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

One thing we had been noticing for quite a while here is the various new-style coffee and toast stalls which have opened up at several hawker centres of the late. Similar to LifeCoffee at Amoy Street Food Centre, Marine Parade Food Centre has also got a stall named Creative Coffee & Toast that attempts to serve Vietnamese Banh Mi that seems to be almost no different to any coffee and toast stall serving Hainanese-style local breakfast sets in hawker centres all around; apart from serving various forms of Kaya Toast featuring different types of bread, the establishment also serves three variations of Banh Mi — think the Roasted Chicken Pate Baguette, Pork Hams Pate Baguette and the Roasted Pork Baguette. Whilst all of the local-style toast offerings do come in sets featuring soft-boiled eggs and a hot beverage (cold beverages can be opted ar an additional charge), the sets involving the Vietnamese Banh Mi comes only with hot beverage less the soft-boiled eggs. Beverages available at Creative Coffee & Toast includes the usual selection of Nanyang Kopi & Teh, as well as other local beverages such as Horlicks, honey-based beverages, Bandung, lime juice etc.; the only Vietnamese beverage here is the Iced Vietnamese Coffee with Milk.

The Roasted Pork Baguette was already sold out by the time we had headed to Creative Coffee & Toast for a light dinner; we found ourselves going for the Pork Hams Pate Baguette instead. Whilst the Pork Hams Pate Baguette was actually rather decent, it did feel that it could do with some slight tweaks. No doubt freshly prepared upon order, we felt that the baguette itself, though light and crisp with a slight chew, felt a tad limp — a little less than ideal when it came to the texture of the bread. Whilst the baguette was filled with a reasonable portion of ingredients such as the pork ham, cucumber and pickled carrots that one would usually find in Banh Mi, there was a lack of pate spread across the bread that would help to bind the lightly savoury cured meat and the vegetables together. We did like the inclusion of chopped chilli padi here; injects that fiery kick that should work fine with those who have moderate level of tolerance to spiciness as one chews on it, while they did seemingly also have cracked pepper to provide for a slight contrast of flavours here.

Having tried LifeCoffee at Amoy Street Food Centre that is a pretty similar concept to Creative Coffee & Toast, we did feel that the Banh Mi from Creative Coffee & Toast doesn’t quite hit the spot as compared to the well-stuffed and flavourful Banh Mi that LifeCoffee offers; we certainly preferred the offerings of LifeCoffee a little more and do feel that there is quite a fair bit of room for improvement where the Banh Mi from Creative Coffee & Toast is of concern — from the texture of the bread, to the pate spread; it just felt like it stopped short from the stellar version that we have had at LifeCoffee. It does seem a little unfair to make such comparisons, but it is also difficult not to — this is especially so when considering how similar both establishments are in terms of what they have to offer. Nonetheless, Creative Coffee & Toast does deserve to be commended for bringing the humble Vietnamese Banh Mi closer to the masses; definitely an interesting offering from a stall that seemingly serve local coffee and toasts in a food centre.

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There really does seem to be one Din Tai Fung-esque fried rice stall too many around the island these days — there is seemingly one such stall in most heartlands. Was going about the Central Business District looking for somewhere wallet-friendly to dine at and came across this new stall named I 🤍 福口福 hidden within Marina Food House. The stall places it emphasis on their fried rice offerings — the star item of the stall being the XO King Fried Rice and their Black Truffle Fried Rice which are prominently listed on the menu board that fronts the stall. As with most other stalls serving up similar fare, expect a familiar mix of other Din Tai Fung-esque fried rice being available here — think variants of the fried rice such as XO, Spicy and Egg Fried Rice available to pair with meat options such as Pork Chop, Chicken Chop, Shrimp and Crab Meat. Prices of the fried rice dishes ranges from $6.50 to $10.00 — not exactly the most pocket-friendly option around, but still relatively affordable considering this is in the Central Business District after all.

Being a one-man show, the Fried Rice is done upon order; that being said, the Pork Chop and Chicken Chop have been prepared ahead of time to be heated up when the order of the fried rice is being prepared. The Pork Chop Fried Rice (XO) comes with no surprises considering what we all know comes with the Din Tai Fung-style of Fried Rice that has been further popularised by King of Fried Rice — the XO variant sees the fried rice being wok-fried with XO sauce. The result is this plate of fried rice that is savoury and with bits of crisp umami-ness that comes when one chews on those bits from the XO sauce included. As with almost variants of such styles of fried rice we have came across, the grains being used in the variant served at I 🤍 福口福 features short-grain rice that is lacquered with just enough oil that gave it a consistently moist texture throughout. The rice does come savoury with a slight hint of wok-hei for that light smokiness that makes it so good on its own; what was really the limelight for us was the Pork Chop however — no doubt it does seem to lack that crispness that some renditions such as the one from FireRice had. That being said, we liked how tender the Pork Chop here was; does not require much effort to chew and maintain its juiciness — all that whilst still lightly peppery and not particularly porky for a good flavour.

With so many Din Tai Fung-esque fried rice stalls around, it does feel that the market for such fare has been pretty much saturated — there is also significantly less hype surrounding such dishes as opposed to when the trend has seemingly started with King of Fried Rice having aggressively expanding throughout the entire island. That being said, I 🤍 福口福 is a stall that would serve the office folks around the Central Business District well — there are some, but not that many of such stalls located at this end of Singapore; definitely provided office workers yet another dining option or a convenient spot for them to get their cravings for Din Tai Fung-esque fried rice resolved. The fried rice is executed well, while we did really enjoy the pork chop despite there being some room for improvement for it to be up another level. Overall, something which we would not mind going for again; a reasonably priced Din Tai Fung-esque fried rice option in the Central Business District that would appeal to the office crowds working in the area.

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With the recent surge of freshly-made Chee Cheong Fun stalls that had been sprouting up ever since Chef Wei HK Cheong Fun first opened their stall at the food court named Foodhub at Blk 209 New Upper Changi Road in Bedok, the scene for freshly-made Chee Cheong Fun stalls in hawker centres and food courts had been pretty saturated — there is almost one stall serving up such fare in almost every single neighbourhood. Whilst Hong Kong-style Cheong Fun has started to become quite commonplace all over the island, Ǎn Ngon Vietnamese Rice Roll is a rare breed; having only recently opened its doors at a non-air conditioned coffeeshop named 古早味 The Traditional Taste at Blk 343 Yishun Street 11, the stall serves up Vietnamese-style Chee Cheong Fun — probably the only one on the island that is dedicated to serving up such a style of Chee Cheong Fun here. Occupying a small stall just beside the drinks stall of the coffeeshop, the stall serves up various types of Vietnamese-style Chee Cheong Fun as its focus; interestingly, Ǎn Ngon Vietnamese Rice Roll also does serve Glutinous Rice and Vietnamese Bread as well for those who are looking for other items apart from the rice rolls they serve.

Between the various types of rice rolls available here, the Minced Meat Rice Roll would most probably the most authentic of the lot — they also do have the Traditional Rice Roll (plain), Char Siew Rice Roll and the Smoked Duck Rice Roll as well. All orders do require some time to be served; the rice rolls are freshly-prepared and rolled upon order just like how it would be at a stall serving up freshly-made Hong Kong-style rice rolls. On first sight, the Minced Meat Rice Roll looks somewhat similar to that of the Hong Kong-style rice rolls there we are all familiar with, though also with quite a few differences. For one, the usual soy sauce does seem to be replaced with that of a more diluted fish sauce; therefore the clear aesthetic of the sauce that puddles at the bottom of the plate. Whilst the rice roll is rolled in a way similar to that of the Hong Kong-style Chee Cheong Fun, one would also notice how it comes with other elements on the side which do not typically accompany the Hong Kong-style Chee Cheong Fun; think minced garlic, coriander and raw chili padi — the latter two being a familiar ingredient that is used in Vietnamese cuisine such as that of the Banh Mi. Digging into the rice roll, we thought that the Minced Meat Rice Roll here is an even lighter version of the Hong Kong-style Chee Cheong Fun; the light umami notes of the fish sauce subtly flavours up the rice roll, all that while the rice roll bears that familiar consistency of being thin and slurpy whilst being a little chewy with its QQ texture. Encasing the minced meat fillings within, it comprises of crumbs of minced meat that seems to be mixed up with bits of chopped up black fungus for a good variance of texture and a meaty note; the minced garlic provided a sharp hint of spiciness that replicates that of the raw chili padi included — the coriander resetting the tastebuds with its distinct flavour. The folks of Ǎn Ngon Vietnamese Rice Roll have also included strips of Vietnamese Ham to be served with the dish; the ham being similar to that of chicken ham with a bite and carried just a very light savoury flavour — a good addition to make the dish a little more substantial for those looking for a light lunch option rather than a tea-time snack.

In a time where Hong Kong-style Chee Cheong Fun stalls are abundant, Ǎn Ngon Vietnamese Rice Roll is a spot that offers an interesting take on a dish that we are so familiar with, but yet in a style that makes it feel like a fresh take on an all-time favourite. Whilst we aren’t very sure of this variant will gel well with the local audiences here, one thing is certainly worth commending — Ǎn Ngon Vietnamese Rice Roll’s attempt in bringing yet another form of Vietnamese cuisine for the local palates to enjoy. We do foresee ourselves craving for their rice rolls some time soon since these were pretty up our alley; they are most certainly well-executed, though we would not be the right ones to comment on whether they are exactly authentic since we have yet to travel to Vietnam nor have tried any other Vietnamese-style Rice Rolls due to the lack of establishments serving up the dish around locally. That being said, Ǎn Ngon Vietnamese Rice Roll is definitely one of those hidden gems in the North that is most worthy to make a visit to for those who are curious on how Vietnamese-style Chee Cheong Fun are like.

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One of the new F&B openings that is likely to be the centre of attraction for those in the Central Business District is Supercurry — already being featured on some social media posts after having been in operation for a week, Supercurry is the latest F&B concept by Chef Pang Kok Keong; the same chef who is behind Chef Pang’s Hakka Noodles previously at Xin Tekka / Sprout Hub / BGAIN Eating House at ARC380, as well as also the former chef-owner of the now-defunct Antoinette. Based on articles that have ran on social media about Supercurry, Chef Pang is not stationed at the stall. The stall, which is situated at Kedai 121 Eating House, is within a Muslim-friendly coffeeshop — the very same one where one would be able to find the popular Uptown Nasi Lemak (which is the immediate neighbouring stall to Supercurry), as well as other notable tenants such as an outlet of Mrs Hen and an outlet of Tiong Bahru Fishball Noodle. As such, whilst Supercurry does serve up Hainanese-style Curry Rice (think the likes of established curry rice establishments such as Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice, Beach Road Scissors Cut Curry Rice and Beo Crescent Curry Rice) in a way, it would be inappropriate to label them as a true-blue Hainanese Curry Rice stall especially considering the lack of pork dishes served here for a start. Supercurry does serve up curry rice sets for those who are looking for a fuss-free meal — think the Curry Chicken, Braised Chicken and Assam Fish Curry Rice sets listed on the menu, though those who would like to go for ala-carte dishes of their choice to have other interesting items such as the Sambal Sotong & Tempeh, Corn Fritter and Prawn Cake to go for; just to name a few.

With the “Super Hype” logo being featured on their signature items, it was easy to identify the set which we wanted to go for when we made our trip to Supercurry on a weekday lunch; we found ourselves going for the Fried Chicken Curry Rice Set — the only set that features the “Super Hype” logo on the menu of the stall. All curry sets also includes omelette, braised vegetables and Fried Tau Kee along with the choice of meat and the gravy-drenched rice; we were fairly lucky considering how they had just ran out of fried chicken whilst we were making our order at the stall, and the portion of fried chicken which we had was freshly-fried out of the wok when our order was served. Digging into the plate of curry rice, we went with the curry-drenched bed of rice first — we are indeed impressed with the flavours of the curry gravy here; it is sufficiently flavourful on its own; there is this rich lemak fragrance that is all creamy against that full-on curry flavour here without being overly spicy, which works well for those who are not too tolerant to moderate levels of spiciness, making the rice especially easy to finish. The braised sauce which is also drenched on the rice provides a level of sweetness that stays prominent, but lightly so even after the curry gravy is being drenched above; provides a thicker flavour to the curry gravy especially when had together with the rice. Between the the three standard condiments that came together with the set, we found the most impressive to be the Fried Tau Kee — think a thicker version of the Ling Ling Roll that most folks would enjoy having with a hotpot; with so many layers being rolled, the Fried Tau Kee provides an intriguing texture that is crispy yet carries a good bite down to the core. Some may prefer for the Fried Tau Kee to be drenched with curry gravy for a softer texture, though we felt that some would also do fine as it is — all boils down to personal preferences. The braised vegetables were decent; came with the usual black fungus and comes with a slight hint of sweetness and a soft bite, while the omelette was also pretty alright with chunks of onions for a good bite amidst all that egginess. The fried chicken cutlet is definitely worth the mention however; we were actually surprised with how their rendition came with the skin still on — provides for a extra crisp exterior with a flavour contrast considering how it is fried chicken that came with fried chicken skin. We also liked how the fried chicken was tender and juicy; nothing too greasy whilst the golden-brown exterior is crisp and creates just enough textural contrast without being too thick — a good balance of textures and something which we found to be really well-executed.

Some folks may comment on how Supercurry might be a little more pricey in terms of the dollar value that they charge for their sets amongst other more authentic curry rice establishments that are serving the same for less — that being said, we do feel that the comparison is a little unfair since Supercurry does seem to serve up their very own interpretation of curry rice, and the price point can still be argued as fairly reasonable considering the portion size and how it is located within the Central Business District. Having only tried the Fried Chicken Curry Rice Set, we were pretty impressed with what we had; our favourite element being the Fried Tau Kee that gives Supercurry a unique touch against other stalls elsewhere. Whilst we have yet to give Supercurry’s other items a go, we are definitely convinced to drop by yet again to try out the other items that they have to offer. A great fuss-free lunch option for office folks in the Central Business District to go for without having to break the bank!

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Caught wind of this new stall at Mayflower Food Centre through a social media post whilst scrolling on the phone the other day; no idea what the name of the stall would be since they have yet unveil their signboard (it has been covered up by red cloth) during our visit to the stall. The stall is, however, quite difficult to miss; if one was to walk into the food centre via the plaza located right in front of it, it is the immediate stall on the right in the middle row of the food centre. Serving up congee and Hong Kong-style Chee Cheong Fun, their focus does seem to be on the latter considering that there are more variations of Chee Cheong Fun served here than types of congee being listed on the menu. For the variations of Chee Cheong Fun available, expect some pretty conventional ones such as that of the HK-style Cheong Fun (i.e. the plain variant), the Mixed Sauce Cheong Fun and the Char Siew Cheong Fun; they do have a rather interesting Lontong Cheong Fun available too. The variety of congee available at this stall is restricted to either the Preserved Egg Minced Meat Porridge, as well as the Scallops Porridge.

Sticking to our go-to variant of the Hong Kong-style Chee Cheong Fun, we went for the Fresh Prawn Cheong Fun — the one here does come with a sprinkle of spring onions and sesame with the chili being optional. Digging in to the Fresh Prawn Cheong Fun here, this one is smooth and silken — one which we are more likely to be able to find dim sum restaurants around; one that we also found to be rather well-made considering how it is pretty slurpy and slides down the throat effortlessly. There is a very light note from the rice slurry that runs at the back of the tongue, while the Chee Cheong Fun is aptly flavoured from that slightly sweet soy sauce that gave it much of the flavour it needs. Encasing chunks of prawns within, we liked how the prawns were fresh and naturally sweet; provided a good bite for a contrast of texture that we so ever love with the prawn variant of Hong Kong-style Chee Cheong Fun. The dollop of chilli on the side is a great addition to the Chee Cheong Fun here; it is as savoury as it is being umami — the chilli providing a good kick of spiciness that should do well for those who are tolerable to moderate levels of spiciness. Overall, a really good version of the Hong Kong-style Chee Cheong Fun that is priced reasonably against the competition.

No doubt there are some names that would come to mind when one mentions Mayflower and Hong Kong-style Chee Cheong Fun — one of them would be Rice & Roll which does stone-milled Chee Cheong Fun that we really love. It is however difficult to pick one between the two; this is given how this new stall at Mayflower Food Centre serves up the usual Hong Kong-style Chee Cheong Fun without the stone-milled aspect. Not withstanding so, this new stall at Mayflower Food Centre is most certainly worth the trip for; they do serve up a really good rendition of Hong Kong-style Chee Cheong Fun that is comparable to this served at more formal settings. We would most definitely be back again to give that Lontong Cheong Fun a try — it does sound like an interesting play on the Malaysian-style Chee Cheong Fun where it comes with laksa / curry gravy that seems pretty intriguing to us at least!

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It seems that the Hong Kong-style Chee Cheong Fun trend is going pretty strong these days still; there are still different stalls popping up around the island — one stall being the fairly new Dao Xiang 稻香 which had recently found home in the coffeeshop at Blk 80 Marine Parade Central. The stall takes over the former premises of the now-defunct Fei Gong Cart Noodle 肥公車仔麵 stall that has previously been featured across multiple platforms on social media. The menu of Dao Xiang 稻香 does initially seem to have a focus on double-boiled soups, though they have seemed to stop serving so when we had made our visit there; the only remaining items that they are serving from the menu would be their stone-milled Chee Cheong Fun offerings, as well as a few congee dishes.

With only four variants of stone-milled Chee Cheong Fun to go for, we decided to give the Smoked Duck Cheong Fun a try — thought it would be good to try something that is more of a fresh take than to stick with the usual Prawn Cheong Fun that we would usually go for. The stone-milled Chee Cheong Fun are made to order at Dao Xiang, as what most Chee Cheong Fun stalls would typically do as well — one would be able to glance through the entire process of how they pour the rice slurry and the “wrap and roll” action at the counter here. Our order is served after the drizzling of the soy sauce, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, alongside with a dollop of chilli which we opted for. Digging into the Smoked Duck Cheong Fun, we liked how the Chee Cheong Fun did come with a really chewy and stretchy texture; very qq, yet doesn’t stick to the teeth — our choice of going for the smoked duck topping does shake things up quite a bit too. The savoury juices of the smoked duck seems to have lacquered itself all over the Chee Cheong Fun, creating this really savoury, smoky note that provided the clean-tasting Chee Cheong Fun an added punch of flavours, yet complimenting the savoury-sweet soy sauce so nicely. The chili which we have opted for gave quite a spicy kick; carrying an umami note, we really enjoyed how it tingles the taste buds — more tuned towards those who can tolerate a higher level of spiciness, but adds so much flavour to the Smoked Duck Cheong Fun.

Having only tried the Smoked Duck Cheong Fun at Dao Xiang, we do feel that the Chee Cheong Fun offerings are worth making the trip for — the Smoked Duck Cheong Fun was pretty much a flavour bomb on its own, and is one of the more well-executed Chee Cheong Funs that we have tried thus far. Prices of the Chee Cheong Fun are pretty reasonable, especially considering that the ones that they are serving here are the stone-milled sort — the lowest-priced one being the Veggie and Egg Cheong Fun at $3.50, whilst the priciest would be the Prawn Cheong Fun at $5.50. Would probably give their Chee Cheong Fun again especially if we are craving for a good one and in the area; definitely one of the better ones that we have had so far.

Hadn’t been to Hong Lim Complex Food Centre for a while especially ever since the change of work ‘hood — noticed that there has since been quite a few changes in the stalls that are operating within the hawker centre. Situated beside the ever-popular Ji Ji Noodle House on the second level, 爱吃手工面粉粿 does seem to be one of the newer additions to the food centre. Serving up Mee Hoon Kueh as its primary offering, the menu does suggest that they do also carry You Mian and Ban Mian options for the same dishes that they serve with their Mee Hoon Kueh. Patrons can also opt for add-on of their desired ingredients — the pricing board for the add-ons is being situated at the counter, while they do also offer a Dry Spicy You Mian / Ban Mian (note: not available with Mee Hoon Kueh) as well.

Going for the plain Jane rendition of the Mee Hoon Kueh that they have to offer, the Traditional Mee Hoon Kueh comes only in soup form with Mee Hoon Kueh, Ikan Bilis (optional), Shallots (optional), Minced Pork and Mani Cai. Digging into the bowl, we found that the Traditional Mee Hoon Kueh here to be especially comforting; the soup that it came with is especially clear and light — provides just enough flavour but yet doesn’t overwhelm any of the other condiments that came with it, while the Mee Hoon Kueh is clearly hand-torn here with its irregular shapes and sizes. We really liked how the Mee Hoon Kueh is like here — each piece is torn just about the right without it being particularly thick or wide; also not dense and comes with a very good chewy without being doughy. The Mani Cai provides a wholesome feel being the only green to balance against the carbs with a soft bite; the minced pork giving bouncy and chewy bite. Ikan Bilis gave the entire dish a crisp — a good contrast of texture for the entire bowl. For those who are able to tolerate a higher level of spiciness — do not give their chili a miss; we really loved how the chili provided not just a good kick to tingle the tastebuds, but also gave it a really good tanginess that really livens the whole bowl up.

Considering how the stall is seemingly set up only in the past couple of months, 爱吃手工面粉粿 does seem to have a loyal following especially during weekday lunch service — there seems to be always a short queue at the stall at any given time and the man taking orders from the crowd takes order in groups of five pax and serve them altogether before repeating the cycle all over again. Waiting time for the food doesn’t take particularly long — within the usual ranges of a busy stall during peak periods for us. Thought that the Traditional Mee Hoon Kueh was particularly comforting here — something that seemingly warms up and speaks to the soul; their dedication in serving up hand-torn Mee Hoon Kueh is their promise in serving their very best to their patrons, while the man at the counter is pretty friendly despite having to face the crowds for lunch. A stall which we would reckon is worth making a trip for — definitely something which we would look forward to having again another time!

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Checked out the newly-renovated K88 Kopitiam at Blk 5 Banda Street; the HDB block which is located just right behind Chinatown Complex Market as well as the Chinatown Visitor Centre. The renovated coffeeshop now houses quite a few new stalls; this includes an outpost of Teochew Handmade Pau originally from Toa Payoh West Food Centre, as well as a Japanese ramen stall named Mr Ramen. Gao Korean Cuisine is a new concept by the same folks behind Gao Ji Foods — the group is also responsible for running brands such as Koo Kee Yong Tow Foo Mee, Gao Peng Cuisine, Dong Dong Hainanese Chicken Rice, Steamed Gourmet and niko niko don don. Focusing on serving up Korean cuisine, the menu at Gao Korean Cuisine includes various forms of rice boxes (i.e. rice dishes with choice of proteins served in mess tins), Korean Ramyun and Korean Fried Chicken Wings (named Korean Wings-holic) on the menu. Side dishes available to share around the table includes Chicken Spam Fries, Fried Fish Skin and Silky Steamed Egg — just to name a few.

Was pretty torn between having the Chicken Leg Rice Box and the Chicken Chunk Rice Box and eventually found ourselves settling for the latter; noted that they only provide plastic disposable cutlery here and thought that it would be easier to deal with something boneless as such. Patrons can opt to choose whether they would like to have their Chicken Chunk Rice Box to come with fried chicken that is drenched in either soy sauce, or a spicy sauce; we opted for the latter. On first look, the Chicken Chunk Rice Box also comes served with coleslaw and seaweed on the side — all within a mess tin. Digging into the rice box, we first went for the chicken chunks; supposedly the highlight of the entire dish — we found the chicken chunks to be fairly decent. Drenched entirely in the spicy sauce, the chicken chunks featured a lightly crispy fried exterior while the meat was pretty tender and moist; the sauce delivered on what it had promised — nothing short of being thick, sticky and fiery and tingles the tastebuds, yet carrying a hint of sweetness that is typical of Korean spicy sauce though this would probably be more suited for those who have a slightly higher tolerance of spiciness. The coleslaw was a decent addition; provides for a good crunch though we did feel it a little lacking on flavour in general. The rice was actually well-cooked; the short-grain rice was sufficiently moist and fluffy. A pretty decent offering overall.

Hadn’t been much of a follower of the concepts that Gao Ji Foods have established over the years but Koo Kee Yong Tow Foo Mee’s popularity might probably be a testament to what the group might be doing right so far. Thought Gao Korean Cuisine’s offerings based on what we have tried is fairly decent — one which would be able to satisfy cravings for Korean cuisine at quite a reasonable price; the Chicken Chunk Rice Box is listed on the menu at $6.50. Wouldn’t necessarily say that this is worth making a special trip all the way here to give it a try, but definitely a decent choice to go for if dining within the area.

It is places like 問TOI that reminds me that Woodlands is way bigger than the places I have previously explored out of my own neighbourhood within the area — first time venturing into this food court within the industrial estate at 10 Marsiling Industrial Estate Road 1 and was really surprised that they have a stage for live music (they were playing songs from YouTube on the day we visited) within the premises. Some noteworthy stalls located apart from 問TOI includes One Ton Mee (serving Wanton Mee), as well as an outpost of Cơm Tấm Ăn Là Ghiền (serving Vietnamese cuisine that includes some lesser known dishes) which also has an outlet at Geylang. 問TOI serves up western cuisine in the coffeeshop; the items here do seem a little bit more contemporary as compared to what we are more used to seeing in most other similar stalls located in neighbourhoods. Items that particularly stood out for us on the menu includes their sides such as Fried Broccoli, as well as their Apple Miso and the Hainan Chili Emulsion listed for the choice of sauce. Patrons going for their meats from the “On The Grill” section of the menu can opt for their choice of meat, and go for their choice of two sides and choice of one sauce; otherwise, there are also pasta options such as the Prawn Aglio Olio and Carbonara to go for as well. Ala-carte items which are good for sharing across the table includes Chicken Wings and Popcorn Chicken.

Going for the Grilled Pork Belly from their “On The Grill” section of their menu, we went for the Fried Broccoli (because why not?) and the Honey Mayo Coleslaw for the choice of our sides, and the Apple Miso sauce for the choice of sauce. Digging straight into the Grilled Pork Belly, we found that the Grilled Pork Belly here was decent; it is reasonably tender, though we still had difficulties in chewing some parts of the grilled pork belly where it was either too fatty or just a little on the dry side. What we liked though was how the meat didn’t carry too prominently a porky stench. Pairing it up with the Apple Miso sauce, the Apple Miso sauce provides a hint of sweetness that complimented the pork nicely — pretty much the classic combination of pork and apple sauce that just seems to work beautifully, though we did find that the earthiness of Miso pulling through here; perhaps an addition to provide a richer note of sweetness to the apple sauce instead. Some may find it rather bothersome, though was something we were ok with was how the Apple Miso sauce was seemingly served chilled from the fridge — somewhat created a rather stark temperature contrast against the meat. Fried Broccoli was the highlight for us here; we are always a fan of fried broccoli and this hit the right spot with its crisp florets and light seasoning that provided a saltish note. The Honey Mayo Coleslaw was more of a regular coleslaw that is almost akin to that of a purple slaw; sufficiently creamy and provides a refreshing crunch, though we found that the honey element didn’t quite pull through for us either.

Perhaps it was also the items that we have decided to go for; 問TOI does feel a little bit of a hit and miss where the execution and the flavours just felt like there was just something that was missing — it is not a shabby attempt, but probably something that would stand out for the more discerning tastebuds however. That being said, 問TOI is an interesting addition to a non-air conditioned food court within an industrial park — the sort of offerings that it has on the menu is rather atypical for the sort of location it is situated at; definitely an interesting dining choice though could be a little pricey for some considering how our order leans close to the $10 mark. It would be interesting to see how 問TOI would go from here and on; that being said, we do feel that we might revisit the spot to give their Grilled Chicken and pasta dishes a try next time.

Hadn’t been back to Amoy Street Food Centre in a while and surprised to find out how many new stalls have sprouted up after a month of so. Taking up one of the corner units at the second level of the food centre, Harry’s Eurasian Pies is one of the few new stalls that had recently opened at Amoy Street Food Centre. This is, however, not their only location though — their Instagram account does list out two outlets; the Amoy Street Food Centre outlet is said to operate between 11am to 2pm, while there is also another stall at Chomp Chomp Food Centre from 6pm to 9pm. The stall’s menu is rather simple; offering three different pies, patrons get to choose between the Shepherd’s Pie, Pot Pie and Devil’s Pie. Patrons looking for other options apart from pies can also go for the Curry Devil as a main as well, though this was unavailable during our visit.

It’s pretty obvious on which pie we would be going for here — considering how they have named themselves Harry’s Peranakan Pie, the Devil’s Pie would be the choice considering how Devil’s Curry is a dish that is especially tied to Peranakan culture. The Devil’s Pie consist of elements such as Devil’s Curry (described as a spicy Eurasian curry with chicken, sausages, potatoes, cucumbers and cabbage on the menu) that is topped with a puff pastry crust. We had been pretty much scarred during our previous attempt on trying Devil’s Curry at another establishment for how it was so immensely spicy (ended up tearing on the spot, and pretty much messed the digestive system thereafter); the guy who was manning the stall reassured us that they have tuned the spiciness level down for his rendition of the Devil’s Curry to suit the taste buds of the masses. Breaking open the puff pastry crust over the top, one would find how the pie was filled with a pool of Devil’s Curry. As opposed to the usual curries that we are more familiar with, this was still somewhat rich, but has an earthier undertone and a slightly tangier finish that is possibly due to the vinegar — an ingredient that is typically included in Devil’s Curry. The level of spiciness could be said as moderate; folks who are used to the level of spiciness for most curry chicken dishes should find this pretty manageable. They are also seemingly generous in the portion of ingredients served here — the pie itself being well-filled with chunky potatoes and chicken pieces, as well as sausages; all of them being soft to the bite. Liked how the buttery and flaky puff pastry on the top was able to soak up all that Devil’s Curry; a great vehicle to mop up all that curry beneath.

Amoy Street Food Centre has been pretty much a hotbed for experimental stalls such as Harry’s Eurasian Pies to kick start their hawkerpreneurial journey — the office crowd provides that unique demographic that allows hawkers to truly be creative with the fare that they are attempting to serve up with a slight flexibility on pricing. Felt that the prices of the pies are pretty reasonable; the pies at Harry’s Eurasian Pies are priced around $7 to $8 — decent considering how they come with a good amount of filling within. The quality of the pies are also on par with the price point; not to mention how the guy manning the stall seems to ensure that each pie is served to the patron piping hot from the oven. Not sure how well-received the pies would be as an item to be had for lunch amongst the office workers in the Central Business District, but Harry’s Eurasian Pies is certainly a stall worth visiting to resolve any pie cravings for sure; would probably be checking out their Pot Pie if we were to give them yet another go whilst at Amoy Street Food Centre again!

Heard about the opening of DuDu Rice and NiuNiu Tea at Whampoa Makan Place (i.e. Blk 90 Whampoa Drive) — having opened just earlier this week, the stall is run by a couple; the husband being Taiwanese while his spouse being Korean, which is the reason why this stall serves up both Taiwanese and Korean cuisine on its menu. Their colourful signboard stands out from their neighbours pretty boldly; patrons can expect both Korean and Taiwanese mains and sides here — some examples of the mains being served at DuDu Rice and NiuNiu Tea includes Lu Rou Fan, Taiwanese Mee Sua and the Dakdoritang, whilst side dishes include the Taiwanese Crispy Chicken Cutlet and the QQ Cheesy Tteokbokki.

We were especially intrigued by the Dakdoritang whilst skimming through the menu at DuDu Rice and NiuNiu Tea — perhaps this is being due to the fact that there are more Taiwanese dishes dominating the menu here as opposed to the selection of Korean food available here; also particularly intriguing is how Dakdoritang is one of the items that seems to be rarely found in Korean establishments here, let alone a hawker stall. Dakdoritang is essentially a Korean Spicy Chicken Stew — the Dakdoritang at DuDu Rice and NiuNiu Tea is described to come with root vegetables and rice on the menu. Being cooked to order, there wasn’t too long a wait for the Dakdoritang to be served; in fact, most other hawker dishes may take a longer preparation time in retrospect. Was expecting something similar in terms of flavour profile to the Andong-jjimdak (i.e. Korean Braised Chicken), which was indeed what it seemed to be. That being said, we note that the flavours of the Dakdoritang is significantly less jelak than Andong-jjimdak — whilst Andong-jjimdak is usually flavourful from the reduction of the braised sauce, the Dakdoritang felt like a homely rendition of the same that is lighter to the taste buds, but also carries just a light tinge of spiciness for that extra kick; pretty mild and would work well for those whom have a lower tolerance to spiciness. The chicken is especially tender; the meat doesn’t require much effort to come off from the bones, while the chunks of root vegetables (i.e. carrots and potatoes) that came along are soft to chew on. We especially enjoyed the bed of rice beneath tho; said to be Taiwanese short-grain pearl rice, we really liked that consistency of which it was cooked to — fluffy and sufficiently moist, it absorbed those lightly savoury notes of the Dakdoritang for a good flavour.

One thing we cannot deny about the food at DuDu Rice and NiuNiu Tea is how homely it feels — dine-in patrons are also entitled to complimentary serving of banchan as well; speaks loads on how they strive to serve their patrons well by ensuring that they get their fill. Considering how Whampoa has always been sort of an enclave for local fare, DuDu Rice and NiuNiu Tea is a pretty refreshing change to the norm in this neighbourhood — an interesting option that is surprisingly hearty and comforting to have!

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Heard about the new Tuk Tuk Gai that had recently moved into the coffeeshop situated at Blk 279 Sengkang East Avenue — we had previously visited the coffeeshop for the now-defunct Empyrosis; a western cuisine stall that used to be within the same coffeeshop. There has since been some changes with the tenancy of the stalls here; apart from Tuk Tuk Gai, we had also found a couple of new stalls here such as Da Wei Wang 大煨王 that primarily serves up minced meat noodles, as well as the new Mana Lagi — a concept by the Fattybombom Group that western cuisine, curry rice etc. which are all halal-certified. Tuk Tuk Gai is a concept by the folks behind Yaowarat Seafood — focusing on Thai fried chicken as their primary offering, the stall offers their fried chicken with either Chicken Rice, or Coconut Rice. For those who are not into fried chicken, the stall also offers Garlic Pork as an option for their rice dishes; other Thai dishes that are being served at Tuk Tuk Gai includes Basil Chicken / Pork with Rice, Tom Yum Seafood Noodles Soup, or Thai Green Curry with Rice and Egg. The ala-carte section of the menu comprises of side dishes, while the dessert section has two items listed; a Mango Glutinous Rice and the Tapioca in Coconut Milk.

We were really tempted by the Coconut Rice with Wings and hence went with it; the item being pretty wallet-friendly considering its portion at its price point at $5.90 — comes with coconut rice, sunny side-up, two full Thai fried chicken wings, shallots, Ikan Bilis and peanuts, as well as chili on the side. On first look, one could probably tell that the dish is likely inspired from the local favourite Nasi Lemak, especially considering the condiments that come together with the plate. The rice, which comes with light hue of green, is actually pretty fragrant; comes with a light aroma of Pandan and coconut milk that was fairly alluring, yet being sufficiently moist and fluffy. The sunny side-up is also decently executed; some may call it the the typical “Nasi Lemak / Economic Bee Hoon plastic egg” considering how it looks, but we were actually surprised by how the egg yolk was somewhat runny still as we poked the yolk with the fork. Moving on to the Thai fried chicken wings, we were really impressed with how these ones went — not only were they not greasy, but while despite the fried batter being on the thicker side, we liked how each bite delivered a crunch before one reaches that juicy flesh within. The wings have also been marinated with turmeric before being deep-fried; really enjoyed that slightly sweet yet savoury note of the fried chicken here which was a pleasure to have. To further elevate the texture of the chicken wings, they have also added fried shallots to the dish to up that crisp factor as well. The Ikan Bilis were also kept well — delivered the crunch without being feeling anywhere limp from being displayed for too long, whilst being just saltish enough for flavour; the chili on the side providing quite a good spicy kick whilst being sweet enough just like how Nasi Lemak chili should have been that makes it a good accompaniment to the coconut rice.

One of the biggest draw on Tuk Tuk Gai for us was the price point — really liked how all of the mains here are priced below $10; the only item that is priced above $10 being the Whole Thai Fried Chicken which costs $12.90. In terms of food quality, we found that Tuk Tuk Gai delivered; definitely enjoyed the Coconut Rice with Wings that was a great alternative to a usual plate of Nasi Lemak in terms of its composition and price point. Overall, a spot which we are definitely happy to revisit again — value-for-money, and a gem in that Sengkang residents would likely be excited to check out.

Up, down and everywhere around for food.

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