Category Archives: By Hawker Centres

Hua Kee Hougang Wan Ton Mee

Wan Tho Noodles
Wan Tho Noodles
Hua Kee Hougang Wan Ton Mee
Old Airport Road Emporium & Food Centre
Blk 51 Old Airport Road #01-113B

Opening Hours: 12 noon to 12 midnight; closed on Mondays

 

 

There were a few things that caught my eye and prompted to try the noodles here.  First, I saw the char siew the guy was cutting – it looked red and a bit burnt on the outside.  My ideal char siew!

Second, there was a queue at this stall.  If there is a queue at a food stall in Singapore, the food must be good, right? And lastly, there were the numerous accolades pinned at the stall.  Must be really good, right?

Well, it’s half right.  The portion is really very good value for money.  See the picture above? That’s a S$3 portion!  The char siew didn’t disappoint me – it was really tasty.

But I didn’t like the noodles – it was too dry; not enough chilli sauce and other sauce to blend it in.  So that made the noodles kinda stick together.  The wanton was so so – not memorable.

Overall, if you’re looking for quantity, then go ahead and eat it.  Be prepared for a queue – I was in it for about 15 minutes during off-peak hours.  If you’re going for quality, you’re better off eating the Kok Kee Wanton Noodle at Lavender Hawker Centre..

Etna Restaurant & Pizzeria

Etna Restaurant & Pizzeria
18 Raffles Quay #01-68/69/70
Lau Pa Sat Festival Market
Tel: (65) 6220 5513
Opening Hours: 10am to 11pm (Monday to Saturday)
Website: http://www.sicilia-mia.com/

Bf and I went for our romantic Valentine’s Day at the most unromantic venue… Lau Pa Sat! The first time when I heard we’re having dinner at Lau Pa Sat on V-day, the first thing that came to my mind was “We’re having satay there?” Hehe… before you really dismiss it off as an unromantic venue or think that we’re eating satay, think again! We had it at a very cosy restaurant called Etna Restaurant & Pizzeria.

This restaurant was recommended to Bf by his colleague (an Italian no less), so I told him that food should be quite good there if his colleague says it’s nice.

They had a set dinner for V-day which we had a look-through before we went to the restaurant. However, after arriving at the restaurant, we were informed that we could also order a-la-carte if we wanted to. Going through the menu and calculating the costs, we decided that we were better off eating a-la-carte since we are both small eaters. What we ordered for sharing was the Salad Rugola (S$18), Tag. Nero Seppia (S$22) (squid-ink pasta), Grigliata Carne (mixed grill) (S$32), 2 glasses of Prosecco (S$18) and 1 San Pellegrino (sparkling mineral water) (S$6). Our total bill came up to S$113 for everything.

We were also served an entree of cured meat, cheese, salami and bread sticks (complimentary). Food came quickly and service was great!

The Salad Rugola (rugola is also known as rocket salad) was served with thin slices of parmesan cheese and a good dash of balsamic dressing. The cheese was not overpowering and the balsamic dressing tasted great on the palate. Overall, a good choice for a starter.

Then we had the Tag. Nero Seppia – better known as squid ink pasta to the uninitiated. If you’re thinking squid ink as yucks, think again! I don’t know what other herbs or spices they added to the pasta and squid ink but it was very flavorful. Within the pasta, you could also find pieces of prawns and squid. Be careful when you have this dish – squid ink does not come off your clothes and if you get it on your skin, it will be there for quite a while.

Then we were served the Grigliata Carne – mixed grill. Since the dish came with a piece of lamb, pork, chicken and beef, we specially asked for no beef and the waitress suggested that we replaced that with another piece of pork or chicken. Good service in the sense that they asked us our preference rather than just simply dumping another piece of meat to replace the beef. So we asked for chicken. Our verdict? The chicken breast was nice – a bit on the dry side though. Pork was overcooked and it was placed under the piece of lamb, so some of the lamb’s juice went into the pork. Overall, not that nice except for the lamb which bf said was excellent. Unfortunately we did not have much space for desserts.

Overall, lovely dinner in a romantic setting (despite it being in Lau Pa Sat). Service is attentive without being intrusive and friendly (they kept pouring us our Pellegrino when the glass is half full). Value is good giving the quality of the food we had. It’s better to stick to the pasta and skip the mixed grill. Don’t worry if you are not familiar with the Italian names of the food – they have English description of the food underneath the names. If you are still not sure, you can always consult the friendly waitress/waiter there. And yes, we will definitely be back there again.

Otah and Nasi Lemak from Lee Wee & Brothers

Squid Otah Assam Fish Ikan Bilis
Lee Wee & Brothers Foodstuff Pte Ltd
Outlet 1:
Basement 1 Tangs Plaza
Tel: 6235 9122
Outlet 2:
#B1-K16 Tampines Mall
Tel: 6789 9122
Outlet 3:
Blk 209 Hougang St 21 #01-02
Hougang St 21 Market and Food Centre
Tel: 6280 9122
Outlet 4:
Blk 51 Old Airport Road #01-79
Tel: 6348 9122
Outlet 5:
Blk 254 Jurong East St 24 #01-33
Tel: 6565 9122
Outlet 6:
Blk 20 Ghim Moh Road #01-38
Tel: 6464 9122
Outlet 7:
Blk 90 Whampoa Drive #01-639
Tel: 6254 9122
Website: http://www.leeweebrothers.com/

I personally tried the otah from the stall’s outlet at Kovan FC (can’t remember the date).  What I loved about its otah is that if you ordered the prawns otah, you actually get a few small pieces of prawns; and if you ordered the squid otah, you actually get a few small slices of squid inside your otah.  You get the idea. 

And you would think like you have to pay more than S$1 to get a stick of otah like this.  Well, you can get it at S$0.60!!  Excellent value for money!

They also have nasi lemak, assam fish, ikan bilis, chilli sauce, etc. for sale at their stall. If you want, you can ask them to cater for you or even cater the food for your BBQ.  Check their website for pricing details and order form.

Fa Ji Minced Meat Noodles

Fa Ji Minced Meat Noodles
Stall No. #01-05 Hougang St 21 Market & Food Centre
Opening Hours: 7am to 10.15pm, closed on Wednesday

I had a bowl of minced meat noodles here on 20 December 2007.  A bowl of noodles will cost you a minimum of S$2.70 (one of the cheapest minced meat noodles in town) and a maximum of S$3.20.

I, small eater that I am, ordered the smallest one with my favourite bee hoon (a type of noodles).  What came with my bee hoon were minced pork, 3 fishballs, 3 slices of fish cake and 1 pork ball with extra vinegar of course.

My verdict? Great value for money; wish they have given me a few slices of sliced pork; more sourish vinegar and spicier chilli.  Overall, the taste is not too bad really; I just love my vinegar that’s all. 😀  Definitely a will-come back again.

Unique Fruit Juices from Tian Cheng Shen Shui Gan Zhe

Tian Cheng Shen Shui Gan Zhe
Tian Cheng Shen Shui Gan Zhe
Blk 209, Hougang Street 21 #01-22
Hougang St 21 Market and Food Centre

This is one of the stalls that sells very unique fruit juices.  Imagine having a glass of dou miao (pea shoots) combined with a bottle of yakult.  It’s supposedly good for your skin. And this glass of juice will only set you back for S$2.50!

Other unique flavours include beetroot juice (for slimming – S$2.50), bittergourd and apple (S$2), wheatgrass (S$3).  This stall also mixes potatoes and even cactus in its fruit juices! How unique can you get!

Eat May Know Rojak

Eat May Know Rojak
Eat May Know (食就知)
#01-32 Bendemeer Market & Food Centre
Blk 29 Bendemeer Road
Opening Hours: Noon to 6pm (sometimes this stall may open till 7pm)
Post-Makan Note: 

This stall had many recommendations like Makansutra, Channel U, etc. and it claims that the you tiao (deep-fried dough sticks) used in their rojak is made by them.

I ordered a S$3 portion for takeaway (see picture above). My verdict? Well, the you tiao may have been made by them but the ones I had were already pre-fried (not made on the spot) and hard! The you tiao is supposed to be crispy and not hard! The cuttlefish slices were also not bbq long enough to get the fragrance out of them. And auntie didn’t even offer to separate the sauce from the ingredients. 😦 Auntie also put a few slices (something like 5 pieces each) of pineapple, cucumber and turnip.

The only saving grace about this rojak is their tau pok (fried beancurd) which is a little bit crispy and the potent chilli! So potent  that you’d better stand by gallons of water if you are not a chilli fan. Of course, you can always ask auntie not to put in the chilli but there may be leftovers from the previous order, if you know what I mean.

Unfortunately, I will not patronise this stall again.  I much prefer my Clementi Brothers Rojak.

Bread from Bread Pitt

Bread from Bread Pitt Cookies from Bread Pitt
Bread Pitt
Stall No. (am not sure what’s the stall no.; will check and let you know soon)
Maxwell Road Food Centre

With no nice smell of the buns baking in the oven, the only thing that caught my eye was the stall’s name.

I bought 3 pieces of bread (see 1st picture above: from L-R: hot dog bun, cheese and curry) for S$2.20 and a packet of chocolate cookies for S$1.80.  Buns were still warm when I bought it but I only ate it the next morning.

The buns tasted really ordinary, something that I can get from any bakery shops.  Only thing I love is the price that I paid for the buns.

The chocolate cookies were so-so too.  Not very chocolatey in taste and a bit dry.  You might say you get for what you pay, but I’ve tasted better ones for about the same price.  But of course the better ones were home-made by a friend. 😀

Maybe I’ll try to eat the buns warm next time, probably I’ll enjoy them better. Then again, it’s a maybe only.

 

Rosie’s Nasi Padang @ Maxwell

Rosie’s Nasi Padang @ Maxwell
Stall No 100, Maxwell Road Food Centre
Tel: 9238 9305 (for catering and other enquiries)
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat: 7.30am-8pm; open on Public Holidays; Closed on Sundays

A new nasi padang stall at Maxwell Food Centre is fast gaining popularity among the working crowd there. Being the only nasi padang stall in the area, and offering a wide variety of dishes at reasonable prices, Rosie’s Nasi Padang @ Maxwell has acquired a loyal following since it opened earlier this month.

Rosie’s Nasi Padang @ Maxwell was set up by Eric and Rosie Gohres. Eric, who is Dutch, and Rosie, a Singaporean, were unsatisfied with the limited and expensive dishes offered by many nasi padang eateries. When a stall at Maxwell Food Centre became available, the couple jumped at the chance to open their own nasi padang stall and roped in Rosie’s parents to manage it. Rosie’s mother Mdm Hajjah Rafiah has over 10 years of experience in cooking Malay food at food centres and factory canteens, and is the head cook of the stall.

One of the draws of Rosie’s Nasi Padang is its wide variety. With over 20 different dishes to choose from, one is spoilt for choice. Looking at the variety of meat, seafood, vegetables and side dishes, I wasn’t sure which I should try first.

I started off with the Ayam Masak Merah (sweet and sour chicken). This dish, with its dark red colour, looked appetising, and the chicken meat was tender. Unfortunately, it was too sour for my liking.

However, I wasn’t disappointed when I tried the most popular item on the menu – Beef Rendang. The beef is really tender and juicy, and is just irresistible when it is enveloped in the thick and spicy coconut gravy. Another dish that you should try is the Chicken Curry. The meat is tender and the flavourful dish is full of different spices and curry. The Sambal Goreng, consisting of tofu and mixed vegetables stewed in coconut-based sauce, is another must-try. It is also rich in flavour and the long beans are really crunchy.

And who can miss the belacan? I was blown away by the first spoonful of this humble chilli dish which was cooked to perfection. Its spiciness immediately made my scalp perspire, while the judicious blend of ingredients gave a balance between the sweet and sour flavours. It also looks appetising with its fresh orangey-red colour. I was told that there was a customer who liked the belacan so much that she bought a tub of it home.

My meal was a pleasant one in spite of the rather dry white rice, as the Sayur Lodeh helped to moisten it a bit. This vegetable dish, which is a mix of crunchy vegetables such as long beans and cabbage, and fried tofu, all in creamy coconut gravy, has just the right amount of saltiness for balance.

You can also find other dishes in their menu which is changed every day for variety. They include fish curry, ayam lemak cili padi (chicken in coconut gravy with chilli pepper), chilli prawns, sotong masak hitam (black ink squid), sambal telur burung (chilli quail eggs), ikan assam pedas (spicy tamarind fish), sambal sotong (chilli squid), sambal kupang (chilli mussels), begedel (potato balls), and more.

A Nasi Padang set with one meat and two vegetables dishes costs only $3.50. Although the food is cheap, quality is not compromised as Rosie believes in using the best ingredients she can get.

If choosing your own dishes seems like a big hassle, Rosie also sells a Nasi Lemak set (above, first picture) with chicken wing, egg and anchovies ($2) and Nasi Ayam Penyet (Indonesian Crispy Chicken Rice, $3). On Fridays, you can appease your craving for Nasi Briyani Dam that comes with beef ($3) or chicken ($3.50).

The best time to go to Rosie’s Nasi Padang@Maxwell is during lunchtime when the food is still hot and a wider variety of dishes is available for you to choose from.

Rosie’s Nasi Padang is cheap and value-for-money, and its beef rendang (and belacan) is worth queuing up for.

Note: This review was extracted from AsiaOne.
Post-Makan Note:

I tried the Nasi Ayam Penyet (Indonesian Crispy Chicken Rice) set on 19 November 2007 and I must say I was very disappointed with the food.

The chicken was served cold and it was not crispy at all. The chicken was pretty tasteless and the chilli, although given very generously, was not spicy at all.  Doesn’t taste like sambal belachan.  The rice tasted very ordinary… perhaps a bit oiler than the usual plain rice.

Although the review said there were 20 different dishes for its Nasi Padang, I counted less than that. And most didn’t look appetizing at all.

Overall, I will still stick to my Nasi Padang Stall at River Valley.

Toa Payoh Rojak

Toa Payoh Rojak
Toa Payoh Rojak
Blk 51 Old Airport Road #01-108
Old Airport Road Market & Hawker Centre
Opening Hours: Noon to 8pm, closed on Sundays

This is possibly the only stall in Singapore that has a queue number board, which makes you feel like you’re visiting the doctor. The elderly hawker, Cheng Kok San, takes his time to grill the tau kwa and dough fritters, resulting in the 30-minute wait but fabulously warm rojak. The tau kwa is amazingly soft and chewy. Thrown into the mix are lime skin shreds, raw mangoes and a delicious gravy. Expect to see the tables in front of this stall filled with customers waiting for their turn to place their order. We suggest that you order something else you can nibble on while you wait for your rojak to arrive. It will be a long wait.

Epok Epok Central

Epok Epok 2 Epok Epok Central 
Epok Epok Central
Block 4A Eunos Crescent #01-09
Eunos Crescent Market & Food Centre
Opening Hours: 7am to 7pm, closed on Mondays

Well before our beloved curry puff epoch, there was epok epok. A humble and non-descript looking Malay curry puff stuffed with spicy potatoes. The first recorded history of the curry puff was the Polar version when an old Indian man sold his curried potato puff pastry recipe to Polar Café founder Mr Chan Hinky not long before the Japanese Occupation.

But Mdm Hajjah Bayah Ahmad grandmother was already serving epok epok when she was born in 1930. “Then, nobody sold it on the street. It was my nenek’s (granny) recipe. My mother and I sold it on a push cart stall in “central” near Kaki Bukit.”, Hajah Ayah also recalls the “central” area as a street food haven in the sixties.

My memories of this simple curried potato pastry go back to my primary education era in the 70’s and it was simply “currypup” to us then. A Malay man would cycle into our then St Michael’s School (now St Joseph’s Junior) with a glass and steel cabinet behind loaded with freshly fried currypup. It cost about five cents each then (nothing cost five cents today), and for regulars like me, who eyeball the chili sauce each time, he’ll inject a couple of shots of his spicy, sour yet sweet chilli sauce in to the cuurypup with his homemade nozzled capped Coca Cola chilli bottle. It was soulfood.

Unlike today’s curry puffs, which gives you that rich sensation with an over-buttered pastry and over-curried potatos, epok epok pasty was simply done with a hint of ghee (clarified butter) and plain flour. Even the potato fillings were different- marinated with a light chilli rempah devoid of curry powder. It was just a softly crispy yet not oily pastry holding in soft sambal potatoes. The corners of the epok epok were hand-nipped and irregular. Delightful.

This is a sensation you won’t easily find even in Malaysia and Indonesia. The closest they have in Roti Boyan, a huge pizza shaped potato pie done without much spices. And if the likes of Hajjah Ayah decides to call it quits, it’s sayonara to this aspect of our food culture. Thankfully, her young son Lokman Kassimdid not have it good in the corporate world, “My work in the advertising industry was very stressful la. Cannot tahan.”, so he permanently logged off his computer eight years ago and took on the mantle at his mother’s stall.

“I have no regrets. I enjoy this, no stress, no deadlines and no headaches”, and Lokman also reveals that each epok epok is done by hand and “so as long as I can, I will continue to hand make it.”. They shift on average a thousand pieces each day and every ball of dough is measured and rolled thinly through a little pasta press, one by one. By now, “ of course I can measure each dough ball just by feeling it in my hand”.

Which is what makes their epok epok stand out. The pastry is consistenly thin and crispy and not overly stuffed. The little pocket of air in their kentang(potato) epok epok adds to the lightness. Bite into it and you’ll know it’s not the curry puff we popularly know it to be today. They offer four versions which Hajjan Ayah claims is with a recipe faithful to her nenek’s, seventy years ago – potatoes, sardines, egg-potatoes and vegetables. Their vegetable version is rare, stuffed with towgay and chives and wok tossed in a sweet, spicy and vinegared chilli sauce. They don’t make it daily but there’s a good chance they’ll serve it on weekends.

I can easily cruise through five of these and then begin a meal. It helps that they make it a tad smaller than usual so two bites will do make it disappear. And remember to take Lokman’s advice, “wash it down with the perfect beverage partner- a hot cup of kopi.”

Note: This review was extracted from Makansutra.