béchamel sauce before getting that iconic toss in the cheese wheel, and then the pasta gets returned to the frypan to let the béchamel, Grana Padano & fettuccine unite properly. As you might expect, it’s an incredibly cheesy & creamy experience, capped off by the charming chew of the fettuccine.⠀

Unfortunately, there was one thing conspicuously absent from the pasta. Yup, there was absolutely no truffle scent. Despite @visualindulgence being very sure that he ordered the truffle one instead of the Fettucine Cheese-wheel ($14), we neither smelt nor tasted any truffle. Despite the missing truffle aroma, the Truffle Cheese-wheel Pasta was plenty palatable, and it’s definitely worth sampling.

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Orh luak/orh jian definitely has to be one of my guiltiest hawker indulgences. Fluffy scrambled eggs are mixed with gooey and occasionally crispy tapioca starch, and plump oysters all fried together and bonded together via a tangy chili sauce. What’s not to love?⠀

This picture, from a stall named Tanglin in Bedok Interchange Hawker Centre, isn’t the best orh luak I’ve had, but it’s certainly the eggiest. Lots of egg, some starchy bits, and a good helping of fresh, fat oysters are fried together and manage to avoid the pitfall of being grossly greasy. The chili is mad decent too, with a fiery spicy kick and a powerful sourness to zip right through the richness of everything on the plate.


@nudedles.4 has been on my ‘to try’ list ever since it opened, but I always put it off for newer, flashier options. Well, it’s almost too late now, and I frantically made time to FINALLY try the pasta before Nudedles closes shop for good. And now I’m kicking myself for constantly procrastinating.⠀

The Lobster Bisque ($9) pasta is an incredible steal for just under ten bucks flat. A trio of (mostly) de-shelled prawns, a couple of clams, a lone mussel and several slices of squid are mixed in with the eponymous lobster bisque sauce base and linguine. The linguine is done al dente, with a nice spring to each noodle. The abundant clams, prawns & squid were all fantastically fresh, with only the mussel being a day past its freshest.⠀

However, none of those aforementioned components would’ve meant a thing if it weren’t for that luxurious lobster bisque. That bisque is the essence of a dozens of lobsters expressed into a rich, redolent reddish orange liquid. As you might expect, the bisque is utterly umami and absolutely intoxicating. Each bisque slicked strand of linguine, each bisque coated piece of seafood, and each spoonful of that liquid gold will max out your palate pleasure and make you miss Nudedles dearly.⠀

Don’t be a chump like me, get out there and try all the food you want to before they decide to pack it in.


For braised pork products, I still think Lin’s Braised is one of the better ones in Singapore. Their braised kway chap platter ($6 nett) has all of kway chap’s greatest hits: large & small intestines, braised pork belly, tau pok & tau kwa (tofu puff & tofu block), and a braised egg.⠀

I don’t normally eat small intestines as very few places clean it out thoroughly, but Lin’s is one of the few places that does clean them out real good. Nearly no nasty plaque or offensively porky odour remains on the charmingly chewy & satisfyingly umami intestines. The same applies to the large intestines, but I do prefer the large ones for the more appealing texture.⠀

The braised pork belly is downright delicious, with the sapid braising liquid fully transforming the pork belly into a tender, soft and sublimely sumptuous piece of pork. The tofus are a match made in food heaven with the soy braising broth, and the egg…well, it’s a hard-boiled egg. Swish it in the braising liquid for maximal deliciousness. Dip all the elements into the spicy, vibrant chili for extra oomph, and this fantastically flavoursome meal is complete.

At just six bucks, Lin’s Braised is another reason why the entire country of Singapore is being carried by hawkers. We simply couldn’t function without them at all, and for that reason, skilful hawkers are the GOAT.

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There may not be snow in Sinagpore, but it sure feels like winter right now with temperatures in the mid twenties. So why not grab three pals and warm up with @charstewkitchensg signature Peppery Chicken & Pig Stomach Charcoal Hotpot ($29 nett)? That’s right, they serve the soup in a claypot that’s still sitting on a heavy but still portable charcoal stove straight to your table.⠀

As you might expect from the name, it’s pretty peppery, but you can still taste the other herbs that went into this nourishing pot of soup. Due to the soup being boiled with chicken bones and goji berries, it also has a palatably pleasant sweetness all throughout the silky smooth soup. Additionally, there’s an abundance of chicken, pig stomach & veggies floating inside the boiling pot of soup. Pig stomach normally carries a strong porky odour, but Char Stew’s one had completely eliminated that odour, leaving behind a charmingly chewy piece of offal.

Finally, for the first time ever, Hougang Central finally gets an exciting dining option in the form of the new foodcourt. Now there’s King of Fried Rice, famous ban mee, draught beer on tap, Donburi, Teppanyaki, beer on tap, briyani, beer, Collin’s, draught beer-sorry, where was I? Ah yes, @chefweihkcheongfun has also set up their newest outpost at Foodies’ Garden.⠀

The location couldn’t be more perfect: there are no fresh chee cheong fun (rice roll) merchants anywhere nearby, and I’ve been hankering for some good chee cheong fun (CCF) for a while now. Chef Wei has a reputation as an elite CCF merchant, and their rolls really do impress. The char siew chee cheong fun ($5.60 nett) was the best of the best, with an ideal meat to fat ratio on the sweet & salty BBQ pork cocooned in thin silken sheets of rice dough. It was doused sufficiently in a supremely sapid soy sauce mix, infusing every roll with unbelievable amounts of umami.⠀

Now, while the scallop ($6.80, first pic bottom) was the least impressive of the trio, it’s still plenty palatable with the same tremendous rice rolls & savour sauce, plus there’s fat & fresh scallops encased in the rolls. And finally, the prawn CCF ($5.60, 2nd pic) was more of the same, except with uber fresh, portly prawns. Definitely one for the prawn addicts.⠀

With excellent hawkers like Chef Wei and beer from the tap in Hougang Mall’s new foodcourt, I’ve just found my new hawker haunt.

Traditional Joo Chiat Prawn Mee certainly isn’t as famous as its prawn mee competition further down the road, but it’s still a solid bowl of prawn noodles. Also, I can’t attest to how traditional it is, but I can vouch for it being a piquant prawn mee.⠀

Some things are best kept separate, noodles and prawn soup being a prime example of this. The noodles are poached perfectly, and tossed in a sapid sauce mix of violent chili, ketchup, soy sauce, and of course, the prawn soup. The prawn soup itself is a loud, flashy prawn star with its vivid reddish-brown hue. That hue is attained from frying the prawn heads and then boiling it all down, which produces a briny, deeply savoury stock that extracts all the umami goodness out of the prawn head. It might be a tad overpowering for some, but I absolutely love it.⠀

At six bucks for the largest portion, you get the stellar soup, noodles, de-shelled shrimp, sliced lean pork, pork ribs and a smattering of deep fried crispy shallots. While the portions and pricing are alluring, the main attraction is all the add ons they offer. You can choose from extra prawns, pork ribs, pig intestines, and even razor clams at the low, low price of two bucks each. That’s right, you can add more stuff onto this luscious bowl of prawn noods and still pay only ten bucks! On the day I went, they were only left with prawns, so I got more prawns and more satisfaction for two dollars.⠀

Traditional Joo Chiat Prawn Mee is yet another reason in the lengthy list of reasons why Singapore’s hawker culture is undefeated. Go early, ‘cause this prawn mee merchant closes shop by one thirty in the afternoon.

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Thanks to @rainraineeataway & @the_xw, I discovered @finerykitchen, yet another new-generation hawker stall selling Western food, and most excitingly of all, paella. Normally only found in European or Spanish restaurants, now you get to enjoy an individual serving of seafood paella for ten bucks flat in a coffeeshop.

As if the bargain price wasn’t enticing enough, the flavours are stellar. Sure, the solitary shrimp is slightly past its freshest, but its still quite acceptable. The grilled fish fillet, on the other hand, was positively divine. It’s herbed & seasoned spectacularly, and grilled flawlessly. The marvellously moist & firm fillet is topped with a creamy, herby & tangy sauce that just amplifies its lusciousness. The grilled squid were fantastically fresh and stunningly savoury, and these bouncy squid bits were an absolute pleasure to eat.⠀

I think that this might just be the first time where I’m complaining about having more seafood than carbs. That’s right, the piquant paella was supremely sapid, having absorbed the essence of the tomato-y seafood stock that it was simmered in. The rice is texturally great, albeit done a bit past al dente. However, the flavours are decidedly outstanding, and there simply isn’t quite enough of this exquisite rice to satisfy my need for heavenly flavours.⠀

Still, a paella this fab for ten bucks is an absolute steal of a deal. Finery Kitchen serves up some of the finest fare you’ll find round town, and you don’t even have to get into your Sunday finest to enjoy their fantastic food.

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The last time I sampled @mincedpork.bros bak chor mee, I was suitably impressed by the fantastic flavours of the Teochew Modern Pork Noodles, but was distinctly unimpressed by the puny portion. However, I am very pleased to announce that Minced Pork Bros take feedback seriously, and they upped their portion size to a truly respectable level.⠀

That’s right, this six dollar bowl of noodles now comes in super satisfying size, while retaining the same levels of sapidity that first won me over. The vivaciously vinegary sauce flavoured everything in the bowl, from the al dente meepok (thin flat noodles), to the minced pork, to the abalone. Tack on some crunchy lard cubes to this bad boy, and we’ve got a winner.⠀

Even though prices and inflation are going through the bloody roof, Minced Pork Bros have not cut quality or portion satisfaction. I respect that, bro. Respect.

Alcohol may not be good for my body, but my body is good for alcohol. Insta: @okwhotookmyusername

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