So, I know that it’s only April and that there are 8 more months for other dishes to become my favourites, but why not list what I have right now first, right? I recently went on a bit of a ‘let’s try some popular local stalls’ journey, so would like to share the spoils of that with everyone here!
1. 545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles, Tekka Centre
Seriously, you guys, this is now my favourite prawn mee in Singapore (sorry Newton and Adam Road prawn mee uncles).
The homemade fried shallots are gloriously crispy, and when mixed together with the noodles and ingredients plus the sauce combination of chilli and ketchup, it was all absolutely delicious. I enjoyed the soup too, it was clear of sediment but very full-bodied in flavour, like it had absorbed all the essence of the prawns and/or shells I’m sure it was boiled with.
For some reason, it’s extra yummy when you load up on the chilli powder and chilli padi – especially the former where there’s lots of flavour and not just heat. There’s also a good amount of slightly crunchy beansprouts, which I like.
Anyway, this dish is great, but because the stall only opens on weekdays in the morning (closes at 11am), you can essentially only have it for breakfast or an early lunch!
2. A Noodle Story, Amoy Street Food Centre
I wonder if this counts as ‘hawker fare’, seeing as how it’s kind of a fusion, elevated version of wanton mee. But whether it counts or not, I really enjoyed this bowl of springy noodles with its rather luxe ingredients.
In particular, I liked the big, juicy wantons and the addition of kombu as a seasoning (for an umami taste, sorry if I’m using this word too liberally but I don’t know how else to describe it) as well as the slightly sharp spring onions. The pork belly slices were also nice and thick and was tender and a little fatty when bit into.
It also comes with a single fried potato prawn dumpling, which was an interesting one – upon first bite I thought it was crispy, nice and rather normal but it just kept giving as the flavours expanded and grew, with a moreish, slightly sweet oiliness in the aftertaste.
3. Original Serangoon Fried Hokkien Mee, 556 Serangoon Road
Hokkien Mee is seriously one of my favourite Singaporean dishes, and I’ve probably eaten like 20 or 30 versions of this at least. My preference is for the wet type, with the noodles swirling in a thick, prawn flavoured stock – but I’m happy to eat the dry versions too. The problem with the former, is that sometimes the noodles get a bit soggy or goopy, which is really not too ideal.
The one at Original Serangoon Fried Hokkien Mee in my opinion, is just nice – not too wet, not too dry, retaining a good amount of bounce in the noodles while ensuring that they manage to absorb enough of the stock for a burst of flavour. I also really enjoyed the ‘wok hei’ in these noodles, giving it a bit of a charred, smoky taste. The chilli was really good too!
One thing though – it tastes better fresh rather than when packed back home (still good, but not as… how to say it, moist?). I like that it was not too salty as well, which this dish does sometimes tend to be at some other places.
4. 小彭客家菜 Pang’s Hakka Delicacies, Xin Tekka Food Hall (moving elswehere end-April 2021)
Oops, this is maybe not quite ‘hawker fare’ too, but I suppose it counts as its local and in a food court? Pang’s mainly focuses on homemade yong tau foo and noodles of Hakka heritage, and these are stunning.
Both options for handmade noodles (a thick, wheat u-mian like noodle and thick rice noodles) are amazingly bouncy and the dry version is tossed in an intoxicating, lard-heavy sauce which is fragrant and tasty. The delicate looking pieces of yong tau foo tasted fresh and delicious, and the soup had light and clean flavours that were rather enjoyable.
Oh, and I also loved the crispy and juicy salted fish coated fried chicken wings (similar to Prawn Paste Chicken)! You can get one of these with the a bowl of yong tau foo soup and dry noodles for S$9.50 as a set.
Another interesting offering there is the Red Wine Chicken Noodles ($7), which I pretty much loved too (but my boyfriend kinda hated), a medium intensity, slightly herbal and soupier version of this traditional dish. It had meaty chunks of chicken, some beancurd skin and black fungus, which were all so delicious together with the QQ rice noodles.
5. Dynasty Fried Porridge, Bistro 8 Food Court
Wait what… fried porridge? I know it sounds a little strange, but it actually kind of just is a drier version of porridge, in a claypot. I suppose it does seem a little fried though, as it’s more aromatic, oily and charred than what you’d expect of a porridge. It’s also ‘KL style’ and I suppose they just wanted to make the usual dish of porridge more exciting – I think they succeeded, because this is really quite good!
The first time I had it, it was on a cold, rainy day and I was totally sold. The fried porridge had a thick, gooey consistency and was so intense in flavour – likely from the meat, dark soy sauce, lard and chives – making it superbly satisfying.
After that, I had it another 2 times, and on the last time, the taste got a tad strong and on the salty side, perhaps because I ended up eating more than the usual portion (typically have the small one) and together with some prawn paste chicken.
Other serious contenders for this list but which sadly, did not make it (only because I decided to only have 5), include Try Fresh XO Seafood Noodles and Lam’s Kitchen (also really delicious).
What other popular local stalls do you think I should try? Hit me with your suggestions below!