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Tastemakers Guide to Bukit Timah Market and Food Centre

Tastemakers Guide to Bukit Timah Market and Food Centre

Conveniently located beside Beauty World MRT Station is Bukit Timah Market and Food Centre, a food haven that holds countless local delights. From legendary clear fish soup to lusciously rich satay bee hoon, every dish on this list has been tried and tested by our Tastemakers to ensure you leave with a satisfied belly. Go forth and makan!
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This brightly lit corner stall sees an unending stream of customers, all eager to get their hands on the only item on the menu — White Carrot Cake (from $2). He Zhong Carrot Cake steams and handmakes their carrot cakes instead of having it mass produced in a factory. Regulars love that, and the fact that it is "generously studded with crunchy chye poh, fragrant and held together with eggy goodness", as Tastemaker Zhihui Lim puts it. Despite the incredibly crispy layer found on rival Seng Kee's carrot cake, our Tastemakers were won over by He Zhong's more flavourful version. Tastemaker Marc T. claims that it still tastes as good as he remembers from his childhood, with every bite full of texture and downright flavourful. Be sure to follow Zhihui's advice and add on the sambal chilli on the side — it packs a punch!
Avg Price: $5 per person
Photo by Burpple Tastemaker Marc T.

At the mere mention of what's good in Bukit Timah Market and Food Centre, Leng Kee Fish Soup will come to mind. They operate from 10am till 8pm, but usually sell out early, so head down during lunch to avoid disappointment! Their signature Fish Soup (from $4) is well worth the 20-minute wait. Tastemaker Vanessa Kou loves the clear broth that is "light, nourishing yet robust and bursting with flavour", and she claims that "the aromatic clear broth is one of the best I have had of late with its full-bodied sweetness"! With firm, fresh slices of Spanish mackerel (batang), and garnished with tomatoes, lettuce and silken tofu, it's the ultimate rainy day comfort food. Pro tip: If available, get the Fish Soup with Fish Roe (from $6) for added texture!
Avg Price: $5 per person
Photo by Burpple Tastemaker Justin Teo

This elusive stall is only open four times a week and closes when it runs out of ingredients. Catch it open, and you'll find yourself waiting in line for at least 15 minutes, but it's worth it. There are only two items on the menu — Satay Bee Hoon (from $4) that comes with peanut gravy, and Cuttlefish Kang Kong (from $4) that comes with a sweet sauce. Tastemaker Zhihui Lim likes how the creamy peanut sauce in the Satay Bee Hoon is more "savoury than sweet, nutty and has a good balance of spice". She recommends this to those who can't take spice too well. Tastemaker Marc T, however, finds the spice level of the satay bee hoon a little too gentle for him but he likes the use of fresh ingredients like the prawns, cuttlefish, sliced lean pork, tau pok and kang kong.
Avg Price: $5 per person
Photo by Burpple Tastemaker Zhihui Lim

Zhong Zhong Fine Spice is a self-service stall that serves ngoh hiang (wu xiang). You'll find the usual ingredients like you tiao (dough fritters), pink sausages, and ngoh hiang (from $0.80), alongside more unique offerings like a Whole Stuffed Squid ($10). Tastemaker Vanessa Kou loves the less commonly seen battered fish, as well as the chilli sauce that comes with a splash of crunchy ground toasted peanuts. She also recommends getting a side of Bee Hoon (from $1) that is "expertly fried and nicely seasoned". All the ingredients are refried to order, and according to Tastemaker Wei Zhi Chiang, are "done well without being greasy", making this stall her favourite haunt (and her father's too!).
Avg Price: $10 per person
Photo by Burpple Tastemaker Vanessa Kou

This might just be as close as you can get to having the real deal. Penang Signature only has one item on the menu — Assam Laksa ($3.50). White, slightly translucent noodles are pre-packed into takeaway containers, even if you're eating it there. Upon order, the staff gives the huge pot of broth a good stir before ladling out the lusciously rich gravy that Tastemaker Fabian Poon describes as "belacan, heh ko (prawn paste), lemongrass, assam and my favourite, mint leaves all mixed harmoniously together in a fish broth". Tastemaker Kenneth Lee loves how the "sweetish prawn paste mixes perfectly with the sour tamarind" without overpowering the other flavours. Pro tip: Request for the gravy to be stored separately from the noodles if you're going to have this taken away — it keeps the noodles from getting soft and soggy!
Avg Price: $5 per person
Photo by Burpple Tastemaker Kenneth Lee

Having served up Mutton Soup ($5) for several decades, this stall is an institution in Bukit Timah Food Market & Food Centre, and worth a visit especially on cold, dreary days. According to Burpple Tastemaker Fabian Poon, who has been patronising the stall since he was a young boy, Chin Hock uses pure Chinese herbs in the soup and licorice root for a sweet finish, unlike many places that use rock sugar. The result is a well-balanced herbal soup that's easy to drink, yet helps to tame the gaminess of the fork-tender mutton. Yum!
Avg price: $5 per person
Photo by Burpple Tastemaker Fabian Poon

Run by father-son duo, this humble, no-frills stall behind He Zhong Carrot Cake dishes out gravy ladened Hokkien Mee (from $3) on signature green or orange plates. Uncle shares that he's been in the business for 42 years, and chooses to use flat yellow noodles rather than the normal yellow noodles because he likes the way it tastes better. Rather than cooking one plate at a time, he cooks up a big order and then portions it accordingly. For Tastemaker Rachel Xie, she loves how spot on the texture of the "gloopy sauce-slicked noodles" are — making her 10 minute wait well worth it!
Avg Price: $5 per person
Photo by Burpple Tastemaker Rachel Xie

At Bukit Timah Market and Food Centre, it's a tight competition between rival stalls Fu Ji Hainanese Chicken Rice and Seng Heng Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice for the best chicken rice. Both sport long lines during peak hours and both have equally tender and tasty chicken meat. Fu Ji, however, only serves steamed chicken while Seng Heng serves both the roasted and steamed versions (a plus point for sure)(from $3). In the end, it boils down to the simplest of ingredients — the rice. According to Tastemaker Russell Leong, who ate at both stalls, Seng Heng's version is much "tastier, had less fat from the chicken within, and every grain was packed full of flavour". To tip the scales even more, Seng Heng gains bonus points for providing ginger sauce!
Avg Price: $5 per person
Photo by Burpple Tastemaker Russell Leong

When a dish is seen on almost every table in a hawker centre, you know you have to try it for yourself. Hock Le Xiang offers light bites like popiah ($1.50) and rojak, but what Burpple Tastemaker Kenneth Lee recommends is the freshly made Rojak (from $3), which is as good as he remembers it to be from his childhood. Expect crisp you tiao, cucumbers and turnips generously tossed together in a dark glossy prawn paste, along with a shower of ground peanuts on the top. It's a great midday snack or a dish to share when eating in a group!
Avg Price: $5 per person
Photo by Burpple Tastemaker Kenneth Lee

For a healthy and satisfying lunch, try the vegetarian Thunder Tea Rice ($6) from this stall in Bukit Timah Food Market and Food Centre. We hear the owner's a karaoke fan who's not at all shy about breaking out into a tune! Topped with a medley of chopped greens, peanuts, preserved radish (chye poh) and peanuts, this lei cha fan is so full of flavour, you likely wouldn't be missing the dried shrimp! Listen to Burpple Tastemaker Fabian Poon's advice to go easy on the rice, as the addition of red beans in the mix will fill you up.
Avg price: $6 per person
Photo by Burpple Tastemaker Fabian Poon

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