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Hawker Hunting

Hawker Hunting

Always out to hunt for the best hawker food in town and those hidden gems that have yet to be discovered.
Terence Ong
Terence Ong

Who finds Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak is really POWER? If you think it’s POWER, then leave a comment below. If you want to check this out, then head to the main outlet at Boon Lay Place Market and Food Village (01-106). Continue reading to find out my thoughts.

Like any popular stall, there’s usually a queue. I had the Chicken Set ($3.50) which comes with rice, fried chicken wing, ikan bilis (anchovies), peanuts and cucumber and a good amount of sambal chilli. To complete my meal, I added a begedil a.k.a. potato cutlet ($0.50) and otah ($2).

So I found the rice to be quite fragrant but the texture was slightly inconsistent, ranging from fluffy to lumpy. It could do with a bit more coconut milk though. The highlight would be the fried chicken wing. But it was a little overrated. While it was crispy and had a nice marinade, the meat was a tad dry and didn’t have much flavour to begin with.

The ikan bilis (fried anchovies) and peanuts were crunchy. I like the sambal as it’s sweet and spicy. Personally, I would prefer a sambal that is spicier but this solely my personal preference.

As for the add ons, the otah wasn’t too spicy and I could taste the coconut milk in the paste. Begedil was pretty average - probably because I didn’t have it when it was freshly cooked.

Okay la, I think it’s decent but not say really power. I’ll have it again for sure if I’m in the West and need to satisfy my nasi lemak cravings.

Laksa ($3/3.50). Noodles (I had thick bee hoon) served with loads of cockles, taupok (beancurd puffs), boiled egg and fishcake with a choice of noodles (I had thick bee hoon). I felt that the gravy could do with a little more coconut milk to give it a richer taste throughout.

Lor Mee ($3/3.50). For the price, it’s a pretty good bowl that’s slightly more traditional in taste and ingredients - fish cake, ngoh hiang, boiled egg, braised pork belly. The gravy was thick and gooey with slight herbal notes. I actually was hoping for that it had some fried fish to go along with it. Add a spoonful or two of black vinegar to give the gravy a balanced taste.

If you enjoy a delicious plate of mee siam for breakfast, head over to Hup Hup Mee Siam at Block 80 Circuit Road Market & Food Centre (02-14) in MacPherson. They do lor mee and laksa as well, and their portions are generous considering how affordable it is. Hup Hup is constantly rated as one of the best mee siam places in Singapore.

Mee Siam ($3/3.50) I’ll head down here just for this. The owner is very generous with the serving. You’ll get a plate of mee siam that’s filled with loads of bee hoon, taupok cubes (beancurd puffs), boiled egg and beansprouts, with some spicy sambal belachan. The gravy had a strong nutty taste as compared to the other versions I’ve tried. And the use of fresh coconut milk elevated the flavour of this dish. It’s neither too sour nor too spicy, so it should be palatable for most.

Do you prefer fried wanton or boiled wanton? I chanced upon Block 89 MacPherson Market & Food Centre and checked out CCK 190 Wanton Mee (01-110) after reading about them for years. For either $3/4, you’ll get a decent portion of wanton mee with a choice of boiled or fried wanton.

We had the signature wanton mee and added the fried wantons ($1 for 4 pieces). It served with thick slices of char siew that’s roasted in the stall and some blanched chye sim.

I found the fried wanton stood out against the boiled wanton. Fried until golden brown, the fried wanton skin was crispy and filled with marinated minced pork that retained its moisture. The boiled wanton skin was a bit too thick of my liking. I would think the fried/ boiled dumplings would be worth a try.

The char siew was nicely charred and slightly sweet. Being the traditional variant, the meat was lean and meaty with very little proportion of fat.

The noodles were firm and springy without the reek of alkaline. And the homemade chilli sauce had a nice spicy kick to it (the owners spend four hours each morning to make the sauce). You can have dark sauce if you prefer a non-spicy option. Both options are mixed with lard oil for enhanced flavour.

It’s a decent plate of wanton mee but having eaten quite a number of wanton mee over the past few months, it’s not Terryfic.

Fun fact: They used to be located in Choa Chu Kang for over 20 years and reopened in MacPherson in 2016 after taking a short break.

Are you a Lor mee lover? If you are just like I am, do check out Lorong Ah Soo Lor Mee (02-51) at Hainanese Village Food Centre. They always attract long queues before they open at 12pm and only open till 3pm. Each bowl sets you back $3.50 or $4 (pictured).

It’s a fairly simple bowl of lor mee but you get a generous serving of tasty ingredients. Just ngoh hiang, fried fish, shreds of braised duck, fish cake and boiled egg in a slightly starchy, braised gravy. No shark meat or fried fish as I’d like it to be.

When it comes to the choice of noodles, I’ll always have just the flat yellow noodle (the traditional noodles with lor mee). Although you can choose to have it with bee hoon, kway teow or mixed.

As for the gravy (lor), it was not as starchy that I’d expect it to be. It’s more towards the lighter, soupy side. I prefer my lor mee to have a stronger flavour but good for those who like lor mee this way.

Remember to have it with garlic, fresh red chilli and vinegar for added flavour. It’ll help to enhance the flavour of the dish since it’s on the lighter side.

The stallholders are pretty friendly which helps to make up for the half an hour queue. I wouldn’t queue for it again if I could though.

Remember the Shanghainese dumplings stall from the now demolished Margaret Drive Food Centre? 🥟It’s not lost and forgotten. Tong Xin Ju Special Shanghai Tim Sum has been at Maxwell Food Centre (01-92) for several years now. I’ll usually go for their fried (锅贴) and boiled dumplings (饺子).

The stall is operated by a long-time hawker and they make their dumplings by hand in the stall every day. Everything is cooked to order so your dumplings are fresh from the stove.

The skin is pretty thin relative to the generous amount of pork and chive filling, and that’s a good thing. And the dumplings are bursting with flavour when you bite into it. Delicious.

Enjoy your dumplings with some vinegar and shredded ginger. What surprises me is that the homemade chilli sauce is also served as a condiment for your dumplings.

I find these dumplings have been localised but they are still pretty comforting. They have other items on offer such as the hot and sour soup and fried Shanghai rice cake which I’ve never tried.

Remember the Shanghainese dumplings stall from the now demolished Margaret Drive Food Centre? 🥟It’s not lost and forgotten. Tong Xin Ju Special Shanghai Tim Sum has been at Maxwell Food Centre (01-92) for several years now. I’ll usually go for their fried (锅贴) and boiled dumplings (饺子).

The stall is operated by a long-time hawker and they make their dumplings by hand in the stall every day. Everything is cooked to order so your dumplings are fresh from the stove.

One would notice that the dumplings are fried till golden brown, giving it a crispy exterior throughout the dumpling. What I enjoy the most is the meaty and juicy pork and chive filling.

Enjoy your dumplings with some vinegar and shredded ginger. What surprises me is that the homemade chilli sauce is also served as a condiment for your dumplings.

I find these dumplings have been localised but they are still pretty comforting. They have other items on offer such as the hot and sour soup and fried Shanghai rice cake which I’ve never tried.

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Deep fried carrot cake sticks aren’t something you usually find in hawker centres. Here, you can get 12 sticks for $2. A cheap and good breakfast.

These wonderful gems are deep fried till golden brown. Absolutely love how it’s so crispy on the outside yet the radish cake is so soft and chewy on the inside.

Never understood why the queue for coffee here was so long. But after seeing that every cup of coffee is freshly brewed to order, and uncle will tarik (pull) the coffee from one pot to another, I can understand why.

I had my default option of kopi-C siu dai (less sweet). It’s very aromatic, balanced and concentrated. No such thing as diluted coffee here.

A cup of hot kopi/ teh (tea) starts from $0.90 while the iced versions start from $1.10. The coffee is prepared in the adjacent stall that sells you tiao (dough fritters) in the morning. You can buy their coffee powder (500g for $7) to brew at home.

Also popular are his eggs and toast, but I’ll leave it for another time.

If you’re at Hainanese Village Food Centre, check out the very affordable kway chap from Chao Xiang Cooked Food (02-27). You probably won’t find much information about it online but there’s always a queue and the food sells out pretty fast.

A set meal from this stall only costs $2.80 per person, a very good deal for kway chap.

I visited around 9.30am on a Sunday morning and they already ran out of items such as large intestine and braised pork belly. So literally early bird catches the worm here.

Not all hope was lost though. We had the small intestine, large intestine head, pig skin, fish cake, hard boiled egg, tau kwa (firm tofu) and braised tau pok (beancurd puff). And of course, the kway (broad rice noodle sheets).

The basic to a good kway chap is that the innards must be washed clean and it shouldn’t have a gamey, porky taste. And it was really pleasant that the innards didn’t have that smell.

The kway itself was slightly thicker than it should be. As for the gravy itself, it had a herbal taste.

Will I be back? Yes, if I’m in the area and craving for value for money kway chap. But I wanna try the other stalls there.

Hainanese curry rice or curry png may not be the most photogenic of dishes but it’s certainly delicious and comforting. If you’re at Maxwell Food Centre, be sure to check out Hainanese Curry Rice (01-68). There’s usually a short but fast moving queue, so just join the queue.

You can’t see most of the items I ordered from this photo but here’s how it goes. My usual order would be fried pork chop, sunny side up, pork ball, bean sprouts, tau kwa. Occasionally, I’d have the boiled cabbage and braised pork belly. A plate would set you back about $4.50 to $5.

I love my curry rice to be drenched with curry gravy that’s mixed with a bit of lor (braised sauce). The curry gravy here isn’t very thick and starchy unlike most Hainanese curry rice stalls, but it isn’t watery either.

The pork chop is coated in a sweet, aromatic five spice powder batter before being deep fried till crispy. The meat is tender although it can be rather inconsistent at times.

I’d still recommend trying the curry rice here if you’re at Maxwell.

The camera always eats first. Instagram: @eaterries/ #terryongeats

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