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Tastemakers Guide To Seah Im Food Centre

Tastemakers Guide To Seah Im Food Centre

This month, our Burpple Tastemakers bring their insatiable appetites southwards to Seah Im Food Centre. Once a hangout for weekend Sentosa-goers, this foodie gem near HarbourFront Bus Interchange lost quite a bit of attention when Sentosa started its train services. That's not to say that it's lost its appeal — the place is still packed to the brim most days, especially during weekday lunch hours. As our Tastemakers soon realised, Seah Im is quite the treasure trove for budget-friendly eats, with many choice picks averaging at $3 a plate. From uber addictive ayam penyet to after 4:30pm curry puffs (yes, it's a thing!) and a stellar braised duck rice, there's plenty to fill up on here.
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Eat 3 Bowls makes it incredibly easy to eat three bowls of their Taiwanese street food offerings, from the Salted Crispy Chicken ($4) to their Intestine Mee Sua ($3.50). Whether you’re into innards or not, try the latter. Even Tastemaker Xing Wei Chua, who usually doesn’t enjoy innards, found the combination of slippery mee sua in thick gravy and crunchy fried innards to be irresistible. The Tastemakers’ consensus of a top dish here is the delicious Braised Pork Rice ($2.50). Describing the rice as "very moist and fragrant with gravy", Tastemaker Peiwen vouches for its authentic flavour that matches up to the ones she's had in Taiwan.
Avg Price: $5 per person
Photo by Burpple Tastemaker Xing Wei Chua

The perpetual crowd spotted at this Muslim-owned stall is proof of its prowess, found in a killer plate of Ayam Penyet ($3.50). Here's why you should join the queue for it: scrumptious flavoured rice piled on with a golden deep-fried chicken leg, smothered in red hot sambal. Tastemaker Amanda Liu warns of the sambal’s fiery, sweat-inducing effects, so consider asking for it on the side instead. Besides the winning qualities of that aromatic rice and juicy, crispy-skinned chicken, the free-flow crunchy batter crumbs are what seal the deal and make up the "uber addictive element", as Tastemaker Julius Lim puts it.
Avg Price: $5 per person.
Photo by Burpple Tastemaker Julius Lim

The Tastemakers made their way to many stalls at Seah Im, but it is at this one they found their unanimous favourite, the Braised Duck Rice ($2.80). Unlike most, Cai Ji’s rendition manages to retain moistness so that the boneless duck is always tender. Similarly well done are the optional add-ons of innards like braised tofu, gizzards and the highly recommended pig’s ears — Tastemaker Jonathan Wong likes that they’re cooked perfectly soft, yet had enough bite in them to thoroughly satisfy. Follow Tastemaker Jason Wong’s lead and swap your regular rice out for yam rice, which he describes to be “fragrant, toothsome and peppered with tiny cubes of yam”.
Avg Price: $5 per person
Photo by Burpple Tastemaker Jonathan Wong

At this Malay stall, the real magic happens after 4:30pm (that's not to say their Malay rice isn't good — it is!). This time is when the friendly aunties begin frying up Curry Puffs ($1) — golden parcels carefully stuffed and then deep-fried to golden brown. These win points for their fragrant crust and hearty fillings. Tastemaker Miss Ha describes the puff to be bigger than her palm, and praises both the potato and sardine fillings for their robust flavours. She adds that the sweet-spicy sardine puffs reminded her of chilli crabs. Yum!
Avg Price: $5 per person
Photo by Burpple Tastemaker Miss Ha

This curry rice stall takes the route of a lighter curry gravy, which isn't always preferred when it comes to the indulgent Hainanese stalwart. But as Tastemaker Ice Blossom discovered, the dish that draws the crowd is actually the Assam Fish ($3.50 with curry rice), mackerel fillet in zesty assam gravy. She deems the sizeable slab they serve to be "fresh and sweet, with a great firm succulent texture.", so it's no wonder this is one of their top sellers. To keep it from getting muddled up with curry sauce, the fish is typically served in a separate dish.
Avg Price: $5 per person
Photo by Burpple Tastemaker Ice Blossom

If you've ever wondered what the lunchtime crowds at this stall are queing for, this is it — Farasha's Nasi Goreng Ayam ($5.50). The big and meaty fried chicken drumstick sports what Tastemaker Jason Wong describes to be "crackling crispy skin", and is served atop a pillow of fragrant fried rice. If you're not too worried about breaking a sweat, ladle on the fiery sambal pedas chilli on the side — spicy but so addictive. This is hearty eating at its finest, and well worth the queue. Alternatively, take Tastemaker Jason's cue and swing by for dinner, when the waiting time is a lot more manageable.
Avg Price: $5 per person
Photo by Burpple Tastemaker Jason Wong

As our Tastemakers soon realised, Seah Im Food Centre is full of budget-friendly gems. Take for instance this bowl of Braised Duck Kway Teow Noodles Soup ($3). Tastemaker Ice Blossom was blown away by the generous portion of tender duck meat topping the noodles, which come bathed in a comforting, herbal broth. This makes for an incredibly warming meal on cool, rainy days. You might want to take her lead and stir in some chilli for a bit of a kick! They also serve a pretty decent bowl of Lor Mee ($3), topped generously with a variety of ingredients that Tastemaker Casey Tan says often feature only as add-ons in other stalls.
Avg Price: $5 per person
Photo by Burpple Tastemaker Ice Blossom

This stall is known for its Hokkien mee, but that received mixed reviews among the Tastemakers. Instead, it's the Oyster Omelette ($3) that was more memorable for them. Tastemaker Ice Blossom loves how the oysters were sufficiently plump and juicy, as well as the lightly crisp yet wobbly texture of the starch and egg batter. The accompanying chilli is a tad sweet, yet spicy and aromatic. Moreover, it's a steal at $3 — perfect for end-month budgets, as Tastemaker Julius Lim so rightly says!
Avg Price: $5 per person
Photo by Burpple Tastemaker Julius Lim

Matched up against many meaty competitors, Hong Yi holds its own with a solid variety of quality Chinese vegetarian. Their fried beehoon may be the more popular pick, but Tastemaker Jason Wong advises going for a base of rice to better soak up the mildly spicy curry sauce that comes with their coconut-fragrant curry vegetables. A plate of rice or noodles with two to three dishes will come up to a $3 estimate, and choices run from your usual greens to fluffy tofu puffs and a myriad of mock meats — even mock ikan bilis that will do great for extra crunch. Be sure to also take Tastemaker Miss Ha’s tip and scour the spread for crispy mock goose meat (deep-fried beancurd skin)!
Avg Price: $5 per person
Photo by Burpple Tastemaker Jason Wong

Despite the stall name, it's the Carrot Cake (from $2.50) that our Burpple Tastemakers are raving about. If you like your chai tow kway chunky and saucy, then this might just be the one for you. Burpple Tastemaker Amanda Liu loves how the carrot cake is cut into larger, chunky pieces, which gave her the luxury of choice for eating whole and cutting into smaller pieces on her own. On top of that, the sweet black sauce is well balanced, and the hawker is generous on both the pickled radish and eggs, making this one of her top choices for a hearty breakfast or a lighter lunch.
Avg Price: $5 per person
Photo by Burpple Tastemaker Amanda Liu

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