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Hawker Gems

Hawker Gems

Go local! This list highlights the best of hawker fare, both well-known and unfamiliar, across the island. Eat cheap, but more importantly, eat well!
Jason Wong
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Lor Mee $3

There's always a perpetual queue at this popular lor mee stall near Eunos MRT, but it's still shorter than Xin Mei Xiang, and my preference is for this stall's version over the latter's.

The magic is in the thick but not starchy braising sauce that already has the perfect balance of sweet, salty and sour without the need for additional vinegar, but that condiment, along with minced garlic, cut chilli, coriander and a sourish sambal is provided for you to add to your own taste.

For its price, there's an ample amount of ingredients, including thin slices of five spice seasoned pork belly, two crispy pork nuggets, half a braised egg, and what I deem a cut above the rather boring fish flakes used by their more famous counterparts - two golden fried fish fritters that were crispy yet moist and tender, with ample flaky fish within.

Fu Chun Laksa Lor Mee, Unit 01-25
Eunos Crescent Market & Food Center
Closed on Mondays & Tuesdays

Taste: 4/5

Prawn Pork Rib Noodles $8(Medium)

The concentrated crustacean-y goodness of the broth is the main draw of Da Dong's prawn noodles - a thick, oily, orange stock, full of sweetness and robust shellfish flavour, imbued with the essence of countless prawn heads and pork bones. Savour each sip of the ambrosial liquid, because requests for extra soup will not normally be entertained.

The wild prawns used are succulent, but there's only 3 half-slices, and the pork ribs are tender and fall off the bone easily. I felt the price was slightly steep relative to the serving, though the quality definitely warrants return visits.

Taste: 4/5

Curry Chicken Cutlet Noodles $4

I love the smell of fried chicken in the morning. Freshly fried cutlet atop springy egg noodles, drenched in lemak Chinese-style curry, where have you been my entire life? The free flow pork lard makes the whole affair even more glorious.

Taste: 4/5

Mee Rebus $3

Oh mee rebus, we meet again. My annual pilgrimage to Bedok Camp for IPPT may be an arduous experience, but the reward at the end is made all the more sweeter knowing that a piping hot plate of noodles in gravy awaits me like a pot of saucy gold at the other side of the 2.4km rainbow.

The slurp-worthy sauce is not overly gloopy or starchy, and has a runnier consistency than most, which is just the way I like it. Subtly sweet and spicy, brimming with flavour and hiding the occasional soft peanut, the gravy clings well to the yellow noodles, but you'll find yourself drinking it straight from the spoon more often than not.

Pro-tip: add on a begedil for 60 cents. It may not be homemade, but they coat the patty in egg before deep-frying it. The result is a paper-thin crispy egg batter encasing a fabulously fluffy potato cake within.

Satay Solo
Unit 01-09
Blk 1 Bedok Road
Bedok Food Centre

Taste: 3.5/5

Katsudon $5

You could eat at Chinatown Complex everyday for a year and still not have fully plumbed the depths of the sprawling food labyrinth that is the largest hawker centre in Singapore. Case in point - this innocuous stall selling Japanese food nestled at the far end(or start, depending on where you enter from) of the hawker centre, where a small queue of office worker types wait patiently for their orders of high quality yet affordable donburi sets.

My katsudon came with freshly fried crispy pork cutlets covered in still slightly runny scrambled egg, sweet katsu sauce, soft onion and nori strips atop a mound of well cooked short grain rice. It may take a while, but you can taste the care that goes into the food, and service was hospitable from the friendly auntie too! Every order also comes with a bowl of miso soup and Japanese pickles.

#02-003 Chinatown Food Complex, 335 Smith Street, 050335

Taste: 3.5/5

Claypot Rice $12

It's a mistake I'm more than happy to make everytime I underestimate how generous the portions are and over order. The best way to eat this is to drizzle black sauce and oil over the invitingly aromatic smoky rice before mixing in the tender chunks of marinated chicken, salted fish, lup cheong and green vegetables. My favourite part is the super charred crust adhering to the bottom of the pot that I ease out with the addition of more black sauce and oil acting as lubrication. $12 feeds 2 big appetites(or 3 normal eaters). Be prepared to wait up till 45 minutes in the evenings as they get pretty popular during dinner time.

Zhao Ji Claypot Rice
Unit 02-053, Chinatown Complex Market

Taste: 4/5

Fried Mee Sua $5

I don't care if it's not the best in town, or even if the noodles are clumpy in places, because Yong Huat is comfort food in my hood. The magic is in the liberal use of lard oil which imbues each strand of vermicelli with deep umami, and the crunchy pieces of deep-fried lard that you know you shouldn't eat but do so anyway.

On top of the smoky noodles, portions are generous with lots of fish cake slices, fatty pork belly and prawns. A squeeze of lime to cut through the heaviness and an oily, slightly sweet sambal belacan brings everything together.

Alibabar, 125/127 East Coast Road

Taste: 3.5/5

Mixed Beef Noodles $5.5(large)

What a medley of textures in this generous bowl of slippery noodles drowned in a sticky, mildly herbal and sweet tasting sauce, topped with crunchy peanuts, preserved salted vegetables and spring onion. The mixed beef parts include fresh slices of tender meat, slightly crunchy stomach, brisket and gelatinous tendon.

Swirl in the self-serve tangy chilli sauce and pungent chinchalok to complete your Seremban beef noodle experience, made using a family recipe that's more than 40 years old.

Pity about the tasteless bowl of beef broth served on the side though.

Mr Wong Seremban Beef Noodles (01-184)
Marine Parade Central Market & Food Centre

Taste: 3.5/5

Wanton Noodles $3

Any observation of long lines at hawker stalls triggers an immediate beeline from me to join the queue.

The egg noodles are handmade here, and the effort pays off in their springy, firm texture. Slicked with a potent chilli and sesame oil dark sauce, the tangled strands disappeared from my plate in a matter of minutes.

On matters of accompaniments, the fried wantons, of which there were 4, were suitably crispy and filled with an above average amount of sweet minced pork. I liked the light tasting broth which played it easy on the salt and had a delicate sweetness to it. Unfortunately, the char siew was of the non-descript, bland and dry variety that plagues so many wanton noodle stalls.

On a sidenote, their "shui jiao" dumplings are delightfully plump, flavourful and had a pleasant subtle crunch from diced water chestnuts.

Kiat Huat 吉发 (Closed on Thursdays)
Haig Road Market and Food Centre
14 Haig Rd
#01-62

Xing Lou Seafood White Beehoon $30

Great value for money with generous amounts of seafood including prawns and clams in a hearty, lard enriched seafood stock. This is the luxe version which can be had for a slightly higher price and comes with scallops and slipper lobster. I was definitely slurping down every last strand of umami infused wok-fried beehoon from my bowl.

Taste: 3.5/5

Ayam Panggang Set $6.5

This brought back memories of standing in line behind snaking queues, at Riverside Indonesian BBQ's food court branch in Plaza Singapura, before movie dates at Golden Village. The smoky smells wafting from their grill would have me simultaneously drooling, while mentally cursing at the long wait before I got my food.

The grilled chicken thigh is still as good as ever here at Food Opera, tender and smoky from the grill and smothered in a sweet black sauce. I like the sides of braised cabbage and omelette as well, but the kicker is the sambal chilli and bowl of lemak curry sauce which you must drench your rice with for maximum shiokness.

#BurppleCheapNGood

Taste: 3.5/5

Signature Prime Ribs $10.5

Teochew style Bak Kut Teh boasting a smooth, peppery broth made from the finest grade of white pepper from Sarawak, and fall-off-the-bone meat using air-flown Australian and Indonesian pork. Quality.

Thanks to @sixthsensepr for hosting and @geekyelephant for the invite!

Signature Prime Ribs (Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh)

Taste: 3.5/5

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