It just took a moment for Hambaobao to disappear from the F&B scene in Singapore after they had moved out of their stall at Beauty World Centre — but the same folks are now back with the crowd favourites, now located within the Trio mixed-development along Sam Leong Road just a short walk away from Farrer Park MRT Station. Now operating as a standalone eatery, Hambaobao still offers the all-familiar The Classic Beef, What The Fish, Crispy Pork Belly, Spicy Pulled Pork and Ayam Buah Keluak burgers, but also do serve up bakes which they did not offer previously. Patrons can pick between various soft drinks, though the only house-made beverage available at the time of writing is only the Pot O’ 20 Yr Old Pu’Er.

Everyone has their favourite burger at Hambaobao and mine is the Crispy Pork Belly Burger — best to be ordered when they have just opened for the day, this was also the one burger that I insistently must order whenever I am here. I have also opted for the Hand-cut Fries; a simplified name for what they used to call the Fairy Fries previously, as a separate ala-carte order as there is no option of adding on fries here (the same was also true previously). The Crispy Pork Belly Burger is essentially what I had remembered it to be — consisting of English Mustard, Hoi Sin Sauce and Japanese Cucumbers alongside Crispy Pork Belly in-between the grilled burger buns, the buns carry a firm bite without being particularly dense, while the hoisin sauce provides much of the savoury note that gels up all the elements of the burger together; the pork belly provides a good crunch with the super crispy skin, yet gelatinous meat that is all tender and juicy without carrying porky stench, while the cucumber provides a refreshing crunch. The English Mustard here attempts to cut through the carbs and meatiness of the burger; provides an evident, wasabi-esque numbness to the tastebuds that makes the burger especially shiok to have. The hand-cut fries are somewhat improved over the “Fairy Fries” they used to carry in the past; it’s noticeably of a thicker cut, and would appeal to those who like soft, fluffier fries without all that salt going on.

While the Crispy Pork Belly Burger isn’t quite the easiest burger to handle without cutlery given how the pork belly slices tend to slide off and out of the burger buns, and the sauces are going to be a mess for the hands, there is always something so satisfying with having this one from them — brings me back to those days in school where I would decidedly go for one if there isn’t a queue or if I ain’t rushing for class. Glad to see them back in the F&B scene and back to the hot grill flipping burger buns and patties — challenging times for F&B these days but here’s wishing them all the best for what is to come!