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Happy Hawkers

Happy Hawkers

Because these food gets such deserving special mentions, you will be willing to forgo the air-conditioning (in many instances).
Siming T
Siming T

Let’s face it: a no-frill Iberico Pork Bowl from Ishiro that costed only S$5.00 dine-in (S$8.90 at delivery) was a hidden gem, little known to the masses.

I did not know what I had missed out until I got this via GrabFood, and when received I was a bit shocked by the big portion of rice topped with sliced Iberico pork, tempura crumbs and an Onsen egg. Such a neat presentation was alluring to make me want to dig in immediately.

While the scrumptiousness of the meal was undeniable, the only thing I would ask them to cut down on was the sauce, as the over-supply of it resulted in some difficulty trying to cleanse away the sweetness halfway through the meal. Yet, as I had said that the price was reasonably affordable, I might eventually try all their Japanese rice bowls to determine which ones I would favour the most.

3 Likes

This takeaway concept had recently attained their Halal certification, which means that they had extended their reach to a larger customer base.

From S$5.00, one could get a box of Egg Fried Rice that was cooked “a la minute”. The chefs stood behind a glass window, showing the whole process of cooking the fried rice in front of customers. As the short-grain Japanese rice was tossed in the wok with hot oil and egg, I could not help but marvel at how these chefs could stand there all day, frying rice and noodles non-stop.

Apparently, their fried rice was quite an impressive product, with television viewers voting Wok Hey as the best among hawkers in conjunction with the premiere of Fried Rice Paradise serial drama. While I must admit that the fried rice was not as consistently cooked over my few orders, the flavours of their Egg Fried Rice was on point and outstanding from most hawker stalls. To mark the double celebration with their certifiation, Wok Hey offered a free Tobiko (flying fish roe) topping for every pack of fried rice purchased on 6, 13 and 20 Sep. Very premium, I must say, but somehow I still preferred my fried rice as-is — it’s good enough!

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It was a shame that Zhong Yu Yuan Wei was closed on Mondays and Fridays, but Lee Hong Kee had put up a worthy competition with their roast meats. How popular it was was simply reflected by the long queue in front of the stall, even before the lunch crowd could swarm in.

Their Char Siew with Roast Pork Rice (S$4.00) came with an option of sauce or no sauce. Obviously, the sauce could add some flavours and moisture to the meats and rice, since it would not come with soup by default. I liked the Char Siew for having a decent proportion of fat and lean meat (not as perfect as the 不见天 cut but still good enough), but the roast pork was a little disappointing for having a very thin layer of skin, and as a result the crunch was not as “shiok” (I preferred Roast Pork with the crackling effect).

The flavours were nice, but I wished I could feel fuller after the meal.

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Putu Mayam, or Idiyappam in South Indian and Sri Lankan context, was essentially rice noodles pressed to a pancake form and steamed. Over at Belinda’s, her version of Puttu Mayam (S$1.60) came with two pieces of rice noodles that was already cooled, but they would also come with a pre-packed palm sugar and freshly steamed grated coconut which was packed upon order.

Ordinary as it might seem, it was unpretentious with very little room for error (unless if the grated coconut would go bad because of prolonged exposure to room temperature). And while the stall would not open on certain days, the Puttu Mayam would be available for sale by 6.00am in the morning. However, go a little later and both their Puttu Mayam and 面煎糕 (Chinese traditional pancake) would be sold out for the day.

1 Like

It was a feast on the dining table with a group of friends, but the star of the evening was still stolen by the Spare Ribs Soup (S$8.00). Even without paying that additional S$2.00 for the premium ribs, the amount of meat in this bowl was straightforwardly sufficient. The soup was lighter and not so peppery, but the flavours were just on point for the perfect excuse to get unlimited refills of the tasty soup.

And as a group dinner, we also ordered many other dishes for sharing. Personally, I liked the Braised Fried Beancurd (S$5.00 for Large) and the Braised Pig’s Trotters (S$10.00 for Large) for a little more braised profile to the dinner. The pig trotters, in particular, was quite meaty and was not like getting a large slab of collagen and fats in the face.

Selling both the egg-fried (white) and sweet sauce (black) versions of Fried Carrot Cake here, this stall had quite a unique name called Vegetable Oil Fried Carrot Cake (#01-15).

According to the owners, the carrot cake were home-made, so it actually felt quite soft in the mouth, although also seemingly on the bland side when no chilli was added in the cooking. However, I believed that the saltiness came after the meal when the palates were more discerning of the “chai po” flavours.

The white version was available fromS$3.00 onwards, but if it was only 50 cents more for an upgrade to medium portion, why not?

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My last visit to their main restaurant at Tanjong Katong had left me some good memories, and this time round the dinner here at their stall in AMK Hub was also not disappointing.

Their dry Wantan Mee (S$4.50 for small portion) came with boiled wantons of well-marinated meat fillings. Their egg noodles were cooked to the right doneness for that springy finish, and I simply enjoyed helping myself to that container of fried lard to go with this local delight.

Much as their soup by the side was kind of bland, I found out that pouring the leftover condiment sauces from the noodles bowl into the soup bowl actually added some flavours to make the soup tastier. But if a tasty soup is part of your criteria, I recommend getting their soupy version of noodles instead.

1 Like

In this famous hawker center, there are so many good food attracting people from all parts of the island to fill their tummies. Located at one corner of the food centre, Fu Cheng Steamboat (#01-148) did not only sell fish head steamboat, but also other seafood dishes.

I was not expecting a lot from this Steamed Red Snapper, but that was probably where the goodness of the dish caught me by surprise. For just S$25.00, half the snapper was steamed together with Chinese wine, plum, tomatoes, ginger shreds and some chilli padi. The garnishes not only helped to remove all fishy smell from the dish, but also emphasised the freshness of the seafood. I was savouring the freshness of every bite, plus the clear “sauce” was sweet and sour with a tinge of spice, making the fish more delightful.

The fish was sufficient for about 3-4 persons, but if you were a fish lover, just share this with one more person to maximise satisfaction.

2 Likes

Located in a busy S-11 coffee shop, this stall might have been relocated from Woodlands Link to bring this not-so-common hawker food to the neighbourhood.

I got for myself a combination of four items (prawn cracker, chicken cutlet, prawn roll and sausage) with a plate of Fried Bee Hoon, and the meal costed me S$8.50. As much as the fried stuff were crispy and did not appear oily (a good indication of the right oil temperature), I would really give my two thumbs up if the items were more prominently flavoured, although the sauce and fried bee hoon also played a part in uplifting the experience.

Cravings are real, and I believe I would patronise this stall again for some decent Ngoh Hiang.

3 Likes

Ding Ji had almost dominated the noodles business in the vicinity with their hot favourite Fish Maw Soup Bak Chor Mee at the other end of this stretch, the Bak Chor Mee in this coffee shop as well as this newest stall that sold Mee Hoon Kway and porridge.

Flavours of this Dry Mee Hoon Kway was well-mixed, with sufficient springiness of the handmade noodles. However, a “larger than others” price tag of S$4.00 made it quite unfavourable, for some items in this coffee shop would cost less than that, yet being more capable to make someone more satiated than by having this.

3 Likes

Prices might have gone up, but the texture of the Dry Ban Mian (S$4.00) remained smooth and springy. Coupled with dark sauce and a little soup, the taste of the dry noodles was not too salty, just nice with a good portion of minced and sliced meat.

Regardless of the time of my visits, I did not remember seeing zero queue in front of this stall. The soup today tasted a little more peppery than before, but I supposed it was still apt for cool nights and good suppers.

2 Likes

Known to be one of the last two remaining chicken rice stall that would come with rice balls instead of a usual plate of fragrant rice, I returned to this stall after almost a decade because I missed the rice balls.

The biggest difference would probably be that the rice balls were more compact and less oily compared with the conventional fragrant rice. The rice might also be slightly harder, but that was okay for me especially when the chicken and condiments were on the oily side. Besides, that bowl of peanut soup helped to wash down the oiliness a fair bit.

For those who wish to try a different way of enjoying chicken rice, this hawker stall is the place to go. Most people will be satisfied with just two rice balls by the way. If you would ask me, I think the portions here are soundly above average too.

3 Likes

First world problem: What to eat for the next meal?

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