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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

This stall in Bedok is touted to be one of the best places for char kway teow ($3.50/4) in Singapore. It constantly attracts long queues and I queued a good 20 minutes for my artery clogging treat.

The mix of kway teow and yellow noodles are fried in two stages before it’s served which gives it a moist and firm texture. What I like is the strong wok hei flavour in every bite, the not too sweet taste and the generous serving of ingredients such as the bean sprouts, Chinese chives, cockles and eggs. Not forgetting the crispy lard bits and lup cheong.

I felt it was satisfying enough and would definitely return if I’m in the vicinity. However, something was lacking in the dish that would otherwise make it an excellent dish. Perhaps it was just a bad day.

The tale of two Maxwell chicken rice stalls - Tian Tian and Ah Tai. Both stalls serve chicken rice that’s based on a similar recipe. There’s a back story to how Ah Tai came about but I’ll leave that for another day.

The chicken here is soft, tender and juicy which makes it the highlight of the dish. For either $3.50 or $5, you’ll get a decently sized serving of chicken meat. I actually like the rice here as the texture is rather firm and moist and is rather flavourful.

What about the chilli sauce? it has a strong garlic taste and I wished it could be spicier. Not forgetting the thick, savoury sauce that’s drizzled over the chicken, it’s a perfect complement to the steamed chicken which would taste rather bland on its own.

I usually patronise Ah Tai as the queue is shorter and I find their chicken rice to be excellent. In fact I’d easily rate it as one of my favourite chicken rice places in Singapore.

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The wanton mee ($3.50) is of the traditional variety. It’s not uncommon to see queues forming at this stall on a weekend morning. Love how the noodles are firm and springy and being able to help myself with as much lard as I want. But the key highlight here is the chicken feet (additional $1.50) which tastes so good with the braised dark soy sauce seasoning. Spicy lovers would like the mix of dark soy sauce with the chilli sauce.

Char siew is made in-house using a charcoal oven and is lean and thinly sliced. Pretty unmemorable for me but perfect for those who love it the old school way. Wantons are pretty plump and the skin was smooth and silky.

Craving for claypot rice? Look no further to Lian He Ben Ji which is commonly ranked as one of the best places to have it in Singapore.

It’s not uncommon to wait an hour for this pot of flavourful goodness as the rice is cooked over charcoal for 20 minutes before it’s served.

Three versions are available (mixed, chicken and sausage), we went for the mixed version which comes with chicken, lup cheong (Chinese sausage), duck liver sausage, waxed pork belly and salted fish; and added more meat into it for another $3.

Once it’s mixed with the mandatory dark soy sauce, it becomes a beautiful mess (see third pic). What I like about the claypot rice here is there’s a strong smoky wok hei taste in every spoonful of rice. However, it could do with a bit more salted fish and duck liver sausages.

Kway chap isn’t commonly a dish that’s eaten at supper. But this stall at Bishan does a version good for night owls. It opens from 8.30pm in the evening all the way to 4am the following morning. In fact queues start to form at 8pm and this continues through the evening.

We ordered kway ($1 each) and it was smooth and silky, but didn’t had a lasting impression of the broth. For $16 (for four), there was braised belly pork, small intestine, large intestine, pig skin, fish cake, tau kwa, tau pok and boiled egg. The innards here were cleaned thoroughly and doesn’t have a bitter, gamey smell - the most important factor in determining if it’s a good rendition. Chilli sauce here is worth a mention where it’s sourish spicy. The type of sauce that complements the braised delights well.

I would say this is a decent bowl of kway chap for those who want to fulfil their late night cravings.

I’m a big fan of cendol and it’s hard to find a good version in Singapore. More often than not, the worm-like pandan jelly is frozen and makes one of my favourite desserts rather unsatisfying.

Old Amoy Chendol does an extremely good version for $2 and is a stellar example of hawkerpreneurship. Gula melaka from Sarawak and cold-pressed coconut milk (not single origin I think). The worm-like pandan jelly here is made fresh by hand and the pandan flavour is extracted from the leaves. Hence the shape is pretty uneven. The beans here are soft and sweet as azuki beans are used instead. For someone who doesn’t like beans in their cendol, I felt the beans were a perfect accompaniment.

The freshness of the coconut milk, the fineness of the ice and the not so sweet taste of the gula melaka makes it a refreshing rendition. I had it twice in the same week because it was worth every single calorie.

Ah Tan Wings has come to CBD. I really like the pungently tasty har cheong gai (prawn paste chicken) cutlet and the tangy chilli sauce.

Most of the stuff here are hand made which is becoming a rarity among ngoh hiang stalls in Singapore. So many calories in this dish but every item here is so good.

This is the place where you can have the world’s cheapest Michelin-starred meal. Up to this day, it continues to attract long queues at its original stall although it’s now commercialised.

Prices start from $2.80 and it’s served with either rice or noodles. I had the soy sauce chicken, roasted pork and char siew noodle ($6.80). The soy sauce chicken was tender (possibly cause I had the drumstick) but it’s certainly not the best I tried. Char siew here is prepared Hong Kong-style which was a balance of fat and meat with the edges nicely caramelised. As for the roasted pork, the skin is crispy and the meat is tender which was not bad. Noodles are springy and is served in a mix of lard and sambal belachan.

In my opinion, I feel the char siew and roasted pork are better than the soy sauce chicken. For all the hype and accolades, there are better stalls out there who are more deserving of them.

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A place to satisfy your late night cravings for nasi lemak. Good old Chinese nasi lemak featuring toppings such as luncheon meat and ngoh hiang. It’s not the cheapest nasi lemak around as prices can go above $10. But the rice is fragrant and every dish is freshly cooked in store. The must order item here are the chicken wings and no meal here would be complete without it.

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They claim to be the creators of Katong laksa. I’ve been eating here for years and it’s still as good as ever. It’s served with a spoon as that’s the original way is eaten.

The gravy is rich in coconut milk and this brings out the rich, fragrant flavour in every spoonful. Only thick bee hoon is offered on the menu and it’s served with prawn, cockles and fish cake. For those who like a rich, creamy, not too spicy bowl of laksa, this is the right place to go.#.

Yishun is known for many things and one of them is laksa. This stall is known to attract long queues during peak hours. However, I was fortunate enough to only wait for five minutes for this bowl of laksa as I went after the lunch hour. I really like the thick and rich gravy (but not overpowering) of the laksa and the yummy sambal. For the ingredients, you’ll get a hard boiled egg, tau kwa, crab sticks and hum (cockles). This is good for those who prefer their laksa that’s more balanced in flavour.

The camera always eats first. Instagram: @eaterries

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