For those who have been spending their day walking around Chinatown, there is one area that you should not miss when it comes to getting good food. Get your bearings straight and make your way to Hong Lim Food Centre, you could ask the locals for directions.
Singapore is probably not that well known for its food, people usually talk about the cleanliness or about the modern city. Trust me, they are wrong. Unfortunately, the best food that Singapore could offer aren’t easily found alongside the typical tourist hotspots, most are located beneath their HDB apartments or at hawker centres dotted around the housing estates.
Hong Lim Food Centre probably houses around 40-60 hawker stalls over 2 floors. So it is a veritable treasure trove of hawker delights if you have the time. But if you don’t, then let me direct you to two of the famous ones.
Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee
A few years back, this stall won the Singapore Hawker Masters event for the best fried kway teow and you can see that on its signboard. Fried Kway Teow or actually Char Kway Teow (Hokkien) is one of my favourite dishes back home, so I was very eager to try what they have to offer for the Singaporean version.
Char kway teow is definitely not one of the healthiest food out there but who cares?
Was I in for a surprise, this was a totally different style of cooking. The Outram Park Char Kway Teow is fried with pork lard, eggs and beansprouts. Whereas for the Malaysian best, found in Penang, they fry it with prawns. The key to its cooking lies in the way the chef handles his wok, so as the char kway teow comes out nicely done and not overcooked or burnt to a crisp. There is also a fine line when it comes to adding the right amount of soy sauce. By the way, if you’re looking for healthy food, this is not one of it.
Maybe I was the first customer that morning as I had a large portion of eggs and pork lard to go with the rest of the dish. I would definitely recommend this stall if you’re anywhere in the vicinity. But if you’re a foodie like I am, I think you will still make that journey just to try it out.
Opening hours : 6:00am – 4:30pm
Closed : Sundays and public holidays
Cantonese Delights Laksa Yong Tau Foo
You can find this stall just a few rows away from the Outram Park Fried Kway Teow. Although it sells a variety of dishes, the queue you see right in front of you came for just one particular dish only and that is what I will be having today — Laksa Yong Tau Foo.
It is like taking a bite into a springy sponge soaked with laksa (curry)
Yong Tau Foo basically means bean curd and you get plenty of it at this stall. The beauty of the bean curd in laksa (curry) lies in its ability to soak up the laksa, so that when you take a bite of it, the curry comes oozing out, mixing with the bean curd. In other words, it is like taking a bite into a springy sponge. Sort of. For this dish to work, the key would be the quality of the laksa (curry). For without it, the bean curd will be soaking up some nasty tasting curry.
What makes this stall special is that they are good at both the laksa and the yong tau foo part. Hence, if you are a fan of the laksa, just order it up. But if you can’t stand the heat or if you prefer something dry, or that you are fond of just the yong tau foo only, you could mix it with the other dishes.
For me, I liked the generous portion of the yong tau foo given. A bowl like this back home would have cost me around RM5-RM8 depending on where I was. Judging by the queue while I was having mine, makes it all worth while for $4. Their laksa is also different to what I use to have, they put a lot of coconut (santan) into it. Making it rather sweet than spicy.
Opening hours : 9:00am – 3:00pm (for the laksa, they are only ready by 11am)
Closed : Saturdays and Sundays
You probably wouldn’t have guessed that I had it right after having the Char Kway Teow. Famished!