Hawker Gems

Hawker Gems

Sometimes the best foods that warms the heart are hidden in the heartlands
Lee Pei Yi
Lee Pei Yi

Nothing too fancy here, just a simple bowl of fish soup that is nonetheless my go-to every time I have cravings. The fish soup here just tastes naturally sweet and I think even completely MSG-less. The braised beancurd skin with taupok and egg is my fav here - every ingredient has been braised for a sufficiently long enough time that all the goodness from the sauce has been soaked up.

While there are other more famous fish soups at Bukit Timah hawker centre, this one run by a husband and wife power duo just tastes more homely!

We dabaoed this because we thought we weren’t gonna be able to finish this on top of the other stuff we had ordered but we were so wrong... This was TOO GOOD to not finish ASAP!!! Beyond just being sweet, the rojak sauce had the distinct shrimp paste taste that made it stand out from the regular rojaks around. It’s no wonder that there’s usually a long queue (they even set up some barricades to facilitate the queuing) but I was lucky to have been there in the late morning and there was no queue.

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Decided to give this a shot after seeing snaking long queues at 7.30pm and I’m pleasantly surprised with this unexpected good find in a Kopitiam! This spinach soup reminds me of the 3 egg spinach (egg, salted egg, century egg) that many Chinese restaurants have, except its goodness comes in a full bowl of soup! You can choose to have the soup with seafood, yong tau foo or just 3 types of eggs and mushrooms. The yong tau foo is worth mentioning because I think they make the ingredients themselves freshly.

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Very yummy curry puff!!! I was so impressed with the crust which is composed of many layers of thin, buttery flakes. Its crispy outer texture, paired with the soft curry potatoes and chicken within, made this a real winner. I watched a YouTube video that interviewed the lady boss here who is the third generation owner of this place and they’ve have persisted in making every single ingredient from scratch. This curry puff is indeed testament to all their efforts 👍🏼

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Truly a messy bowl of goodness! I couldn’t resist snapping a pic when I uncovered all the treasures in my bowl - generous amounts of well-marinated meatballs, lean pork, an egg and vegetables (there’s also pork liver but I requested for mine without) in a bowl of thick, savoury broth. This is largely the same as the one at Bukit Panjang with the same waiting time (~30min). Downside is it can be quite hot at the Kopitiam while waiting

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Was expecting more based on the presentation of this dish but sadly, it disappointed. I couldn’t find a single piece of pumpkin in the pumpkin rice and the portion of tofu was pretty sad :( The soup itself was too watery and they seemed to have put in some coriander (which I hate). The saving grace was the ikan bilis that was super crispy and the fried garlic scrapes on the side that you can help yourself to. Unfortunately, I’ve had better leichas, even in food courts!

It was a pleasant surprise finding this in a shopping mall food court. I would say it’s a decent bowl of Putien lor mee to satisfy those cravings if you’re in the area but definitely not the best! While the ingredients given were generous, the soup was just lacking that final bit of tastiness to heighten the flavour of the whole dish.

At Ghim Moh market, Chuan Kee is one of the crowd’s favourites with snaking queues almost all the time and it’s not hard to see why! At $4, this plate of duck rice was so satisfyingly good. Fluffy braised rice drenched in a rich salty-sweet sauce, generous amounts of tender duck slices and gizzard and braised tofu and peanuts on the side, this was a dream’s come true for someone who has been overseas and missing SG food for a while 😭😭 No wonder it has a Michelin gourmand bib!! 👍🏼 Worth the queue which moves pretty fast or just come slightly off peak to avoid the queues.

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Small ytf with 2pc fried chicken wing ($5.80) and large ytf ($5.50)

Not quite the usual yong tau foo we know because you can’t choose any of your ingredients. Instead, you get a selection of fried beancurd, white, gold and black beansticks and prawn and pork balls.

All their ingredients are homemade but my favourite has got to be the pork balls!! With well-marinated meat and black fungus to add an extra crunch, the pork balls were just so springy, juicy and YUMMILICIOUS. I also liked that the soup was clear and savoury without being too salty to the point of unslurppable. Since you’ve already queued, might as well try the fried chicken wings while you’re here - pretty damn good too!

Overall, not quite mind-blowing but definitely a comforting bowl to have on a rainy day (like when I tried this!) 😌😌

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Interesting take on Hokkien mee served sizzling in a claypot! While I wouldn’t say this is the best Hokkien mee around, this was still quite shiok with thick slices of pork belly, fried till crispy and fresh prawns and squid. The broth itself is flavourful but I think I still prefer the drier kinds of Hokkien mee with much more wok hei!

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Tried the nonya chap chye, fried pork chop, ngoh hiang, lor bak, curry chicken wing and fried egg over rice drenched with curry sauce, lor (braised sauce) and a tad bit of chilli. The end result was simply HEAVENLY - comfort food that leaves your mouth exploding with umami and your belly so satisfied and so so happy. (Your pocket will also thank you - 2 plates with total 7 ingredients for $9.40??)

The show stunner was the ngoh hiang which was packed full of minced meat and lots of water chestnut, giving it a crunchy bite. Another shout out goes to the chap chye which was stewed to a perfect softness but not compromising on flavour. Last but not least, I HAVE to rave about the curry. It was thick and creamy yet not too surfeiting with just the right amount of coconut milk.

Pro tips:
1. FORGET YOUR DIET, get rice with all 3 sauces and enjoy this plate of curry rice on roids :)
2. There may be a queue but it moves really fast and it is totally worth queueing for.

Was craving popiah like crazy and when we went to Chinatown, I knew I had to get my craving satisfied at Ann Chin Popiah! I like to think of popiahs as pillows and for $1.60, you sure do get a fat fat pillow filled with lots of ingredients. The addition of crispy crackers really added an addictive crunch to contrast the flavourful and cooked until mushy radish. There was also a nice touch of garlic - just the right amount unlike some places where the garlic just overpowers everything.

Will miss this when Chinatown complex is under renovation for 3 months :(

5 Likes

Always on the lookout for good nomz

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