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Local Hawker Dishes 🇸🇬

Local Hawker Dishes 🇸🇬

Featuring Xin Yuan Ji (Bugis), Curry Times (Velocity), Da Shi Jia 大食家大大大虾面, Food Republic (Suntec City), Lao Zhong Zhong Eating House, Kim Choo Kueh Chang (East Coast), Yan Ji Seafood Soup (Far East Plaza), Cafe Pandan, Choh Dee Place (163 Gangsa), Jia Yi Wan
Melissa Chee
Melissa Chee

Though I often frequent the outlet at Harbourfront Centre, this was the first time I’ve visited the one at Bugis Junction food court. The staff are really proactive at calling out to customers to buy soup, and are quite friendly too.

I was a bit lost with the menu here as it’s slightly different from what the HFC branch offers. I believe the regular herbal chicken soup that I usually order there has been replaced with black chicken at this outlet, and the herbal chicken soup I ended up ordering comes with a different mix of herbs as well as white fungus. I believe that this outlet might be better stocked as it was around 8.40pm but they still had enough of this soup and pumpkin rice (it was close to closing time due to earlier closing hours at 9pm a la COVID19 measures).

The chicken wasn’t as tender as what I’d hoped, but it still wasn’t bad. The soup had a sweeter, more mellow taste than what I usually get at HFC, but I enjoyed the taste just as much! Love the pumpkin rice here too, its as flavourful as I remembered, and the pumpkin is moist and mashed, with a few chunks still evident in the rice.

*note: if you have the stamp card from other outlets, remember to get stamps from this outlet too!

*how to save: the whole food court is FavePay friendly so feel free to use FavePay and get cashback at any of the other food court stalls too! :)

Unimpressed with the service here at Xin Wah Kee. They have a few choices of soups - toman fish or red grouper, or you could opt for the seafood options at the same price as the fish soup counterparts with more varieties of seafood and less fish slices.

I got the Toman Fish soup without any rice and noodles (+0.50 for rice, thick bee hoon, kuay tiao or mee sua). Originally wanted the set with you cai, but you can’t change the set as it comes with ngoh hiang. Bought the you cai separately instead which cost $2.80. The menu is quite inflexible, as I also wanted to get the chicken soup which they had advertised as a set with rice, veg and drinks. Unfortunately, you can’t order the chicken soup as an ala carte item so.. didn’t bother trying.

Tastewise, the fish soup is not bad. It’s got a milky white finish and is quite thick, slightly sweet and nourishing. There’s no fishy smell, and the Toman fish slices have no bones, plus there’s quite a decent number of fish slices and large rectangles of silken tofu inside. There’s a hint of shaoxing wine, with tomato and cabbage.

For the you cai, the vegetables were lightly poached which left them very crisp. However, the sauce was much sweeter than usual. It’d have been better if the sauce was less sweet and more savoury.

We also got two pieces of prawn roll/ngoh hiang, but they weren’t nice. The rolls weren’t served hot, and the portion size looked miserable. While the meat was tender, the roll left a powdery feeling when bitten into, with a strange aftertaste.

I doubt I’ll be visiting Xin Wah Kee again given the subpar service, sides and a mediocre fish soup. There’s other places that I’d go for a fish soup craving, and other places that I’d rather spend my money and calories at in Velocity.

When ordering Cafe Pandan’s nasi Lemak, you get a choice of eggs: omelette or sunny side up, and vegetables available at their heated display.

We had both the chicken cutlet and fried chicken wing nasi Lemak sets at our table with the long beans, one sunny side up and one omelette. I preferred the chicken cutlet over the fried chicken, and the omelette over the sunny side up, but both were good options! I love how tender both chicken options were, the batter was crisp and not too thick. Choose the cutlet if you’re lazy like me 😂 the rice was fragrant enough, but not particularly outstanding. As for the sambal, it was well-balanced, slightly sweet and not very spicy - so everyone can enjoy it.

I’d rate this as above average nasi lemak. It’s not the best in Singapore, but they don’t claim to specialise in any dish in particular, and the main draw of Cafe Pandan is their variety of delicious local dishes and comfortable interior. Definitely a nice place to consider if you’re looking for local food in a cafe setting instead of a hawker center or coffee shop.

From Dingtele stall:

Probably one of the few places in Singapore to get Shen Jian Bao that’s actually pan-fried on a huge circular pan. There’s a few varieties of dumplings here, but if you can’t make up your mind, you can pick Set A which comes with two pork dumplings and two prawn dumplings. The prawn dumplings are slightly larger than the pork dumplings to help differentiate between the two. The skins are a bit in the thick side, but they’re soft and chewy, and keep all that sweet soupy goodness within. Beware when you bite into the dumpling, in case the precious soup splashes everywhere. The bottoms of the dumplings are pan fried to a warm brown which makes them crisp. I really liked the two different textures on both sides of the dumplings. The pork mince filling is really juicy and delicious. I enjoyed both the pork and prawn dumplings very much. Not my first time ordering, and far from being my last whenever I pass by Dingtele.

I hadnt tried the xiao long bao from Dingtele before, but the Chinese staff tried to recommend it to me in English so I agreed. A for effort. For 4 pieces at $5.40, it’s actually not TOO expensive considering this is Rasapura Masters food court at MBS. The xlb weren’t steaming hot, but warm enough, so they could be enjoyed immediately. The skin on these xlb were also quite thick, but that meant they also ran little risk of spilling apart and losing their precious soupy cargo. That said, the one thing I really didn’t like about this xlb was how sticky the skin was. It was hard to pick up and release the xlb because of that. However, one bite into the xlb and I was sold. The soup in these little packages is next level. They were sweet and bursting with flavour. I would totally buy this again for how good the soup filling is although they could work on the skin!

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I’ve not eaten at Wok Hey for a while but it still seems to be a crowd favourite. Although the queues have mellowed down since their opening, we still had five people before us waiting for their orders.

I got my usual Shanghai Fried Rice with Shrimp with nai bai, broccoli and tobikko. Each add-on is $1, and I highly recommend getting the tobikko because they’re very generous with it for a dollar! Plus, who doesn’t love tobikko?! I opted for brown rice instead of Japanese white rice at no extra charge, which was awesome. I love the extra bite in brown rice, but some places charge more for it. You get an option for spicy or non-spicy, where a dollop of chilli oil will be spooned into your box later. I recommend this if you like spicy stuff!

Once your order is placed into the queue, you can wait by the frying station and watch the chefs work their magic. This is a purely takeaway stall, so everyone’s orders are packed into iconic American “Chinese takeout” containers (psst, Wok Hey has even taken it up a notch and made a Singaporean design on their container box). While it would be awesome to have this hot and fresh off the wok, it was still very good even after it had cooled down once we reached home. I really liked the generous amounts of tobikko provided, and there’s quite a good amount of crystal prawns for $7.30. The Nai bai adds a nice crunch to the savoury Shanghai fried rice, whereas the broccoli was soft and easy to chew. Not the crunchy broccoli I’m used to, but I don’t hate it.

Overall very yummy meal that’s convenient to get for lunch or on the way back home!

Note that this Mini Wok stall is no longer operating at NUS PGP Residences but have shifted to SP about 3 years ago - I’m not sure what the exact address is. I used to frequent this place when I was staying in KE Hall. Cereal Chicken and Salted Egg Chicken with fried egg were our staples, especially when hall dinner was dismal. A colleague was around SP today and offered to buy this back for us, so I jumped at the offer. Having this cereal chicken with rice really takes me back. I only ate it about 3 hours later so it was cold, and it’s definitely not the best cereal chicken ever, but the nostalgia of eating this dish is real. Despite being cold, the chicken was still crispy, and the cereal was mostly crunchy too (with the exception of some pieces on top that became soggy due to condensation). The cereal chicken is as fragrant as ever due to the curry leaves and chilli padi, and one thing I like in particular about this stall is that they fry the cereal with egg so you can see bits of egg yolks clinging to the cereal. Yums.

This portion was with extra chicken, which only cost an additional $1, but it’s so worth it! Just look at that mountain of cereal chicken with rice for $4.80.

From what my colleague said, the same two friendly guys run the stall at SP! I would definitely try to make a trip down personally and get the salted egg chicken with egg!

Visited at 12pm on Sunday and we were surprised that there was almost nobody here since we’d seen Qiu Lian Ban Mee packed with people at the same time on a different weekend. I’m not too sure when the crowds come, but they seem to thrive predominantly on student or teenager patrons on Sunday afternoons.

Went for the Minced Meat Dry Ban Mee, which was yummy, but not outstanding. It’s worth noting that this was many folds better than the Qiu Lian Ban Mee sold in Fairprice as the noodles don’t stick together, they’re slippery and QQ, but I didn’t find them mind blowing. The minced meat stewed in what looks like a watery chilli gravy is scooped from a small pot right at the end to top off the noodles, but I find the gravy more sweet than spicy, and that they’re quite stingy with the minced meat. After tossing in the sauces, the resultant bowl of dry noodles is slightly sour, sweet, spicy and savoury. I would really recommend adding the shallots and ikan bilis for extra crunchiness, texture and flavour. I would’ve gotten bored of this bowl of noodles otherwise.

Note that the dry noodles don’t come with a bowl of soup, so you might want to consider getting a bowl of dumpling soup to share if you’re dining in a group and want some soup.

From the Orchard Road Soup Guru stall:

As a newly launched dish, this stall sells a set for their Hakka lei cha with the option for a mini bowl of pork ribs soup (with various ingredient choices) for an additional $4 atop the base price of $6.50. You get a choice of brown rice, pumpkin rice or olive rice. I had the pumpkin rice and the wintermelon pork ribs soup.

I enjoyed the rice bowl after mixing all the ingredients together. It came with firm tofu, anchovies and a variety of chopped vegetables. The pumpkin rice was a fabulous choice with a good amount of soft pumpkin chunks. These provided a sweetness to the rice that contrasted nicely against the fried anchovies and sharp, almost wasabi-like taste of the vegetables. I didn’t pour in or drink much of the lei cha soup as it was bland despite its greenness.

As for the wintermelon with pork ribs soup, the two pork ribs I had were boneless, and were instead soft cartilages which I enjoyed. The meat wasn’t the most tender, but it was soft enough that it didn’t require much wrangling or chewing. Point to note that these pork ribs had lots of fat layered atop the meat. The wintermelon was well-cooked - in the sweet spot as it was soft and melt in your mouth, but didn’t distintegrate from overcooking. The soup was delicious as well.

Overall definitely not the best Hakka lei cha out there, considering that the thunder tea is an important element in this dish and this one was bland. However, I really really enjoyed the rice bowl - enough to make a revisit just for that.

I used to visit the Five Spice stall at the coffee shop near CCK bus interchange religiously as it’s great supper food for Westies and that has always been my benchmark for ngoh hiang, but Lao Zhong Zhong has knocked it completely out of the ball park with their ngoh hiang. I dare say that they don’t offer as wide a variety of ingredients as other ngoh hiang stalls do, but each piece is golden and worth a try for sure because they’re all fried to golden perfection. Crispy, but not dripping in oil! My favourites are the prawn fritter, ngoh hiang roll and the tofu. The tofu is some ho liao for sure - you can’t pick it yourself, they’ll only ask you if you want the tofu and the lup cheong when you pass them your plate. I’d say they’re both MUST ORDERS! The tofu is soft, sweet and pairs so well with the sauce. As for the lup cheong, I’m usually not a fan of Chinese sausage but the version here comes with more lean meat than fat meat and wasn’t too sweet or tough to chew! Genuinely enjoyed it. The coffee shop was packed even at 10pm, and I can see why because while the ngoh hiang is the star of the place, the other food stalls also serve up such delicious-looking food! I’ll be back for more ngoh hiang and to try the other stalls as well!

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From Soon Li Whitley Food Centre Pork Porridge stall:

This coffee shop is PACKED full of good food. Although we came for the ngoh hiang, we were so tempted to order everything else but settled on a steaming hot bowl of porridge to go with the fried fritters. I only realised after that the shop was named Pork Porridge so I probably should’ve gotten pork porridge instead, but I didn’t see it on the menu (only century egg porridge and sliced fish porridges on the signboard for some reason?). Anyway, the century egg lured me in and I have no regrets ordering this at all. The porridge takes a while to be served, but it comes piping hot! Don’t let the whiteness fool you, this bowl of porridge is full of flavour and doesn’t need any soy sauce to make it salty or flavourful. In fact, I was surprised to find salted egg inside the porridge as well! It was a really nice addition to the century egg. I think there was a whole century egg and half a salted egg in this porridge, very affordable at only $4 a bowl. I enjoyed the thinly sliced chicken meat as well, which was not at all stringy, and very tender and juicy. The taste of this porridge actually grows on you even more as you eat it, and Soon Li at Lao Zhong Zhong is definitely going to be a place I’ll put on my radar for porridge in the future, especially convenient because they cater to the late birdies as well. Perfect for a rainy day, late dinner or supper time!

When at Blanco Court, find a table and take note of the table number before placing your order at the cashier! Ordered the Jumbo Prawn & Pork Ribs noodle dry with kuay tiao and added on pig skin at $1. Service is quite fast, and we were quickly served with our bowls of mouth-wateringly good prawn noodles.

The jumbo prawns are really HUGE. In this combo, you get three halves of the prawns and four pieces of pork ribs. It helps that they’re sliced longitudinally so it’s easy to pry the meat out of the shell. Hidden under all that meat is a layer of damn good sambal chilli laying atop a bed of noodles and beansprouts. Upon mixing the chilli into the noodles, I saw only red - that was how generous they were with the chilli, and that’s great because it’s spicy, yet slightly sweet at the same time. It tasted like a fiery sambal chilli that gives you a real flavour kick in the mouth, with a mellower ketchup aftertaste to soothe the flames. So addictively good. Almost everything in this bowl was perfection. I loved the fresh jumbo prawns, the sambal-slick noodles, crunchy beansprouts, aromatic shallots, and the add-on pig skin. The only thing I felt could be improved was the pork ribs, which weren’t as tender or fall-off-the-bone as I would’ve liked, but weren’t dry or hard by any means.

Now, the prawn broth makes or breaks a prawn noodle dish, and Blanco Court serves up the thickest prawn broth I’ve ever seen or tasted. Seriously, the bowl of soup is so thick that it’s completely opaque. It’s packed full of prawn sweetness, and is hands down the best prawn noodle soup I’ve ever had. I used to eat Adam Road Prawn Noodles religiously but their standards have been quite inconsistent for a while, and their prawn broth has never remotely reached this level of thickness. Blanco Court Prawn Noodle has taken over the helm for where I’d go for my prawn noodle fix!

Sadly, the ngoh hiang stall was closed when we visited (probably due to the Vesak Day long weekend). I’m itching to revisit to eat these prawn noodles again with some ngoh hiang on the side!

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An Asian duck confit seasoned with special herbs and served with fresh egg noodles. The egg noodles here are all handmade fresh daily, and they do make some damn good noodles. The noodles are so QQ and springy, plus they are firm and never get soggy even after sitting in fragrant chilli and sesame oil. I enjoyed the duck confit, but it did taste a little bland on its own. Thankfully there’s some chilli paste provided with the duck platter. The tender duck meat is delicious when eaten with the flavourful noodles, and biting into the crispy skin on a spoonful of noodles and meat is amazing. I really enjoyed the deep fried vegetable-stuffed tau pok as well. The batter is done really well, not too thick, and fried to a perfect crispness. The vegetable stuffing completely fell out of one half of my tau pok, but it was still yummy to eat the battered tau pok! Also, the clear radish soup served with every bowl of noodles is worth a mention! The radish makes the soup very sweet, and it’s a great way to end off a hearty meal.

The soy egg in the bowl was an add-on, and unlike the noodles, it was a let down. The soy sauce flavouring wasn’t thick enough, so the egg just tasted unseasoned despite its brown appearance. The egg was soft on the inside, like a hanjuku egg, but the yolk was too overcooked to retain any runniness.

Always biding my time to my next meal. Everything in between just serves to kill time.

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