Hawker/Kopitiam Eats

Hawker/Kopitiam Eats

As Singaporeans, we just love food, especially when it comes to our hawker/food court/kopitiam fare. A list featuring not only the conventional for the true local, but also for anyone looking for special finds as well.
Xing Wei Chua
Xing Wei Chua

Dropped by the new Kedai Kopi that is situated at Blk 108 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 (just a short walk from Exit 5 of Mayflower MRT Station along the Thomson-East Coast Line) which had taken over the premises of the old coffeeshop that used to stand in its place. This is the third Kedai Kopi that the folks at Tenderfresh Group had opened; the two other Kedai Kopi coffeeshops are situated in Clementi and Haig Road. As with all Kedai Kopi coffeeshops, one would be able to find familiar names such as Tenderbest, Toko Ngopi (the coffee stall), and Mee Bagus (i.e. halal bak chor mee) at the coffeeshop; other operators in the Ang Mo Kio location includes Bossku Nasi Padang (i.e. Ayam Penyet, Nasi Padang etc.), Pasta Pizza (i.e. hand-stretched pizza, pasta and baked rice dubbed “Pizza Rice”), Mam Mam, My Nasi Ayam (by the folks behind Tong Fong Fatt Hainanese Chicken Rice), Buey Tahan See-food (i.e. halal tze char), and Nenda’s Fritters (i.e. fried fritters). As with their previous locations, all stalls within Kedai Kopi in Ang Mo Kio are Muslim-friendly. However, as Kedai Kopi had only started operations in Ang Mo Kio from early May 2021, all its stall operators are currently awaiting halal certification. Being one of the newest operators to have a stall running within a Kedai Kopi coffeeshop, Mam Mam is also a stall that is exclusive to Kedai Kopi Ang Mo Kio — apart from this stall, they are the same folks serving halal fare located within National University of Health that is conceptualised by Chef Sebastian Ng of Venue by Sebastian at OUE Downtown. For their very first stall situated within a coffeeshop, they are only serving up their Signature Yong Tau Fu Soup either as-is, or with dry noodles.

Opted for the Signature Yong Tau Fu w/ Dry Noodle — patrons have the choice to go for either Hakka Noodle or Ipoh Hor Fun for the dry noodles; we opted for the former. The Yong Tau Fu soup comes with various items — includes fishballs, tofu puff stuffed with fish paste, fried homemade prawn roll, blanched spinach etc.; the dry noodles are topped off with minced chicken — a substitute to minced pork which is usually served with Hakka noodles. Giving the noodles a toss, the noodles are laced with the braised sauce and minced chicken that gives a good chew and a savoury flavour, while the noodles do seem like a thinner version of Mee Pok — pretty springy. The Yong Tau Fu pieces are actually decent; found it to be nothing much to shout about but it was the soup that is worth the mention — one can find traces of beans in the soup that is used in the preparation process. The soup is nothing short of being light yet flavourful on its own, but it is also pretty clean-tasting; pretty easy-to-drink even for folks who aren’t particularly into soup in general.

Having tried what Mam Mam has to offer previously from their National University of Health location, I was actually looking forward to more varieties of food available at their location at Kedai Kopi Ang Mo Kio — we really looking forward to have a more convenient location to try their other signature offerings such as their Chef Sebastian’s Signature 100-Hour Duck Confit as well as the Chef Sebastian’s Signature Minced Chicken with Basil and Egg Tofu. That being said, their Signature Yong Tau Fu Soup w/ Hakka Noodle is one that we found to be really well-executed, yet well-priced at $6.90 considering the slightly hipster setup here — we wouldn’t really expect anything less artisanal considering the background of Mam Mam as well. I wouldn’t really say that one should make an all-out visit from other ends of the island just for this, but I would reckon that it is worth making the trip if one is living near enough or along the Thomson-East Coast Line to drop by for some great Muslim-friendly Yong Tau Fu soup that matches up to what some of the Chinese counterparts have to offer.

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Heard about Fantastic Dim Sum (大三元点心) when they had opened their very first outpost at Blk 119 Aljunied Avenue 2 some time back — turns out, these folks had opened yet another outlet at the BGAIN Eating House at ARC380 recently which is a slightly more convenient location for most. Opened by the same folks behind Happy Congee 满粥了, their newest outpost at ARC380 is located in between Happy Congee and a Char Grill Bar within the coffeeshop. It seems that the menu at ARC380 is slightly more extensive than their very first outlet at Aljunied; it is noted that the menu at ARC380 features six different varieties of Siew Mai, and includes a platter that comes with all six different flavours — also seemingly exclusive here are the dessert items, where puddings of four different flavours are available here. Other items available on the menu here includes the standard steamed and fried dim sum offerings, as well as a small variety of buns.

Thought it would be wise to order the Fantastic Dim Sum platter which features a piece of the six different Siew Mai flavours that they have to offer here. Whilst this is not the cheapest item on the menu being priced at $10.80, it is also the best item to order here for a single hungry diner who is looking to try all the different Siew Mai flavours that they serve up. The flavours of the Siew Mai in the Fantastic Siew Mai platter are as follows:

- Chicken Siew Mai;
- Otah Siew Mai;
- Preserved Veg. Siew Mai;
- Abalone Siew Mai;
- Yellow Curry Siew Mai; and
- Truffle Siew Mai

Going for the Chicken Siew Mai first, the Chicken Siew Mai is pretty much the standard Siew Mai which Fantastic Dim Sum has to offer here. As it is made out of white meat, the Siew Mai here has a qq consistency (which is pretty much the case with all the other five Siew Mais here), whilst it also doesn’t carry that note of meatiness that pork renditions tend to carry. That being said, their Chicken Siew Mai does come with chunks of prawns for a good bite and a slight sweetness — a pretty satisfying rendition nonetheless. All of the other flavours are actually well-executed and pretty unique; that being said, it does seem that the Otah Siew Mai, Yellow Curry Siew Mai and Truffle Siew Mai would find themselves being favourites of the average consumer for the familiarity that they bring. Ain’t particularly certain of what sort of meat they use for the Otah Siew Mai, but the Otah Siew Mai does carry a similar texture to that of the Chicken Siew Mai so we are assuming it probably is the same chicken base that they use. Still, what intrigued us was the strong notes of rempah spices that it carried, and came with a piquant note of spiciness that should do well for those who are able to tolerate moderate levels of spiciness. Likewise, the Yellow Curry Siew Mai also carried a familiar hint of curry powder and turmeric, whilst the Truffle Siew Mai will likely garner praises for its evident hint of truffle aroma that provides a umami flavour to the item.

There are a few places that actually do serve up some pretty neat variations of Siew Mai with their own twist, but Fantastic Dim Sum seems to have gone further with what has been done — essentially putting their focus mainly towards one basic item and to create six different variations of it, this is pretty much a showcase on their skill and how inventive they are. Not sure if Fantastic Dim Sum will take a similar approach that Happy Congee had did in the past where they were pretty aggressive in their expansion plans (only to find themselves shutter a number of outlets thereafter), but the Fantastic Siew Mai platter is indeed the one to go for to try what they have to offer here where their creative renditions of Siew Mai are of concern.

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Recalled visiting the coffeeshop at Blk 323 Bukit Batok Street 32 for the now-defunct Gorilla Curry that also houses Changi Nasi Lemak (since moved to Longhaus, which is located at Upper Thomson) quite some time ago pre-COVID and the coffeeshop had seems to have been renovated in recent times. Not very sure if any of the tenants previously have still stayed on after renovation, though the dimsum shop previously located here has also seemingly disappeared after the renovations. That being said, the coffeeshop now has a couple of new stalls — that includes Pollo Western (a typical western cuisine stall that interestingly carries a Cheese Pork Cutlet on the menu), as well as that of Prawn KKM & Tang Hoon. Taking the space that is half the size of a typical stall, the stall is located beside an outlet of Blanco Court Fresh Fish Soup — the menu at Prawn KKM & Tang Hoon features a variety of Tang Hoon dishes that features different types of seafood, as well as Koka Noodles. For those who are more into rice dishes, Prawn KKM & Tang Hoon also serves up a variety of Thai-inspired rice dishes such as Basil Minced Pork Rice, as well as more generic ones such as the Chicken Wing Rice.

Whilst one would have noticed some of the Thai-inspired cuisine that Prawn KKM and Tang Hoon offers, the Prawn Tang Hoon here feels more like a rendition of its own rather than Thai-inspired; there is a distinct lack of savouriness from the fish sauce that is typically used in the preparation of the Thai rendition of the dish, but the springy glass noodles here seemed to have been stewed with ginger and pepper for a touch of spiciness that runs at the back of tongue; nothing too overly spicy that those with moderate tolerance to spiciness cannot handle, but it does build up slowly. It is surprisingly refreshing this way when compared to the usual Thai renditions that we have tasted elsewhere — the fried minced garlic helping to further enhance those flavours even further. Prawns that came with the dish are decent in quality — definitely big and probably even aplenty for this price; does come with a natural sweetness but there are definitely fresher prawns elsewhere, while it also comes with chili that is pretty similar to the one that usually comes with chicken rice and adds a zing with a touch of heat for those who do not find the dish spicy enough.

Prawn KKM and Tang Hoon does have a pretty interesting concept — a stall that attempts to serve up dishes that are slightly off the norm from the usual coffeeshop offerings that we are used to. Whilst one would probably expect them to serve up Thai renditions of the Tang Hoon given what they have to offer on the menu, it is interesting how Prawn KKM & Tang Hoon serves up their very own take on this. Wouldn’t really say I will go all the way out here just to have it again, but it is a decent choice available for those who live around this neighbourhood after all.

Found ourselves not having any concrete plans for dinner during a long weekend and was pretty much scrolling on social media to find a spot to just wind up at and have something simple. Turned out that we came across Pollo Western that seems to be a new addition to the 7 Stars Coffeeshop located at Blk 323 Bukit Batok Street 32 — the same coffeeshop that used to house the now-defunct Gorilla Curry, as well as Changi Nasi Lemak which has since moved to their new digs at Longhaus in Upper Thomson. Being a western cuisine stall in a coffeeshop that takes on a similar style to modern western cuisine coffeeshop/hawker/food court stalls around the island, patrons can opt for their choice of meat here, then opt for a sauce before choosing two sides to compliment their choice of meats. Whilst pasta dishes are being illustrated on the menu, an “X” denoted the unavailability of pasta dishes (except for the Chicken Bolognese) during our visit — not sure if these are items which they intend to launch only at a later date, or if those would be not available on a permanent basis.

We visited Pollo Western after seeing the Cheese Pork Cutlet being shared online and that was essentially what we ordered — for the choice of our sides, we went with the Pandan Rice (just so we would not end up with French Fries; we already had a dish involving fries earlier in a cafe for lunch) and Potato Salad with Bacon Bits. Slicing the slab of the Cheese Pork Cutlet using a knife and one could see how the pork cutlet is being done here — rather than just simply drizzling a nacho cheese sauce atop the slab of pork cutlet, the folks at Pollo Western went with stuffing the pork with cheese before coating it with panko crumbs and deep-frying it; something pretty similar to Chicken Corden Bleu which we are a huge fan of. The result is this melted cheese that sits within the pork cutlet — oozy and stretchy as one slices through it that provides an additional dimension of savouriness; the pork cutlet itself is crisp on the outside, yet tender on the inside whilst also not being particularly greasy. The pork cutlet also did not carry any undesirable porky stench as well. Whilst the Potato Salad with Bacon Bits was pretty decent considering how it is served chilled and came with sizeable chunks of potato that is tossed in a creamy sauce and also speckled with bacon bits for a bit of crunch, the Pandan Rice was pretty subpar considering how it was served kinda stone cold. Could imagine how this would be if it was served warm — could definitely taste the garlicky notes going on in there while the rice was actually pretty fluffy; just a pity how it was served at a pretty awkward temperature that did not do it any justice.

Being just a stall specialising in western cuisine in the neighbourhood, Pollo Western’s menu may seem a little more limited as compared to other such stalls around — whilst they do have basic options such as their Signature Chicken Chop, Pork Chop, Chicken Cutlet, Fish & Chips etc., the lack of pasta options except for the Chicken Bolognese does limit the variety of items available to entice prospective patrons in some way. That being said, the Cheese Pork Cutlet was actually a pretty decent eat — there is probably some room for improvement especially where the Pandan Rice is of concern, though we would reckon switching it out for another side would make the dish work out pretty well. Not a spot I would say that I will make a special trip out there for, but I guess residents around the area might still find it decent to make a bit of a travel for this.

Bee Kee Wanton Noodle was a spot that really had quite the hype way back in the day when the trend of truffle-everything went around — possibly the only one to have introduced the Truffle Wanton Noodle, and whilst I was fairly intrigued at the point of time, I had never actually gotten around trying them. With the move of Market Street Interim Hawker Centre back to where Golden Shoe used to be (now known as Capitaspring), Bee Kee Wanton Noodle’s outlet has also made the moved to the hawker centre in Capitaspring, situated at Level 3. Bee Kee Wanton Noodles do run another outlet at Lorong Lew Lian in Serangoon — probably a location that most folks in the heartlands will be more likely to visit especially for those not working around the Central Business District.

The Truffle Wanton Noodle can be said as a more premium offering to their Original Wanton Noodle (Dry), and therefore commands a higher price where the small bowl is priced at $7, and the larger portion is priced at $9. There isn’t much of a difference between the Truffle Wanton Noodle and the Original Wanton Noodle (Dry) except the inclusion of truffle oil — they went pretty light with it so you still get that usual flavours of wanton noodle, though I will presume the truffle infusion may have worked a little better if it is applied to Thai-style wanton noodle than the local style of wanton noodle as seen here. One thing I do fancy here is how the noodles here are we especially springy; didn’t really expect much considering how the noodles and boiled wantons looked a little pale (the standard yellow plates used for all stalls at Capitaspring didn’t help), but the wantons were soft and silken with ample filling within. While the noodles did carry a pretty good texture, I didn’t quite like how the noodles had an increasing intensity of alkalinity as I hit the bottom of the plate — not sure if they are achieving the Hong Kong-style wanton noodle here but it was something that didn’t really go quite towards the preferences of my palate. I did prefer the fried wantons more than the boiled wantons; they were sufficiently crispy and provided much more bite than the boiled ones — all that without being overly greasy, though the Char Siew didn’t really come with much flavour despite being of a pretty decent cut where it didn’t feel like we are chewing through cardboard like some generic ones that some wanton noodle stalls tend to use.

Overall, with the whole hype of truffle-everything being almost pretty much done and dusted since a couple of years ago, the Truffle Wanton Noodle at Bee Kee Wanton Noodle just isn’t that truffle dish that is so particularly noteworthy that I would personally have it again. It does, however, an alternative perspective of how something like wanton noodles can be modernised to trends in the food scene — a move that I would say is pretty commendable. Still, I guess if I ever were to eat at Bee Kee Wanton Noodle again, it is the Classic Wanton Noodle I am likely to go for — a simpler affair with a friendlier price tag of $4 for the small portion; good enough for an everyday lunch affair in the CBD without the fuss.

Didn’t expect myself being brought here for lunch by a colleague since it was a slightly longer walk from the workplace, but that also means that I could finally try out a few of the stalls that I have been eyeing on for quite a while now. First on my agenda here is this stall named 蛋炒饭 Egg Fried Rice, which had started operations at Amoy Street Food Centre just slightly before it was closed in October 2021 for its last round of renovations — also amidst the hype where several stalls serving up Din Tai Fung-style fried rice had also popped up across the island. The stall’s signature dish is pretty much the namesake of the stall; Egg Fried Rice, and they do offer quite a number of variations ranging from the “classic” one featuring Pork Chop, to the less common Egg Fried Rice with Salmon Fish. We did notice that they do have a daily special on the menu when we visited the stall on a Friday afternoon, and they do also offer a Shoyu Ramen for those who do not quite fancy egg fried rice in general.

At $4.50, the Egg Fried Rice with Luncheon Meat is the lowest-priced egg fried rice item on the menu. Illustrated with the luncheon meat sliced into cubes and plated on top of the egg fried rice, the actual presentation of the dish sees the luncheon meat served on the side along with some lettuce, while the egg fried rice comes topped with Rice Krispies similar to that which is usually served with Pao Fan. Digging into the fried rice, one does note the lightly eggy note but the flavour profile of the rice fades away quite easily when had together with any of the other elements that are also on the plate; we also felt that the rice isn’t quite as moist as the other renditions of egg fried rice served at different establishments as well. The interesting addition of Rice Krispies did however add a crunch amidst all of that rice — not something that we found necessary but it does give their rendition a different touch. Instead of being sliced in cubes, the luncheon meat here is sliced in thick strips that allows the patron to savour that sinful, saltish note in two bites per piece. Interestingly, the sambal chili that is served here differs from the usual Lao Gan Ma-esque chili that is typically used at other egg fried rice establishments — instead of going for the a house-made version of the latter, they have went with a sambal similar to the ones served with Ayam Penyet; something that bears quite a kick that tickles the taste buds for those who are tolerable to moderate levels of spiciness, whilst also provided a slight tang.

Would say that the egg fried rice from this Egg Fried Rice stall at Amoy Street Food Centre is pretty decent, though certainly not the best one out there — there is certainly some room for improvement when it is compared to other establishments that we have tried, including that of FireRice, as well as that of King of Fried Rice and Yummy Fried Rice. Still, this is one rendition that is pretty accessible to office folks in the Central Business District to scratch that craving when it comes. Might still want to try the Pork Chop rendition if I were to make a decision to go for this stall the next time I hit Amoy Street Food Centre again.

Came across the new Sing Lung HK Cheong Fun in a coffeeshop at Blk 1 Beach Road on social media not too long ago and already had intended to make a visit to check them out for a while — turns out, Sing Lung HK Cheong Fun is opened by a former Crystal Jade Executive Dim Sum Chef, and the stall serves up several styles of Cheong Fun, as well as a congee and a glutinous rice dish.

Given the background of the stall and how Cheong Fun is seemingly its main focus, we ended up doing for the Prawn Cheong Fun; each portion is made-to-order here — we made our visit slightly past 1:30pm on a weekday, and was pretty much the second in line and our order took around 5 to 6 minutes to be prepared. On first look, the Cheong Fun here bears a similar aesthetic to the usual Hong Kong-style Chee Cheong Fun that is typically served in dim sum establishments — a smooth rice roll as opposed to the slightly more wrinkly type that is often associated with places that serve stone-milled/freshly-milled Chee Cheong Fun. First taste of the Prawn Cheong Fun and this felt pretty much like what I would have expected from a Chinese establishment specialising in dim sum — the Cheong Fun is not only smooth and silky here, but there is this gelatinous sort of chewiness that really made it texturally interesting here along with an evident rice-y note. Each roll comes packed with two small prawns that are fresh and carries the natural sweetness of crustaceans, providing a good bite — really liked the soy sauce that they used here which they seem to be quite generous with as well; it is savoury with a tinge of sweet, and works especially well when the silky Cheong Fun absorbs the all of that goodness. Overall, a Prawn Cheong Fun that can definitely match up against the variants served up at dim sum restaurants.

With such a pedigree, one can say that expectations would be set for the Cheong Fun at Sing Lung HK Cheong Fun when one decides to make the visit here. That being said, Sing Lung HK Cheong Fun does not seem to disappoint where its Cheong Fun is of concern — they do serve up a rendition that is pretty competent despite our initial expectations; a spot that Cheong Fun lovers will probably be fond of.

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Nam Seng Wanton Noodle shouldn’t be any unfamiliar name to most for those who actively seek out places to eat at — having started since 1958, the wanton mee establishment had moved from its former locations at the old National Library to its more recent space at China Street; they have moved out from the former space due to “tenancy issues”. They have since found a new space within Cafe New Asia by Che Kitchen 车老板 at Blk 1008A Toa Payoh North — a short walk from Braddell MRT Station. While the face of the stall is the iconic 92 year old lady that has made quite a few appearances on photos and social media, it is said that she would only be in during the morning; also of particular note is that this stall is a franchise of the original as well.

Can’t really speak of how different the Wanton Noodle (Dry) is currently from how it used to be when they were at China Street since I hadn’t managed to head down there before their closure — that being said, there are several differences that are especially noticeable such as the Char Siew and the vegetables included; also of particular note is how the wantons are served out of the soup rather than in the soup as it was in the past based on previous photos. The Wanton Noodles (Dry) here shines where the sauce is concerned; it bears a striking resemblance to that of Thai-style wanton noodles — a lightly savoury sauce that isn’t as heavy as the Malaysian-style or local-style wanton noodles that really goes together with the springy noodles that comes with a good bite. The wantons are actually pretty well packed with meat, though the change of the type of Char Siew would be the main catch — gone were the days of the generic, lean and somewhat dyed Char Siew that they seemed to have use previously. Instead, the Char Siew that accompanies the Wanton Noodles (Dry) now are more fatty and chunky; definitely nothing close to those of Malaysian-style Char Siew with a glistening glaze and absolutely gelatinous meat, but one which we found to be a more thoughtful touch overall. The choice of Nai Bai to be served with their wanton noodles may seem a little strange since it isn’t something one would expect to accompany a dish like that, but it delivers by providing a refreshing crunch amidst the other items going on in the plate. The soup is actually pretty flavourful, yet rather clean tasting.

Given how Nam Seng is currently situated within the premises of another operator that primarily serves tzechar, service can get a little confusing here — patrons are supposed to grab a seat first and then queue at the counter to make their order whilst mentioning the table number that they are seated at; the staff will then bring the item to the table once it has been prepared. As they are still pretty new in it’s operations (they had only started on 1 April 2022), they are also currently only serving Wanton Noodles (Dry) and Wanton Noodles (Soup) — just something to note for those who intends to make their visit. While I can’t vouch for how their food now compares to the time when they were at China Street, I would say the current rendition of Nam Seng’s Wanton Mee (Dry) is pretty much my jam — this is considering how I am quite a fan of Thai-style wanton noodles — something which I might make a visit again. Do also note that while they are listed to open from 8am to 6pm, they are open till sold out; they were out of noodles at 11:30am during the weekday which we made our visit.

Heard all about the new Sambae that is located the Food Loft coffeeshop at Blk 721 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8 — the stall being located in the same coffeeshop as other notable stalls such as Meng Meng Roasted Duck, Donburi no Tatsujin, El Carbon and Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu. A stall opened by a hawkerpreneur, Sambae is a concept where the folks behind the stall aims to fuse traditional dishes with a modern concept. This is especially evident in some of their offerings, which include the Sambae Stingray Rice Bowl with Onsen Egg, Sambae Sotong Rice Bowl with Onsen Egg and Sambae Kangkong Prawn Rice Bowl with Onsen Egg; essentially local dishes served in a style similar to that of a Japanese Donburi. Other offerings that Sambae offers include sharing plates — they also do offer combo sets where patrons can opt for specific combinations of the sharing plates that comes bundled together with servings of rice as well; a pretty thoughtful touch that would serve as a hassle-free offering to share between two to three pax.

The Sambae Stingray Rice Bowl with Onsen Egg is pretty much a self-explanatory offering; taking the local hawker BBQ stall favourite — the Sambal Stingray is being served with Onsen Egg and other condiments such as pickled Japanese cucumber and onions atop a bed of short-grain rice. Whilst Sambae doesn’t attempt to do anything revolutionary here with the item, we found the Sambae Stingray Rice Bowl with Onsen Egg to be a pretty well-designed offering that provides patrons an individually-sized portion of an item typically available as a sharing plate that can be easily had for lunch or dinner without the need to be shared. The Sambal Stingray here is appropriately sized for a single diner with the portion of rice served — the stingray is grilled on the metal plate upon order; this ensures the stingray to still be soft, flaky and moist when the item is served. The folks in the kitchen constantly checks on the level of doneness of the stingray here, and applies their house-made sambal at the right time just so that the sambal does not end up being reduced to a dry state whilst being plated onto the rice. While one may argue how the variant of the sambal stingray here may lack of the usual smoky char that some variants may carry, there is no denying on how they have gotten the sambal right here — sufficiently savoury, yet carrying just the right kick without being overpoweringly spicy. Combined with the raw onions provided on the side, the raw onions provide a refreshing zing, while the pickled cucumber provide a crunch and a refreshing tang that cuts through the savoury notes of the sambal. Meanwhile, the Onsen Egg reveals a creamy egg yolk within; works as one mixes the yolk into the rice and brings everything into the bowl together with a silkier touch.

No doubt run by young hawkerpreneurs, Sambae does seem to offer a unique take of local fare with a modern concept. They seem to have nailed their sambal recipe pretty well — something where expectations from patrons would not be a surprise given their choice of naming their stall as Sambae. That being said, we liked how Sambae had stuck with serving the items familiar to us as-is; no crazy fusions, just an approach to downsize items usually served in sharing plates form into something that is friendly for individual diners to have — something that we find especially thoughtful since there are always those days where we all crave for things like sambal stingray, but just lack the company to enjoy one that might be a little too much food for a single person.

Went to Golden Mile Food Centre looking for a light bite and found Wen Li Taiwanese Cuisine; a stall that is run by hawkepreneurs that serves up pretty delectable Taiwanese fare. Serving up just a small selection of Taiwanese dishes, expect favourites such as Taiwanese Braised Pork Rice and Pig Intestine Mee Sua being offered on the menu here — for those looking for sides, the stall does offer Braised Chinese Cabbage and Homemade Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken as well.

For those looking to try a variety of the items being served up here, one can opt for one of the two sets available — the Braised Pork Rice Set, and the Pig Intestine Mee Sua Set; we opted for the former, which includes their Taiwanese Braised Pork Rice Set, Homemade Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken (1/3 Serving),
Omega3 Soft Boiled Egg and Chilled Cucumber Salad. Digging into the bowl of Taiwanese Braised Pork Rice, I have already found myself pretty impressed with what they have to offer — here, the rice gets drenched in just sufficient sauce to go around the whole bowl; the meat is finely chopped to the point where it carries somewhat of a consistent texture with the sauce especially with how the fatty parts are also seemingly melt-in-the-mouth tender. The result is a Taiwanese Braised Pork Rice that is pretty easy to eat; one that also came with sufficient flavour as the braised meat and sauce came especially savoury which is punchy to the right degree. Opted for the inclusion of chili — the chili which they had provided here is pretty much chopped raw chili that is undeniably fiery, yet cuts through the carbs and meatiness of the entire bowl. The Omega3 Soft Boiled Egg is served chilled, but comes with a creamy egg yolk within, while the Chilled Cucumber Salad provides a refreshing crunch which makes it a good break from the other elements in the bowl as well. Yet another item that really impressed us was the Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken (1/3 Serving) — freshly-fried upon order, the fried popcorn chicken comes with a light but crispy golden-brown batter while the flesh is tender and juicy.

Eat Three Bowls is a favourite for me when it comes to Taiwanese cuisine; that being said, whilst Wen Li Taiwanese Fare’s rendition is slightly different from the former, they still do a very competent bowl of Taiwanese Braised Pork Rice that we utterly enjoyed — extra points go towards that consistent texture and punchy flavours that makes their rendition stand out from many that I have tried from other establishments, not to mention how earnest the folks running the stall are whilst still carrying enthusiasm in serving their patrons. Their passion behind the craft and service are pretty commendable; would say this is one stall that I would most likely revisit if the craving hits, and one that is worth making the trip for!

WanWan.Wanton is a stall that I had wanted to check out for a long while, but just somewhere I didn’t quite get to — located within a coffeeshop named “Xiang Kao Cafe” within the Senja-Cashew Community Club in Bukit Panjang, it is a location that is not particularly hard to get to if one is familiar with the locality there. On first look, the stall does seem like a regular stall serving up Wanton Mee — that is until one skims through the menu to find it’s offerings. With wantons that are shaped like gold ingots, WanWan.Wanton offers three different types of wantons here — there is the regular pork variant, as well as the prawn variant; possible unique to WanWan.Wanton though would be the Fish Roe Wanton. The differences with the average wanton mee do not stop here — patrons will also be able to opt for add-ons which includes Fried Egg (yes, much replicating the style of the un-named stall at Alexandra Village), Meat Ball or Chicken Cutlet. The stall also does serve up side dishes to share around the table, which includes Mala Wantons and Pan-Fried Golden Prawns.

Opting for the Fish Roe Wanton Mee, we went with the dry version of the wanton mee — whilst it is noted that WanWan.Wanton doesn’t serve up Char Siew with their wanton mee here (which I would much rather they don’t if they were to serve up generic variants like some other stalls would; perhaps an attempt to be closer to the Hong Kong-style wanton noodle?), it is also noted that each order will come with two pieces of deep-fried pork wantons, and three pieces of the boiled wanton of the patron’s choice. As with other wanton mee establishments out there, the dry version will also see the accompaniment of a small bowl of soup on the side. There isn’t an option for a spicy variant, but one can request for green or red chili (more on this later) to be served in a saucer on the side when collecting the order. Giving the noodles a good toss, one will be able to notice how the sauce base here is a little bit on the watery side of things — whilst this does mean that the noodles will not be coated with the sauce, I did like how the sauce base did provide a light savouriness just enough to flavour the noodles without overpowering it, hence making it easier to finish. The noodles are also sufficiently springy here, without tasting particularly heavy on alkaline. The auntie that runs the stall had warned us to add the red chili sparingly — turns out, the stall actually uses somewhat of a Lao Gan Ma-esque chili that one would usually find served alongside egg fried rice or Hong Kong-style wanton mee establishments; provides quite a kick even for those with moderate tolerance to spiciness if one decides to go all out with it. Between the deep-fried pork wanton and the boiled wantons, our preferences were towards the latter — as it turns out, the Fish Roe Wanton is packed with 50% pork and 50% fish roe; like how the wantons came with a translucent skin that revealed the orange hue from the fish roe within. Conceptually similar to the fish roe-filled fishballs that one can purchase off supermarket shelves, the Fish Roe Wanton does provide some sort of a popping sensation amidst the savoury meat filling — the wanton skin is smooth and silky, and we liked how generously each “ingot” was filled. That being said, we did wish that the popping sensation was a little more distinct for a balance of texture. The deep-fried pork wantons were well-made nonetheless; again generously packed, but we were pleased with how these were crisp without being overly thick due to its shape, whilst being pretty free from grease.

While one might argue how the Fish Roe Wanton might just be a novelty piece, we do appreciate the innovation coming out from a regular wanton noodle stall situated in a neighbourhood coffeeshop — there is some room for improvement no doubt where the texture of the fish roe is involved, but it is still a good attempt nonetheless. If we were to recommend a dish from WanWan.Wanton though, we would prefer the Prawn Dumpling Wanton Mee that provides a juicy bite with a natural sweetness from the prawn against the savoury meat filling. Wouldn’t necessarily say that one should make an out of the way visit for this, but if you do live somewhere close or within the north-west region, WanWan.Wanton might be a spot worthy to check out!

Could totally see how some people might try to steer clear and away from Satay by the Bay considering how it does seem like a place of a touristy nature, but the folks whom are quite the fan of City Satay just couldn’t resist walking in after spotting their existence as a hawker stall in the hawker centre whilst walking within Gardens by the Bay — and this was how we found ourselves sitting in this food centre just to enjoy the satay. Better known for being more of a wholesaler with a retail outlet situated around Ghim Moh Market, the Satay by the Bay outlet is the only spot where one will be able to savour their satays without having prepare them on your own. The stall at Satay by the Bay does offer meat variants of the satay which includes pork, chicken, mutton, beef at a flat rate of 80 cents a piece (minimum order 10 pcs) — pork belly satay is priced at $1.60 per piece, whilst also offering grilled prawns for those looking for an alternative option. They also do serve up Satay Combo Sets where one can order specific numbers of their usual satays to be paired with their grilled prawns and pork belly satays alongside Nasi Impit as well — a pretty convenient way to try all the items that they have to offer.

Opting solely for their Pork Belly variant since the folks are absolute fans of these, we thought that the satay here had totally hit the spot for us — there is no denying of how well-marinated the skewered meat here is; the strong note of turmeric punches through in terms of both in aromatic and in flavour. Being charred slightly on the grill, we also liked how there is this distinct smoky note that accompanies all that flavour going on whilst the meat didn’t carry much of an undesirable porky stench — the meat being decently tender overall with a good bite; much of the fats giving a chewiness without being particularly tough. Can’t speak about the sauce since it is something that I can’t have, but I would say that the satay is good enough to have as-is — the only disappointment probably coming from the accompanying bits of onions and cucumber that seemed to have lost much of their usual juiciness and lacked freshness.

I think it is easy to just brush off Satay by the Bay as a tourist trap considering how it is intended as a spot to introduce local cuisine to tourists keen to experience a slice of local dining culture style in the form of the Satay Club in the past. Whilst I do feel that those vibes of the early days are lost with just limited stalls serving up satay here (one halal stall, and one non-halal stall) with quite a mix of other new stalls serving up steamboat, Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine, and bistro-esque Western offerings taking up different stalls within a place styled like a hawker centre, City Satay does offer some pretty decent satay that goes beyond merely just satisfying the taste buds — one that I would think that is representative of the true spirit of the dish to showcase to tourists, as well as for those looking for a good rendition of satay to try out. I guess the folks would probably want to be back for more — though I guess I would give the Mutton satay a go then too!

Up, down and everywhere around for food.

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