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

Ah Chiang’s Porridge might be tucked at one corner and seemed to be moving kind of slowly here, but it was also at such a relaxed pace to feel the weekend vibes.

The Minced Meat Porridge (S$4.50) was, indeed, simple. Though it might not be easy to notice traces of the minced meat, I was still drawn to the smoothness of the congee and its light flavours. For more variety to the meal, one could simply order some vegetables or fried tofu to supplement the congee.

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When I learnt that our local MasterChef finalist opened a Mee Hoon Kway stall, I had wanted to try it but thought that it was a little out of reach based on where I am currently staying. Little did I know that Jiak Song had silently expanded to a few outlets islandwide, and Bugis being one of them.

Being a big fan of Mee Hoon Kway, I ordered a Signature All-in-One Combo (S$5.50) with an extra portion of Mee Hoon Kway for an additional S$1.00. The first surprise I received was an unexpected charcoal taste coming from the soup, which to me were both a “wow” and an “ouch”. The former was because it made me believe that there was some traditional ways of preparing the broth, which when coupled with the handmade noodles made it pretty exceptional for me. There were also many ingredients within the bowl, and so since the bowl was filled to the brim, I felt like a winner already.

On the other hand, I was a little disappointed when the stallholder ran the piece of noodle dough under the roller for a consistency in thickness, but I did wish that the Kway was thicker as a personal preference. And I later found out that the broth in another outlet had absence of the light charcoal flavour.

In all, Jiak Song would have checked many boxes of a delicious bowl of Mee Hoon Kway, but I also might not intentionally head down for a hearty meal.

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Beauty in a Bowl (#02-130) was a dessert stall that specialised in peach gum desserts. Peach gum, a trending ingredient, was known to be rich in collagen (something that young folks would subscribe to for youthful, healthy skin). And their Signature dessert (S$3.60) was like a bowl of Cheng Teng with peach gum jelly mixed in.

The price of the dessert had likely accounted for the inclusion of the peach gum jelly, and a bowl of cold dessert was splendid for a super warm day. My only reservation was that this might be more of an occasional treat than a daily bowl, especially if a regular bowl of Cheng Teng might also do the trick.

Recently, a special feature on 8 Days brought a lot of attention to Hong Style Fried Rice, a hawker stall in Ang Mo Kio that specialised in fried rice. The owner, who was previously the assistant chef supervisor from Din Tai Fung, decided to start his own business and hop on the bandwagon to fried rice paradise.

Their Golden Egg Fried Rice with Pork Chop (S$6.50) looked like a familiar sight like what we would see from the famous restaurant. In my opinion, I felt that the fried rice was nicely coated with eggs, but the staple appeared to be minutely on the bland side. On the other hand, the freshly marinated pork chop carried stronger flavours, but because the fried rice tasted mild on sodium, both items combined would actually be just nice altogether.

Interestingly, I also noticed that many diners would take scoops of their chilli sauce to complement the rice. That could be something I would try the next time round.

At the moment, the business made some changes to their menu to cater to the snaking queues that came over to support. I would most likely come back in a month’s time, just to see if the food would taste more consistently than when they had to rush their orders.

#BurppleTakeaways

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Mookata had rooted itself in the heartlands, particularly in coffee shops where spacious outdoor seating is available. With an easy portable stove and cast iron plate setup, what would make one Mookata better than the others would be based on either competitive pricing or tasty flavours.

Over at Bedok Central, Jiak Mookata served up their a la carte plates of dishes from S$1.90 onwards. The flavours were on point one could get a really hearty meal at under S$30.00. Personally, I liked their Prawn Paste and their Garlic Sliced Pork, especially since the former had large chunks of prawns mixed in.

Though the dine-in restrictions had also put a toll on these coffee shop stalls, they also could provide a delivery service with all equipment included. Diners could still enjoy Mookata at home, and pack them up for the restaurant’s collection after the meal, at no additional costs. With the rainy season coming soon, this could be a good option to have a good time with friends and family over some tasty collagen soup and grilled marinated meats.

This Knife Shaven Noodle came from the Farmosa Delights stall at the entrance of Food Opera (a more “atas” version of Food Republic). Although the noodles were shaved off the large roll of dough in full view of the customers, it somehow did not have that chewy texture that I was expecting. Nonetheless, it was a decently large portion of noodles with pieces of beef hidden under the dark, densely-flavoured broth.

With just a S$0.20 top-up, one would get peanut butter squeezed directly to their Peanut Mee Chang Kueh (S$1.00) to get the extra sticky, extra yummy experience.

But I must say that the best reason to buy a Mee Chang Kueh as dessert or snack was because regardless what flavour you would choose, you would still get these pancakes slapped with generous serving of toppings, making it so enjoyable.

On the other hand, the only downside that I could identify was that each piece of Mee Chang Kueh would come in different sizes. From the photo, the one with coconut was apparently the largest because of the part of cut. Whether you would get the “bigger slice of the pie” or not, perhaps, was solely based on luck, since you could not choose the part of the pancake anyway.

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Tucked at the deep corner of the second floor of Hong Lim Market & Food Centre was this stall that almost seemed to be famous for their Curry Fried Chicken Cutlet Noodles / Rice (S$4.00). Fortunately, I was able to place my order at around 1-plus in the afternoon, as they would have closed for the day if I arrive after 2.00pm (largely depends on whether they still have anything left to sell).

But coming back to the curry noodles (still puzzled me if curry was a Cantonese thing), I was impressed by how the freshly-fried chicken cutlet complemented so well with their curry gravy. The noodles did not disappoint either, as I was happily slurping them down as well. And I must say that self-service garnishing and fried pork lard just added extra “shiok”-ness to the already awesome meal!

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Perhaps it was time for the famous Chef Pang of Antoinette to answer the calling to sell something closer to his heart, he wound up the chain of patisserie restaurants and founded Pang’s Hakka Noodles in July this year.

While it was a little disappointing that I did not get to meet Chef Pang in person at his stall, I was quite happy that their Signature Hakka Noodle Set (S$9.50) was quite worth the deal, with two fermented beancurd fried wings to go with the Hakka Yong Tau Foo. The noodles was cooked just right with a nice bite to it. Some might argue that the noodles was too oily, but the oil was also the reason for the noodles to stay fragrant (say yes to lard) not to turn lumpy.

However, my only gripe about this meal was that takeaway paper containers were used in place of reusable crockery, which somehow eroded a bit of the feels for authentic cuisines.

Selling at S$1.50 per piece, this beauty was made of braised pork belly of a golden proportion of lean meat and fat, making every bite so intensely flavoured, yet so sinfully delicious. And so, it did not make sense to just stop at one.

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Teck Ghee Court had a congregation of some really awesome hawker food. Ren Ren Chicken Rice and Snacks, might be one of those Halal-certified places that was located at the car park entrance, away from the Food Centre. Being a stand-alone restaurant, they also sold other items like Wanton Noodles and Chicken Porridge, but it probably did not make sense if I did not want to try their Chicken Rice (S$3.50) at all.

I would say that their rice was done pretty average. While it captured most of the essentials that fragrant rice should have, it might still be a familiar taste like what one could normally get. Their roasted chicken had juicy meats, but I thought the skin was towards the dry side.

With a top-up of 50 cents, the restaurant would throw in a cup of iced calamansi juice. Service was quite fast on the whole, so especially if you would want a quick meal, this place could get you covered.

I was drawn to this place thanks to mothership.sg’s publicity, because the Lok Lok food truck in Johor Bahru (yes, those with those loud techno music playing at the background) was usually a mandatory pitstop for me for supper before heading back to Singapore. Now, with this stall’s opening at a Ang Mo Kio coffee shop, did that mean that I would not have to go to JB for this anymore?

Business was brisk over here, possibly because the owners were still selling each skewer at an introductory price of S$1.00. However, I was not expecting a waiting time of 30 minutes or so, so my bag of drink was almost finished before the food could come. Guess that somehow also revved up the expectation by a bit, as other tables were supplementing their Mookata and Zi Char with this.

To be honest, I really liked the broccoli because they tasted just like how most Lok Lok stalls in JB would have cooked them. However, I was really hoping that he other items could taste as exciting as the only green vegetables that was available for ordering today. The heat of the oil might also not be hot enough to cook the items fast and to ensure that the cheese in the tofu could at least reach the molten stage.

While it might be impossible to prepare 60-over items like how those food trucks had amazingly presented to us hungry foodies, I somehow left wondering if the other skewers could have tasted as addictive as those from the opposite shore. To conclude, for now I would think that this stall would serve the nearby residents acceptably, but nothing would beat the real deal that could only be accessed with a valid passport.

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

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