Makansutra Singapore Food Ebook 2021

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Credit

Makansutra Singapore 2021 Copyright Makansutra (S) Pte Ltd

Publisher: Makansutra (S) Pte Ltd Chief Editor & Food Guru: KF Seetoh Editorial Contributors: Koh Siew Tin, Wilson Wong, Clarence Choa, Chris, Layin Food Researchers: You know who you are & why we keep you under wraps. Much obliged to you! Production Management: Patricia Anne Lim, Heng Wei Ling, Candy Poh, Tong Hui Wen Cover Photo: “On the Chicken Wings of Love” by KF Seetoh, take n at Huat Huat BBQ Chicken Wings, Gluttons Bay

Published and Produced by: Makansutra (S) Pte Ltd

All rights are reserved, including all intellectual property rights, vested in the author and publisher for the works herein. No part of this publication or parts thereof may be reproduced in any form, stored in any retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means or any methods without the written consent of the author and publisher (contact@makansutra.com). All comments in this guide are based upon purely personal opinions of the honest public and not the sole view of Makansutra (S) Pte Ltd. No malice or favours are intended towards any one establishment and/or posting Eating establishments come and go, get relocated, adjust operating hours, alter recipes, change chefs and menus, or move to new pr emises regularly. It’s likely that some eateries and stalls listed in this guide may be moving to new locations even as we are in the midst of producing this edition. While we take great pains to ensure the accuracy of our listing. We can only assure that all information contained in this book are accurate at time of production.

Email: contact@makansutra.com Website: www.makansutra.com Facebook: @makansutra | Instagram: @makansutrasingapore Twitter: @makansutra | YouTube: @makansutra

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Contents

Foreword

6

Seetoh Say …

7

The Unesco Class Singapore

8

Hawker Food Culture

Eating at the Hawkers and Kopitiams

10

Cashless is King-Maker

11

Using Makansutra

12

A – Z Food Categories

14

A – Z Food Photo Categories

16

Searching by Location

373

North

374

South

376

East

378

West

383

Central

384

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(Click to watch video)

World Street Food Congress

Makansutra Food Halls & Markets

Food Safaris / Food Tours

TV Shows

Consultancy Projects

Regional Food Guides

If you’re keen on partnership & collaborations ,

please contact us at contact@makansutra.com

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Foreword

The Unconscious Tale of Deliciousness.

As I write this in early November 2020, I can feel that Singapore is on the cusp of receiving that inscription for its hawker food culture in the Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity award. I played a small role, together with some famous foodies like Violet Oon and Azizah Ali, by suggesting the idea at a National Heritage Board focus group in 2018. A few months later, our Prime Minister called for that nomination with Unesco. Why? Because it’s one of the most popular and delicious cultures that binds, that all Singaporeans love and partake in, regardless of race, culture, class and creed. So what does it mean? All that toil and desperate acts of an earlier generation of hawkers, to survive an uncertain post-war future, have come to fruition. The people love it, the government supports it and their industry thrives because of it, and no one cares who you are when you chow down at a hawker centre or kopitiam. The opportunities ahead are a big green field. The era of the successful one-dish street food entrepreneur has arrived. There are currently over 114 public hawker centres in Singapore and more than 1,200 coffee shops (private small hawker cafes where you can have coffee too) plus hundreds of private food courts which are essentially smaller and more comfortable or air-conditioned hawker centres. The tally comes up to over 25,000. Covid-19 may have forced some closures in 2020, but it is an insignificant number. Hawkers are everywhere in this tiny country of 5.5 million people, with over 25,000 hawker food stalls in a tiny 725 sq km space. But no one is complaining. They feed this nation affordably, comfortably and conveniently. I learnt so much about life, love and determination from the people behind this hawker food culture, and I am still discovering today. Comfort food empowers in so many ways. The impending Unesco award is the ultimate recognition all hawkers in Singapore can receive, better than the ultimate “ die die must try ” or 3 pairs of chopsticks ranking this book can ever accord any vendor or chef. This 11 th edition of our popular Makansutra Singapore guide (since 1997) has gone electronic and in all honesty, we just like to freely share this great culture of deliciousness with you. Eat the Food and Digest the Culture. Food on your social media screen is an oxymoron. Devour, eat well and live it up.

KF Seetoh

Food Guru and Founder, Makansutra November 2020.

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Seetoh Say...

“So what’s happening . ..”

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The Unesco Class Singapore Hawker Food Culture They are up at the stall by 3am each workday cutting, washing, slicing, boiling, marinating, blending, frying (and all those attendant prep work), just so the line of patient customers can get their curry chicken noodles by 10am. Those seven hours of elbow grease work before the first bowl is served, is exactly what the customers expect, and precisely what the hawker will do. These stories of daily toil is just one chapter of the Hawker Food Culture in Singapore. Street food hawkers have come a long way from their itinerant street food cart days of yore and are installed in efficient little 10x10 ft stalls today, replete with clean water supply, electricity, grey water drainage, exhaust hoods and ventilation. The government of Singapore relocated over 10,000 itinerant street stalls back in the day and systematically built and settled them into custom-made hawker centres. Ironically, it was about the environment – these street hawkers were polluting the drains and air about them and heaven knows how and where they obtained their supplies nor how it was handled. Today, no one questions these practices. Everyone prefers to know who, where, how good it is and why plus how much. It’s about the culture and the crazy food love. Waiting an hour for an award-winning bowl of bak chor mee is not even a conversation topic. Corporate raiders who gave it all up and hawked nasi lemak now sounds like a boring story. We even have a Johns Hopkins masters graduate, who ditched academia and followed his heart, offering progressive Chindian fare in a hawker centre in town. There are also those who know just one recipe all their life and little else and put it up on their food stall menu and charted their route to success. Some have garnered international recognition and World Street Food Awards (Click Here) for their delectable food and are now expanding their humble business locally and in the region. These are the one- dish entrepreneurs we celebrate in our midst. It’s another layer of the food culture here. Another fact is, prices at the hawkers are largely very affordable, sometimes bordering on cheap. A platter or bowl on average will set you back anything from S$3 to S$6.

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Collectively, the almost 30,000 hawkers in Singapore, found in hawker centres, kopitiam (coffee shops), canteens, food courts and even food booths, offer us all a tale about who and what we are here. If you factor in Singapore’s size of just 725 sq km, the food playbook is very thick with deliciousness and history. The Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity award for the hawker food culture in Singapore is a mark of recognition of this organic culinary culture. It is expected to receive this inscription by 2021 and this opens up a fresh new world perspective on its possibilities, from international business opportunities, tourism, education, to entrepreneurism and more. But there lies a bug in its effort to address sustainability and continuity. Not many of the mobile lifestyle generation in Singapore are keen to join the trade and defend this food culture. Those old guns in the trade have huge problems attracting and hiring workers, assistants or even cooks. It is compounded by the manpower policies of the land that does not allow hiring of qualified foreigners who want the job. In some instances, you need to hire up to 1-4 Singaporeans (who shun these jobs) before you are allowed one to two foreign hires. A catch-22 situation that will deprive the trade of oxygen. We celebrate and support the sustainability of this Singapore Hawker Culture with this first online edition of Makansutra Singapore 2021. It is updated frequently, and you just view it here as often as you want for free, for the latest… like a scrumptious story unfurling. http://www.makansutra.com/ebook

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Eating at the Hawkers and Kopitiams ( “How to use a Hawker Centre & Coffeeshop / Kopitiam” ) Heritage street food is found largely in hawker centres, coffeeshop, stand alone food kiosk, canteen and little mum and pop food shops all over the country. When you are at the hawker centres, you ’ll be taken aback by the range and the sheer amount of people (especially at mealtimes). No one will saunter up and ask if you need a table unless some kind angel sensed your shock and cluelessness. Best way is to first walk about the whole centre, see, smell and ask the hawkers or the customers what they are eating and where to get them . Singaporeans share food information shamelessly. Then go find a table (if you are in group) and then have one or two of you go buy on everyone’s behalf. If you are alone, buy whatever, wherever and then find a seat. Share tables with a stranger-cum-soon – to-be-friend and talk about food when eating. That’s what we do. Return your trays, utensils or cutleries to the “return stations” all over the centre and be mindful of the halal and the non halal stations. In a kopitiam or canteens, usually with 10 or less stalls in a more private setting, it is usually about the same procedure. Sometimes these hawkers will come up and nicely upsell their stuff. But due to manpower constraints, it’s more likely you have to order at the counter and self-collect or take a buzzer. Like a fast-food chain, you pay upon order and mind you, they are fast- usually an individually cooked platter can be served in under 5 mins, unless there’s a long queue for it. At most kopitiams and canteens, a cleaner will clear your table, so you just eat, keep things neat, and go. Little food shops and kiosks are largely self service, so no unnecessary manpower cost will be passed on to you.

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Cashless is King-Maker! ( “ In collaboration with DBS PayLah! ” )

Cash will always be king, but cashless is the new kingmaker, it will determine how we pay for food and stuff in future, both on and offline. It is nice to have a wad of cash in hand or in your fat wallet and then go wander about the food and retail jungle out there. Then technology happened, and in these short few years, folks are whipping out not just credit cards but flashing apps to pay up at shops and even hawker stalls. I cite you a real-life story about how cash was not always king. This noodle vendor, recently retired, had plenty of customers at her hawker stall every day. You had to wait at least 20 minutes for the makan. Of course she had to cook and relied on her helper to take orders and collect, mostly cash, as it was sited in an old estate full of senior folks who weren’t wired up for cashless transactions. The helper was efficient but wily in his ways. It is known in the F&B industry that about 5-10% of monies need be written off as “unaccountable” or “miscellaneous” each month. Hers, at one stage went u p to 20%. The helper was caught red handed and let off with a warning as the hawker understood her financial situation at home. If she only had cashless payment systems like DBS PayLah!, it would lessen her heartache, knowing she had to release a worker. It would help her in her basic accounting works, knowing just how much was sold and minimise the physical handling of dollar notes and coins. Just try, if you dare, imagine where that $10 was before it reached your hands today. Or how it may rest in your pocket and eventually spread those germy felons all over your fingers and onwards to your face or food or your children! Makansutra is working with DBS PayLah! in this inaugural, 11 th e- edition of our food guide. Keep all those bacteria away and keep honesty at bay. Make deliciousness convenient. Stay calm and eat see hum (see page 264 (Kin Hoi)) ☺

KF Seetoh Founder and CEO Makansutra www.makansutra.com Creator: World Street Food Congress www.wsfcongress.com

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Using Makansutra

This is the first e-edition of the popular Makansutra guides and it’s not the last. It’s distributed free so all you do is log on to https://www.makansutra.com/ebook (save this link), read, find and feast, then close it when you are done. We correct and adjust this on the fly (hawkers are known to be fickle with recipes and operation hours) and with substantial updates 3-4 times a year. You get the latest edition each time you log in again. Eating in Singapore is affordable and borders on cheap – a decent meal with drinks or desserts will set you back by about S$10 a person or less . This e-book has interactive functions – click on the address and it’ll send you to a map to get you there. It has a category page (just click on the A-Z icon at the bottom left of the page) whereby it will send you to the selection you click on. Every food photos and videos are of the actual stall and many come with a short (about 1min or less) video, done in a no-frills WYSWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) style. Reviews of hawkers and heritage eateries will come and go, no listing or rating is permanent as hawker food in Singapore is a living culture and very volatile. Some will stay, get re- rated up or down, some will be replaced, removed or displaced. That’s how lively the food scene is here in Singapore. This list will expand along the way as there are a lot more hidden gems left to be discovered. The iconic Chopsticks rating. Since 1998, this food guide has accorded thousands of hawkers with its Chopsticks ranking. The ultimate recognition we accord to restaurants or hawkers is 3 Pairs of Chopsticks or what we term “Die Die Must Try”. It is an honour for us to find and recognise such eateries. The basic ranking starts from 1 Pair and you can see the chart below for the terminologies. See also the icons we use to indicate Muslim friendly eateries, midnight joints or when the eatery has relocated, etc. Ever so often our partners and supporters may offer special deals and events to celebrate this Unesco class hawker food culture. Log in to read the foreward and check out the deals. We will inform you of any updates, just leave us a reply email or contact at the login page.

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The Chopsticks Ratings

Die Die Must Try!

Divine

Very Good

Good

Excellent

Symbols used in Makansutra

Muslim- owned

Upgrade

Downgrade

Midnight

Accept DBS PayLah!

Address

Operating Hours

Closed

Home-Based Business

Online

Unwired Hawkers

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~Index~

Food Categories By Food Type – (Click to Go)

Curry Mee/ Noodles ............................. 131

Curry Puff ............................................ 135

Abacus Seeds (Suan Pan Zi) ...................22

Curry Rice ........................................... 139

Ang Ku Kueh (Red Tortoise Cake)...........23

Cze Cha (Cook & Fry) ........................... 142

Appam ...................................................25

Dian Xin / Dim Sum ............................... 159

Asian Desserts .......................................27

Duck/Goose (Stewed) Rice, Porridge & Noodles) .............................................. 163

Bak Chang (Rice Dumplings) ..................37

Bak Chor Mee (Minced Meat Noodles) .....38

Epok Epok ........................................... 170

Bak Kut Teh (Pork Ribs Soup) .................43

Eurasian / Peranakan / Nonya............... 172

Bak Kwa (Barbecued Meat Slices) ..........47

Fish Ball Noodles / Mee Pok Tah ........... 181

Ban Mian ................................................50

Fish Head Bee Hoon............................. 191

Bebek Goreng ........................................55

Fish Head Curry ................................... 193

Beef Ball Bee Hoon.................................56

Fish Head Steamboat ........................... 195

Beef Kway Teow / Noodles......................57

Fish (Seafood) Soup / Fish (Seafood) Porridge .............................................. 197

Beverage & Juices .................................60

Black Vinegar Trotters ...........................62

Fried Beehoon & Fried Chicken Wings.. 202

Bread.....................................................63

Fried Hokkien Mee ............................... 204

Cantonese Restaurant............................66

Goreng Pisang (Banana Fritters) .......... 210

Cantonese Roast ....................................68

HamBurgers ........................................ 212

Chai Tow Kway (Fried Carrot Cake) ........74

Hor Fun (Fried Rice Sheets Noodles) .... 215

Chap Chye Png (Economy Rice)..............78

Hum Chim Beng / You Char Kway / Jian Dui ............................................................ 217

Chapati ..................................................82

Char Kway Teow ....................................83

Indian .................................................. 218

Chee Cheong Fun ...................................92

Indonesian........................................... 221

Chicken Curry ........................................98

Ipoh Hor Fun ........................................ 222

Chicken Noodles ....................................99

Kacang Pool ........................................ 223

Chicken Rice........................................103

Kaya .................................................... 224

Chicken Wings (BBQ) ...........................112

Kentang Bola / Potato Ball .................... 225

Chilli Crab ............................................116

Kiam Chye Ark (Salted Vegetables & Duck Soup)................................................... 226

Chinese Regional .................................118

Korean Street Food.............................. 227

Chwee Jia Bao (Crystal Dumpling) ........119

Kway Chap .......................................... 228

Chwee Kueh (Water Rice Cake) ...........120

Laksa................................................... 232

Claypot Rice.........................................122

Lontong / Lontong Goreng.................... 234

Coffee ..................................................125

Lor Mee ............................................... 235

Crab Bee Hoon.....................................130

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Mee Chang Kueh ..................................237

Satay Lok Lok / Steamboat ................... 319

Mee Goreng .........................................238

Seafood / Shellfish ............................... 320

Mee Rebus ...........................................240

Snacks, Crackers & Crisps .................. 325

Mee Siam .............................................243

Soba.................................................... 327

Mutton Soup (Chinese Style) .................245

Social Enterprise ................................. 328

Nasi Ayam Penyet ................................248

Soto Ayam ........................................... 329

Nasi Briyani..........................................249

Soya Bean Curd/ Jelly/ Milk .................. 330

Nasi Goreng .........................................253

Soy Sauce Chicken .............................. 333

Nasi Kerabu .........................................254

Steamboat ........................................... 334

Nasi Lemak ..........................................255

Sup Tulang .......................................... 336

Nasi Melayu / Nasi Ambeng...................260

Tapioca Cake....................................... 337

Nasi Padang.........................................265

Tau Kwa Pau........................................ 338

Nasi Ulam.............................................267

Tahu Goreng / Tahu Telor..................... 339

Ngoh Hiang ..........................................269

Teochew / Hokkien Piah (Chinese Pastries) ............................................................ 340

Or Luak / Or Jian (Fried Oyster Egg) .....274

Teochew Delicacy................................ 341

Pakistani ..............................................276

Teochew Kueh..................................... 342

Pasta ...................................................277

Teochew Porridge ............................... 343

Pastries, Cakes & Desserts ..................278

Teochew Restaurant ............................ 348

Popiah .................................................289

Turtle / Terrapin Soup .......................... 350

Pork Soup ............................................291

Vadai (Prawn Version) ......................... 351

Porridge / Rice Porridge .......................293

Vegetarian........................................... 353

Prawn Mee / Noodles ............................296

Wanton Mee......................................... 355

Putu Piring ...........................................302

Western Food (Street Style) ................. 359

Rojak / Grilled Cuttlefish .......................303

Yakitori ................................................ 366

Roti Prata.............................................307

Yam / Radish / Pumpkin Cake ............... 367

Sang Mee .............................................309

Yong Tau Foo....................................... 368

Satay ...................................................310

Satay Beehoon .....................................317

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Food Photos Categories By Food Type – (Click to Go)

Asian Desserts

Abacus Seeds

Appam

Ang Ku Kueh (Red Tortoise Cake)

Bak Chang (Rice Dumplings)

Bak Chor Mee (Minced Meat Noodles)

Bak Kut Teh (Pork Ribs Soup)

Bak Kwa (Barbequed Meat Slices)

Beef Ball Bee Hoon

Beef Kway Teow / Noodles

Ban Mian

Bebek Goreng

Cantonese Restaurant

Bread

Beverages & Juices

Black Vinegar Trotters

Cantonese Roast

Chapati

Chai Tow Kway (Fried Carrot Cake)

Chap Chye Png (Economy Rice)

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Chee Cheong Fun

Char Kway Teow

Chicken Curry

Chicken Noodles

Chinese Regional

Chicken Wings (BBQ)

Chicken Rice

Chili Crab

Chwee Jia Bao (Crystal Dumplings)

Chwee Kueh (Water Rice Cake)

Claypot Rice

Coffee

Curry Mee / Noodles

Crab Bee Hoon

Curry Rice

Curry Puff

Epok Epok

Dian Xin / Dim Sum

Duck/ Goose (Stewed) Rice, Porridge & Noodles

Cze Cha (Cook & Fry)

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Eurasian / Peranakan / Nonya

Fish Ball Noodles / Mee Poh Tah

Fish Head Curry

Fish Head Bee Hoon

Fried Bee Hoon & Fried Chicken Wings

Fish (Seafood) Soup / Fish (Seafood) Porridge

Fried Hokkien Mee

Fish Head Steamboat

Hor Fun

Hum Chim Beng / You Char Kway / Jian Dui

Goreng Pisang (Banana Fritters)

Hamburgers

Indonesian

Ipoh Hor Fun

Kacang Pool

Indian

Kaya

Kentang Bola / Potato Ball

Kiam Chye Ark (Salted Vegetables & Duck Soup)

Korean Street Food

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Kway Chap

Laksa

Lor Mee

Lontong / Lontong Goreng

Mee Goreng

Mee Siam

Mee Chang Kueh

Mee Rebus

Nasi Goreng

Mutton Soup (Chinese Style)

Nasi Briyani

Nasi Ayam Penyet

Nasi Lemak

Nasi Melayu & Nasi Ambeng

Nasi Padang

Nasi Kerabu

Or Luak / Or Jian (Fried Oyster Egg)

Ngoh Hiang

Pakistani

Nasi Ulam

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Pork Soup

Pastries, Cakes & Desserts

Popiah

Pasta

Rojak / Grilled Cuttlefish

Prawn Mee / Noodles

Putu Piring

Porridge / Rice Porridge

Satay

Satay Bee Hoon

Sang Mee

Roti Prata

Satay Lok Lok / Steamboat

Soba

Seafood / Shellfish

Snacks, Crackers And Crisps

Soy Sauce Chicken

Soya Bean Curd / Jelly / Milk

Soto Ayam

Social Enterprise

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Steamboat

Tapioca Cake

Tau Kwa Pau

Sup Tulang

Tahu Goreng / Tahu Telor

Teochew / Hokkien Piah (Chinese Pastries)

Teochew Delicacy

Teochew Kueh

Teochew Porridge

Teochew Restaurant

Vadai (Prawn Version)

Turtle / Terrapin Soup

Yakitori

Vegetarian

Western Food (Street Style)

Wanton Mee

Yam / Radish / Pumpkin Cake

Yong Tau Foo

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Yam flour cakes shaped to look like abacus seeds and fried with dried shrimps, mushrooms, and minced pork. A Hakka delicacy from Guangdong, China. Hakka people are a migratory tribe who went into exile after the Mongols conquered China. Some went further afar and migrated to sunny Singapore, bringing along their cuisine.

Abacus Seeds (Suan Pan Zi)

Madam Yam

Instagram: @Madam.yam

This is a people-pleaser version, even for those who baulk at the taste of tubers like yam. The yam is very well tamed and mixed nicely with starch and seasoning before it's steamed or boiled. The best part comes from the decadent amount of ingredients folded into these yam gnocchis. Every piece is surrounded by dried shrimps, mushroom strips, dried cuttlefish or dried scallops (depends on your order), bean curd (taukwa) and minced pork. The crispy shallots and the sharp tangy chilli provided is an added blessing.

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These are moulded and steamed red glutinous rice flour cakes with bean or peanut paste presented on a banana leaf. The Nonya red tortoise shell-shaped cakes are believed to bring longevity and good fortune to those who are eating them. They are specially prepared during important festivals such as Chinese New Year and baby showers.

Ang Ku Kueh (Red Tortoise Cake)

Ji Xiang Confectionery

Blk 1 Everton Park #01-33 (Map) https://jixiangconfectionery.com.sg/ 8.30am to 5pm Sun & PH

They are still the ones to beat in our books. The skin is thin enough and the fillings are bold yet use a lot less sugar these days. A newer generation has taken over from the father, Mr Toh, and all the old school hand labour and manual effort behind their kuehs are still intact. Aside from the usual red skinned versions, they offer a colourful range (purple, green, grey and even yellow) that is filled with flavours that appeal to the lcoal palate, like coffee, yam (orh nee), salted mung bean, durian and even sweet corn. The peanut version is dense and has a lovely contrast to the smooth, soft and thin glutinous skin.

(Click to watch video)

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Poh Cheu Soon Kueh

Blk 127 Bukit Merah Lane 1 #01-222 (Map) https://pohcheu.oddle.me/en_SG/ 8am to 6pm Mon & Sun

Their queues were even longer during the Covid-19 season not just because it's so well made (a family of almost 8 are toiling away in the stall each day). It's because many like to buy these bites that can hold and be enjoyed again the next day. They have a huge range of flavours and colours too, from the traditional red and mung bean ones to local favourites like coffee, coconut, mango and even durian flavours. The all-important skin is thin and not so sticky-in-the-mouth. The fillings are generous, and they come as fresh as it can be.

(Click to watch video)

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Using a combination of the simplest ingredients – sugar, egg, coconut milk, and rice flour – the Indians have breathed life into this pan- fried sweet crepe. It’s crispy around the edges, thick and fluffy in the centre. They come served with orange sugar, curry, dahl, and even a runny egg in the middle.

Appam

Bala’s Appam

168/170 Serangoon Rd, Thye Chong Coffeeshop (Map) Mon – Sat: 6am – 2pm, Sun: 6am to 9pm

They sit right beside the very famous chapati stall and many will miss this spot. Their appam comes huge, dinner plate sized and has a lacy crispy edge with the usual soft and fluffy centre. It is very photogenic. Just have it with their dahl or coconut chutney with orange sugar and your breakfast and peckish snack cravings will be satisfied. Don't ask for the fancy cheese or 64 degree egg versions; they do it the original plain style and very well indeed.

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Heavens

Blk 20 Ghim Moh Rd #01-26, Ghim Moh Mkt & Food Ctr (Map) 6am – 2pm Mon

They expanded with a few outlets, closed it all and both Mdm Letchmi and her Surin is back here at thier original hawker stall. They offer appam (done alluringly crispy yet with a soft middle), thosai, with a roasty texture as they do over high heat on the steel pan they use. Their Putu Mayam may be the only handful of hawkers that still make their own (albeit in a small central kitchen). You can taste the sweetness of the string hoppers and justt how soft its. Great over the grated coconut and orange sugar. Try their fancier appam, done with a runny egg and cheese. Son Surin has now effective taken over operations and his mum is semi retired, after over 30 years at this stall.

(Click to watch video)

Rahmath Cheese Prata

Blk 74 Toa Payoh Lor 4 #01-08, Toa Payoh Vista Hawker Ctr (Map) 6am – 2pm Mon

Don’t let the stall name fool you. Although they specialise in roti prata and some mean renditions too, it's the appam we are here for also. It is just one item on the menu and it has no fancy toppings with it. They come in a set of two and it is huge, very filling, with the attendant crispy edges and fluffy soft middle with a wistful touch of coconut milk in the batter.

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A bowl of comforting warm sweet soup (Tang Shui) like Cheng Teng is ideal to quench your thirst. The range is immense, from rich coconutty to bean and tuber sweet soups, clear nut, and fungus soups, to sweet nutty creams like peanut, walnut, and black sesa me. There’s also the famous ice kachang shaved ice mountains with fruits and nuts and different ice jellies.

Asian Desserts

115 Tang Shui

335 Smith St #02-206, Chinatown Cplx Food Ctr (Map) 7.30am – 4pm Mon & Tue

We understand they are the only Cantonese dessert folks to still use an old fahioned stone grinder (like those you see in old chinese food documentaries). Once a dessert powder salesman came calling and immediately left upon seeing the grinder (still being used), but not before he had a bowl of the sweets. They had been at it since 1966 and the few firm favourites still include sweet smooth creams like peanut, black sesme, almond, the healthy walnut, red bean with tangerine peel accents, and the "stink grass" green bean soups. Occasiaonally, they offer a rich coconutty Bubur Cha Cha and they still use the proper gula melaka to mildly sweeten it. If you've always eaten at stalls that uses pre-mad or factory supplied versions, this will enlighten you and put a smile on your face. All their dessert are very traditional and iconic. A new generation is beginning to fully helm the business and we are proud he is doing so.

(Click to watch video)

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75 Peanut Soup

1 Kadayanallur Street #01-57, Maxwell Food Ctr (Map) 7.30am – 2pm (or till sold out)

Sun

Mr Peh Cheng Giap is the third generation in his family helming this stall and he's already a senior citizen in our midst. It's still made old fashioned hand work style by boiling them in pots at the back of the stall (no fancy machinery). When you first tear into their peanut soup, you can sense they boiled it till it turns soft and creamy as it disintegrates in the mouth. They now use a lot less sugar than we first knew. It so easy to like, especially when you have this for a sweet ending to the food in this hawker centre. The other favourite of ours is the red bean soup, cooked till smooth and soft with bits of sago and lotus seed and perfumed by some dried tangerine peel – an old school secret.

AR Rahman Café

665 Buffalo Rd #01-247, Tekka Mkt & Food Ctr (Map) 7am – 11pm Daily

This one has a difference yet draws the same love; it is Indian in style and not like many others here. They use crushed, not shaved, ice and it delivers a lovable crunchy texture on the way in. They, too, are easy on the sugar effect. When you let this sit, it turns into a coconut milky Chendol with soft chendol pandan jelly and sweet red bean drink with bits of crushed iced, very similar to the Indian versions in Penang. The coconut intensity is light and makes it so drinkable.

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Cendol Geylang Serai

1 Geylang Serai #02-108, Geylang Serai Mkt & Food Ctr (Map) Mon: 9.30am – 3pm, Tue – Sun: 9.30am – 5pm

This is a specialty stall in the area and there is a short, fast and consistent line of customers. Two huge speakers blast out latest hits a nd a big sign “No Red Beans” stares at you up front and centre of the stall. This is the original version with soft shaved ice, so don’t harass them for “strange” extra toppings like attap chee or palm fruit. The jelly is pale green and has a soft luscious texture wiht hints of pandan and again the balance of the rich coconut milk and palm sugar sweetness is very well tempered to suit an evolved local palate .

Four Seasons Ching Teng

210 Lor 8 Toa Payoh #01-34 (Map) 8am – 11pm

For a little chain, this stall does it quite consistently well as their operations is very well thought-out. The ingredients, including white fungus, sugared melon strips, pang tai hai (black malva nut), dried longan, etc. are served with crushed not shaved ice. This gives it little crunchy cold notes when you take a mouthful in during a hot day. The rock sugar used lends a smooth and light sweetness to it and the product is quite consistent throughout almost every stall we tried. Check out their website for more details and other locations.

(Click to watch video)

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No Name Dessert

69 Bedok South Ave 3 #01-490 (Map) 1pm - 8pm Mon

If you count, you will see up to 11 ingredients used in this humble cold soup dessert (or warm version) and each item is specially pre-cooked for texture and flavours before being immersed in the rock sugar laden fruity broth. There's candied persimmon, snow fungus, longan, dried fruits, etc. One other magic is that they use crushed instead of shaved ice so there's icy pebble textures when you slurp in.

Nyonya Chendol

51 Old Airport Rd #01-115, Old Airport Rd Hawker Ctr (Map) 10am – 9.30pm (until sold out)

When they do it well, it is one of the best around but we felt their bugbear is consistency. The gula melaka is rich and smooth, fresh coconut milk is used, the shaved ice is soft and melts upon contact in the mouth and the chendol jelly is soft yet has a gentle texture to the bite. You can request (separately) for extra toppings like sweet and soft red beans or attap chee (palm fruit). On some occasions this was not always the case but, in most cases, they have it down pat. Check out their website for the various outlets in and around town.

(Click to watch video)

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Old Amoy Chendol

335 Smith St, #02-008, Chinatown Cplx Food Ctr (Map) 10.30am - 6pm

A new generation hawker recalled his family’s old recipe and decided to continue where they left off decades ago. It’s a simple operation with a not -so-simple recipe. The chendol or pandan mung bean flour jelly is soft with wistful hints of pandan and is spooned atop the little mount of shaved ice (soft and snowy) and slathered with a fine grade gula melaka (done nicely with no hints of back-of-palate sourness). They specialise in just this and they have a few outlets, but our review is centred on this original and flagship stall in Chinatown hawker centre.

(Click to watch video)

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Tian Yi Dessert 861 North Bridge Rd #01-112, North Bridge Food Ctr (Map) 9am – 4pm Mon, Sun & PH

The pots of various bean, fruits and fungus desserts are done fresh and on the go daily. They are very generous in the flavour and ingredients department. The use of gula melaka or palm sugar is an indication they don't cut corners. The Bubur Cha Cha comes rich and brown in colour (no white sugar used) and it's redolent with ingredients like tubers and mochi jelly cubes. The Bubur Terigu has soft wheat grains simmered in the coconutty and gula broth. Very rarely do we find dried tangerine peel confidently infused into red bean stews but they do so here and it feels right and so old school, and they include bits of longan and red dates. They also have "8 Treasures" bowl, which has so many beans, fruits, nuts all simmered in, and best to add in little blocks of sweeet potatoes to take the show even further.

(Click to watch video)

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Uncle Rabbit Jelly House

Blk 85C Toa Payoh Lor 4 #01-376 (Map) Mon – Sat: 10am – 8pm, Sun & PH: 10am – 6pm Alt Sun

They simply take all the local favourite sweets and turned them into agar agar jelly... and a very pretty rendition indeed. The display shelf, when full, has a wide range of beloved local dessert jellies like Chendol (the star item), just chendol jelly with red beans and a layer of coconut milk jelly atop. The Bandung agar agar is also a top seller – the aroma of the rose syrup shines through gently and they render this lapis, or multi-layered style, with a thin film of translucent jelly in between. The Coffee jelly is also made lapis style – coffee, milk, repeat. Overall, the sweetness of the jellies are tamed and tempered to suit local expectations and that allows the flavours to shine through.

(Click to watch video)

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Xi Le Teng Blk 117 Commonwealth Cres #02-70, Commonwealth Cres Food Ctr (Map) 12pm – 6pm Mon, Tue & Wed

A very traditional old school Chinese dessert stall. The fiesty little old lady just cooks pots upon pots of her specialty (had been so for decades) and serves it up like she knows how. Her crowd favourite is the bubur terigu (white wheat in coconut milk and palm sugar). It's boiled for hours till they come soft (almost disintegrating) and in a thick and rich coconutty broth. You add a spoon of coconut milk over to max the sensation. Also popular is her green bean soup with hints of pandan and this one is just so simply and perfectly well done. Do not pass up on her cheng tng (clear sweet broth with nuts, beans, dried fruits and fungus). The sweet soup is done by boiling with dried honeyed longan and rock sugar. Have it cold on a hot day or vice versa and you'll realise the efficacy of the traditional dessert.

(Click to watch video)

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Ye Lai Xiang Hot & Cold Cheng Tng

Blk 1 Bedok Rd Stall 31, Bedok Corner Food Ctr (Map) 9.30am – 7pm

Mon & Tue

They sell just this one item and the pride and confidence this family has in this sweet soup dessert is rightly earned. They have been selling this for decades. The whole transparent bowl of goodness comes laden with all-time classic favourites like candied persimmon slices, sweet potatoes, dried and fresh longans, sago balls, snow fungus, barley, candied winter melon strips and pang tai hai (malva nut) plus soft boiled mung beans. This is so refreshing and they use crushed instead of shaved ice, and the fruity and less sweet broth is a true pick-me-up.

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● ● ●

“Heritage hawkers are now icons – a face, place, and taste that links the food to the land”

- KF Seetoh

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Once a festival (Dragon Boat) delicacy, these triangular leaves wrapped parcels steamed rice dumpling is now readily available throughout the year. The Hokkien version is stuffed with fatty pork, mushrooms and chestnuts, while the Cantonese add red and mung beans. The Peranakan do a sweeter version infused with sugared melons and coriander.

Bak Chang (Rice Dumplings)

Hiong Kee Dumplings

531A Upper Cross St #02-37, Hong Lim Mkt & Food Ctr (Map) 10am – 7.30pm

Sun & PH

Two huge stainless-steel pots are just bubbling away with hundreds of these gorgeous dumplings every day. They are wrapped so tightly and come larger than most, and the aroma of the bamboo and pandan leaves they use permeate the stall and it’s alluring for bak chang fans. The popular rendition here is the salty pork dumpling, stuffed with braised pork, chestnuts, mushroom and salted egg inside those glutinous rice parcel (they have a fatty pork version, if that floats your boat). If pork is not your thing, try their chicken version, with mushroom, salted egg and chestnuts too. Each dumpling is steamed very well and you won't bite into "chao-bee" or runaway hard undercooked grains that irritate. For lighter versions, tear into their kee chang (plain alkaline glutinous rice dumplings) or one that's filled with red bean paste. Very comforting.

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The Original bak chor mee hails from Southern China. It is a bowl of soupy egg noodles with minced meat and dumplings in it. The migrants in Singapore then gave it a spin by having it not just the original soupy version, but also in a dry sambal and vinegar sauce rendition- with pork slices, dumplings, mushrooms, minced meat, pork balls and often with a piece of teepo, crispy fried, dried sole fish bones.

Bak Chor Mee (Minced Meat Noodles)

High Street Tai Wah Pork Noodle

531A Upper Cross St #02-16, Hong Lim Mkt & Food Ctr (Map) 7.30am – 7.30pm Daily

This is the brother of Tai Hwa (see the subtle name difference) and they hold up that great tradition in no less a way. The subtle difference in taste is noticeable only to the aficionados and the hard-core regulars. Their black vinegar sambal has more of an umami edge and hence calmer (which some like) and their dumplings are meaty, crunchy and very moreish. The noodle employs a not-so-easy-to-learn blanch and flick technique. The liquid flies off the blancher leaving just enough moisture to marry up with the sambal vinegar sauce. The third gene ration is already helming the brand and we sure are glad there’s sustainability with this dish. The queue is a constant feature at the stall but be patient – it is worth the wait. This family has been around the world on many international food shows and events including Singapore Day in a few countries. They were also featured in a Unesco Hawker Culture video created to shore up support for Singapore’s bid for the Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2019.

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Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle Blk 466 Crawford Lane #01-12, Tai Hwa Eating House (Map) 9.30am - 9pm 1 st & 3 rd Mon of the month

They are regarded as the first family of bak chor mee – a soupy minced pork noodle dish with a dry sambal rendition (the more popular version) that is lifted with black vinegar, dumplings, meatballs and a flotilla of toppings. They are the champs in the World Street Food Congress Award and even has a star ranking in a French food guide. Their decades old original Singapore hawker dish is done with mee pok (local fettuccine) or mee kia (local angel hair pasta) and is tossed in a secret sambal sauce, with shots of soy sauce, lard and enlivened with eye-squinting black vinegar. The result is a tingling and salivating noodle dish with all those toppings with hints of tee po bits and powder (smoked and sun-dried crispy sole fish bones). The queue for an order here is, on average, 45 minutes unless there’s a sudden surge. The owner’s brother also has an award-winning stall in Chinatown that is equally good, if not better than this version, so the regular customers will tell you.

Jin Xi Lai (Mui Siong) Minced Meat Noodle 638 Veerasamy Rd, Yi He Eating House (Map) 7.30am – 2.30pm Daily

You only “liver” once. This minced meat noodle stall is famous and rightly so, for the uber soft and fresh slices of liver they put in the soup that comes with the noodles. It has slices of soft pork, fish cake, minced meat floating about, fish balls (store bought) and heavenly little chunks of quick blanched liver. The softness, unlike others, holds and it's still moreish in the mouth (if you like liver, that is) after 15 mins. But don't waste time, eat it while it's in the prime. The dry version noodles is not what you come for. Go for the soup version (rich and meaty) and make that with extra order of the liver.

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Punggol Noodles

105 Hougang Ave 1 #02-24, Hainanese Village Ctr (Map) 7am – 1.30pm

Mon & Fri

This is a street food wizard. He and his wife are at the stall by 3am each morning, preparing all the mise en place and side dishes aside from frying up the chilli sambal. By about 4.30am, the huge pail of minced pork with a bunch of spices is ready to be hand pressed, one by one, into meatballs. He does up to 1000 balls each day and get this… with only one hand as he lost one to an accident years ago. That pork ball is so juicy and resilient that many buy them in bulk just to cook at home. Observe him when he cooks – he is deft and skilful and puts fully abled folks to shame. The noodles are softly al dente and the sambal is not overly spicy as good bak chor mee sambals are wont to be.

Shu Heng Bi Tai Mak 226H Ang Mo Kio Street 22, #01-25 Kebun Bahru Mkt & Hawker Ctr (Map) Mon – Sun: 7.00am – 12.00pm Tue

One of the rare mee tai mak or rat tail (rice) noodle specialists in Singapore. Shu Heng offers two types of servings – a starchy gravy version and a dry one. The starchy gravy version called Johor Bi Tai Mak at Shu Heng compares well with those across the Causeway. The spongy chewy mee tai mak are smothered with minced pork, mushroom and a savoury starchy sauce with tung chai (preserved cabbage). Their dry version is equally popular. The mee tai mak are topped with a fried minced pork and mushroom combo that packs robust, savoury umami flavour. Chili and vinegar lend some heat and sourish tang to make the concoction brimming with oomph... and there’s more , lard makes a strong presence in the bowl. The queue is long especially on weekends as more Johoreans and Singaporeans who scour Johor for the best eats get to know where to get their Johor mee tai mak fix.

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Teochew Kway Tiao Mee

91 Whampoa Dr #01-07, Whampoa Mkt & Food Ctr (Map) 5.30am – 10.30am

Mon & Sun

There’s bak chor mee, mee poh tah and Teochew mee, all culinary gifts the Teochews showered onto this delicious land of ours. Their mee kia and mee poh sell out so fast each morning that they have prepared a sign saying “mee pok and mee kia sold out” that appears by about 9am. The soup version that has a flotsam and jetsam of minced pork sitting in the broth, comes nicely sweet and is brewed with prawn shells (you can see it simmering in the soup pot). The toppings of fresh shrimps, fish balls, greens, fish cakes and fried shallots are so comforting. I like their dry version and do ask for a shot of black vinegar with their offending and stinging sambal.

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● ● ●

“Street food is a real opportunity to establish an identity as a brand”

– Anthony Bourdain at World Street Food Congress 2013

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This popular pork rib soup comes in two different versions, the Chinese Teochew and Hokkien style. The former where the pork ribs are boiled in a peppery and garlicky broth, whereas the latter is darker in colour, spiked with herbs and soy sauce. It is usually served with rice can accompaniment like you tiao (dough fritters) and stewed salted mustard leaves.

Bak Kut Teh (Pork Ribs Soup)

Balestier Bak Kut Teh

365 & 369 Balestier Rd (Map) https://balestierbakkutteh.com/ 24 Hours Daily

Jonathan Yap, at the ripe young age of 28, knew he wanted to take over the family business when his father passed on about 3 years before. He grew up pottering around the kopitiam as a kid helper back in the day. Their version feels very potent, a bold smash of pepperiness balanced by porkiness calmed with some barely noticeable herbs “to mask the porkiness”, he says. They also add "teck jia" or bamboo sugar cane to the broth to calm all the savoury and bold pepperiness. Their loong ku (prime rib) version is the de rigueur order here. They now have a more comfortable (air-conditioned) outlet just beside the original old-school corner al fresco kopitiam outlet, so you have a choice. Order the full monty with braised salted vegetable, stewed pig tail, spinach, and a bowl of soft you tiao (dough fritters) to dunk in the soup, then fill up with some rice and wash it down with a freshly tableside- brewed pot of kung fu Chinese tea.

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