Hawker food celebs would queue for

Where celebs head to when they need some comfort food 

Hawker food celebs would queue for
Hawker food celebs would queue for
06 Aug 2018

Hawker food celebs would queue for

Along with shopping and queueing, eating ranks as the other national pastime of Singaporeans. But not eating just any food – eating hawker fare, and extra points if there’s a long line ‘cos this means the food is good, right? Well, celebs are no different from us. Ahead of Singapore’s 53rd birthday, we asked local artistes to share their favourite hawker food and haunts, as well as tips for how to avoid waiting in line for too long. 

Prawn noodles
Prawn noodles
06 Aug 2018

Prawn noodles

Where: Beach Road Prawn Mee Eating House

Address: 370 E Coast Rd, Singapore 428981

Celebrity fan: Xiang Yun

Xiang Yun’s love affair with prawn noodles started when she was in her 20s. She would often go around Singapore checking out new prawn noodles stalls. One of her favourites is Beach Road Prawn Mee Eating House which has since moved to her ‘hood in East Coast. And we can see why. In addition to the A+ broth – rich, umami and free refills! – the prawns are sweet and crunchy and slide off the shell easily.

“Their big prawn noodles are very popular but I still prefer the smaller prawns with the delicious broth. The stall knows how I like my prawn noodles, with less bee hoon and more vegetables, and I prefer my shallots on the side, so they will separate it for me,” said Xiang Yun. “Sometimes I crave for it when I wake up so I will go at 7am when they open to avoid the queue.”

Photo: Instagram/@xiang_yun

Fish soup
Fish soup
06 Aug 2018

Fish soup

Where: Mei Xiang Black & White Fish Soup

Address: Berseh Food Centre, 166 Jalan Besar, #02-44, Singapore 208877

Celebrity fan: Chen Liping

Mei Xiang’s black and white fish soup is perfect for those who can’t decide whether to have fried fish or fresh sliced fish soup. The stall sells their fish soup “Michael Jackson style” (mixed with both fried and fresh sliced fish) and you can’t have it any other way. Just think of them as Singapore’s answer to Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi. Despite this and other weird quirks, there’s always a line at the stall at Berseh Food Centre.

“They don’t allow you to order just one type of fish. It has to be mixed. But the fish slices are thick and fresh, and soup, which comes with cabbage and bits of fried egg, is very sweet and flavourful. I find their chilli very special too. It is fragrant and garlicky,” said Liping. “But the owners are quite eccentric. Despite serving their food in disposable containers, they do not do takeaways so I will bring my own container if I want to da bao.” You’ve been warned.

Photo: Wenqing Tan via burpple

Braised duck rice
Braised duck rice
06 Aug 2018

Braised duck rice

Where: Sean Kee Duck Rice

Address: Sin Huat Eating House, 2-4 Lorong 35 Geylang, Singapore 387936

Celebrity fan: Terence Cao

Sin Huat Eating House is infamous for its crab bee hoon, but in the day, it is the braised duck rice from Sean Kee that pulls in the crowds. The duck meat (deboned!) is tender and juicy, and slathered in a heavenly braised sauce, which is lovingly cooked 24/7 in a cauldron in their central kitchen. Gooey with an herbal taste, this is the star of the dish. If you like yam rice like Terence, you’d want to order an extra serving just to eat with it.

“I find that their duck rice is a little different from what you find out in Singapore and Malaysia. Theirs has braised peanuts, salted vegetables, tofu and tau kee. I like the thick gravy. You see bees flying all over the coffee shop because they put honey into that sauce, so it is a little bit sweet and savoury, and the homemade chilli is to the moon and back,” said Terence.

Photo: Cavinteo.blogspot.com

Rojak
Rojak
06 Aug 2018

Rojak

Where: Penang Famous Rojak

Address: Toh Guan Food and Drinks Market, 282A Toh Guan Rd, Singapore 601267

Celebrity fan: Joanne Peh

This is no ordinary rojak. Made with apple, pear, pineapple and guava, this vegetarian fruit rojak has a mix of flavours unlike any other. The secret is in the addictive sauce which is sweet and savoury with a spicy kick, and heaping amounts of chopped peanuts for an aromatic taste.

Joanne chanced upon the stall while filming Say Cheese and was hooked. “I wanted to have it every day,” she laughed, adding that the longest she’s had to queue was 30 minutes. “I used to think that rojak is quite simple and tastes the same everywhere until I had this. I can’t say exactly what is different but the uncle puts a lot of heart in it. He also toasts his you tiao which makes it really crispy.”

Chai tow kway (black)
Chai tow kway (black)
06 Aug 2018

Chai tow kway (black)

Where: Clementi Fried Carrot Cake

Address: Clementi Market & Food Centre, Block 448 Clementi Avenue 3, #01-45, Singapore 120448

Celebrity fan: Dawn Yeoh

When Dawn wants her carrot cake fix, she heads to Clementi Fried Carrot Cake, where tiny pieces of radish cake are fried with copious amounts of egg, chye poh (preserved radish) and sweet sauce till soft.

“Usually when you eat chai tow kway, you can see big chunks of radish cake but their style is small pieces, so small that it melts in your mouth. You can taste radish and chye poh, and it is very flavourful compared to your typical carrot cake,” said Dawn. But expect to wait around 45 minutes, so be sure to get there early as they usually sell out by noon.

Photo: Kar Yan Yeong via burpple

Chai tow kway (white)
Chai tow kway (white)
06 Aug 2018

Chai tow kway (white)

Where: Heng Carrot Cake

Address: Newton Food Centre, 500 Clemenceau Avenue North, #01-28, Singapore 229495

Celebrity fan: Cynthia Koh

Way before Heng Carrot Cake was awarded Michelin's Bib Gourmand, Cynthia has been a regular of the extremely popular stall. Made with handmade radish cake, their crispy carrot cake is moist and laced with wok hei. “You can tell they make their own radish cake which is very fresh and springy, and you can taste the shreds of radish,” said Cynthia. “Their chai tow kway is very fragrant and they also add prawns which bring out the flavour.”

Photo: Raine Liu via burpple

Chai tow kway (black and white)
Chai tow kway (black and white)
06 Aug 2018

Chai tow kway (black and white)

Where: Hock Kee Fried Oyster

Address: Serangoon Garden Market and Food Centre, 49A Serangoon Garden Way, #01-19, Singapore 555945

Celebrity fan: Kayly Loh

If you are fickle-minded like Kayly, try the “yuan yang” chai tow kway at Hock Kee. The black carrot cake is slightly sweet, which is a nice contrast to its crisp and savoury white counterpart. Comprising of a generous amount of egg and chye poh, every bite is an explosion of flavours and textures.

“I like that the chai tow kway is crispy on the outside and still chewy and soft on the inside. There’s a generous amount of egg and the chilli is very good too. I will eat a little bit of the black, a little bit of the white, cannot mix. I just like the best of both worlds,” beamed Kayly.

Photo: Kayly Loh

Ayam penyet
Ayam penyet
06 Aug 2018

Ayam penyet

Where: Indonesian Express

Address: Multiple locations including 517 West Coast Road, #01-569, Singapore 120517

Celebrity fan: Taufik Batisah

Why are we not surprised that towkay of fried chicken joint Chix Hot Chicken, Taufik’s favourite hawker food is ayam penyet? His current go-to place for the fried chicken dish is Indonesian Express, which serves it with an out-of-this-world curry sauce. “I don’t know how they came up with this idea of the curry sauce but it is dope! I know that’s kind of alien but it goes really well with the chicken and the batter crumbs,” said Taufik.

Photo: Phyllis Tong via burpple

Fishball noodles
Fishball noodles
06 Aug 2018

Fishball noodles

Where: Song Heng Fishball Noodles

Address: Telok Blangah Crescent Market and Food Centre, 11 Telok Blangah Cresent, #01-124 Singapore 090011

Celebrity fan: Sheila Sim

If you follow Sheila on Instagram, you will know the actress loves the fishball mee pok from Song Heng. The handmade fishballs are firm and bouncy, noodles springy, and the big pieces of crispy lard are the icing on the cake.

“It is actually a very simple dish, just noodles with five huge and very delicious fishballs. A lot of places use fishballs made with flour but this is the real deal – they use fish meat. I have been eating this since I was a child and every now and then my dad would buy this for me and lure me with it,” said Sheila.

Photo: Instagram/@sheila_sim

Bak chor mee
Bak chor mee
06 Aug 2018

Bak chor mee

Where: Parklane Teochew Mushroom Minced Meat Mee

Address: Coffee Express 2000 Food Court, 231 Bain Street, #01-79, Singapore 180231

Celebrity fan: Chua Enlai

One thing that Enlai misses when he is overseas is bak chor mee. Sometimes he satisfies his craving at the food court at Changi Airport (“it’s the nearest!”) but if he had a choice, he would have the one at Bras Basah Complex. The vinegar taste is not too sharp and QQ noodles are packed with the usual suspects of fishballs, meat balls and minced meat. But what sets this BCM apart from others is the fried cloves garlic (their chilli padi comes with chopped garlic too) that add an interesting dimension to the noodles.

“It is not famous or anything but I find it quite tasty and the noodles are springy. I tend to always eat the same thing - mee kia with extra chilli. I also help myself to the chilli padi and garlic, so don’t meet me after I’ve eaten!” laughed Enlai.

Photo: Veronica Phua via burpple

Bak chor mee
Bak chor mee
06 Aug 2018

Bak chor mee

Where: Ah Hoe Mee Pok

Address: Weng Kwang Coffeeshop, 710 Clementi West Street 2, Singapore 120710

Celebrity fan: Romeo Tan

Also a fan of BCM is Romeo, who recommends the Japanese fusion mee pok from Ah Hoe. For $6, you get a generous bowl of noodles topped with pork balls, minced meat, canned abalone slices and even tender char siew cooked Japanese style in your choice of shoyu or miso sauce.

“It tastes a bit like ramen but with bak chor mee ingredients. The noodles are cooked al dente and you can have it with soup or dry in shoyu or miso sauce. The sauce is the star. I usually go for the shoyu, which is a little sweet, and after I finish the noodles, I will slurp up all the gravy,” said Romeo.

Photo: Nicholas Chia via burpple  ​​​​​​​

Nasi lemak
Nasi lemak
06 Aug 2018

Nasi lemak

​​​​​​​Where: Thohirah Restaurant

Address: 258 Jalan Kayu, Singapore 799487

Celebrity fan: Chen Xiu Huan

Xiu Huan loves her nasi lemak and only the one at Thohirah Restaurant is worth her carbs. The restaurant uses basmati rice, which is light and fluffy, and goes perfectly with the mildly spicy chilli. A regular at the restaurant for many years, Xiu Huan says the waiters even know her standard order: nasi lemak with extra chilli and extra ikan billis.

“The first thing I go for is the chilli which is sweet and a little bit spicy. I can’t really take spicy food so this is perfect for me. The ikan billis and chicken wing are very crispy too. The portion is quite big but I will finish everything. And I feel so contented,” said Xiu Huan.

Photo: Chen Xiu Huan

Satay
Satay
06 Aug 2018

Satay

Where: BBQ Satay and Fruit Rojak

Address: 496 Jurong West Street 41, #01-82, Singapore 640496

Celebrity fan: Elvin Ng

When Elvin has a hankering for satay, he will head to BBQ Satay and Fruit Rojak for its beef, mutton, chicken and pork skewers. Well marinated and coated with honey to give it a caramelised flavour, the meat is juicy, tender and lightly charred, perfect when paired with their peanut sauce with pineapple.

“I always order 30 to 50 sticks, with a mixture of everything. They are not stingy with the meat and it isn’t too fatty, which I like, and it is coated with honey so it’s slightly sweet and crispy on the outside. I also like their sauce which has pineapple in it,” said Elvin.

But there is another reason that keeps the actor returning. “The auntie also gives me extra attention,” joked Elvin. “Sometimes she will throw in a plate of rojak or give me tissue paper. Too much love. She captures my heart so I will keep going back.”

Roast meats
Roast meats
06 Aug 2018

Roast meats

Where: Sin Heng Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice

Address: ABC Brickworks Market & Food Centre, 6 Jalan Bukit Merah, #01-37, Singapore 150006

Celebrity fan: Jeremy Chan

Apart from its chicken rice, Sin Heng Kee is also famed for its “holy trinity” of roast meats: char siew, roast meat and roast duck. The meat is perfectly roasted such that the meat is tender and has a crispy crackling, and the char siew is sweetly glazed. “The sauce is good and it is not too oily. I like all their roast meats which have the perfect meat-to-fat ratio. Plus the portion is big and it is affordable,” said Jeremy.

Photo: Songhua via Foursquare

Kway chap
Kway chap
06 Aug 2018

Kway chap

Where: To-Ricos Kway Chap

Address: Old Airport Road Food Centre, 51 Old Airport Rd, #01-135, Singapore 390051

Celebrity fan: Kimberly Wang

Kimberly is a hardcore fan of the kway chap at To-Ricos, which is known for their traditional and tasty take of the Teochew dish. The pork innards, smell-free and beautifully braised in flavourful gravy, go perfectly with the silky kway. And they have a pretty good selection of ingredients here, including pig’s stomach, trotters and rectum.

“I order everything and then add the pig skin and salted vegetable. I won’t go anywhere else for kway chap because it is a bit pointless. But the queues are always long so I usually go around 10.30am when they are about to open, otherwise the queue will never end or you risk the food running out completely,” advised Kim.

Photo: Dex Neo via burpple  

Curry Rice
Curry Rice
06 Aug 2018

Curry Rice

Where: Encik Tan

Address: Multiple locations including Star Vista, 1 Vista Exchange Green, #01-20/21, Singapore 138617

Celebrity fan: Jayley Woo

“The bomb” is how Jayley would describe the curry rice at Encik Tan’s, which is run by the Fei Siong group. You can have your curry rice with chicken cutlet, drumstick, fried fish or sambal sotong, which come served on an old-school porcelain plate that makes the food taste better, said Jayley.

“The curry is so good!” she squealed. “Some curries can be quite watery but this one is thick and not starchy, and is a little sweet, savoury, with a bit of spice. I personally love fish so I always get the fish set. The [batang] fish is fried so it is crunchy on the outside and hot on the inside. I will ask for more cabbage and curry and polish up everything."

Photo: Moshimoshi Tan via burpple

Hainanese chicken rice
Hainanese chicken rice
06 Aug 2018

Hainanese chicken rice

 Where: Pin Xiang Hainanese Chicken Rice and AFE Delights Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice

Celebrity fans: Joel Choo and Hong Ling

A list on hawker food wouldn’t be complete without Singapore’s national dish Hainanese chicken rice. At the top of Joel Choo’s list is the succulent and tantalising poached white chicken from Pin Xiang at Bedok Interchange Hawker Centre (they know him as the guy who orders half a chicken), while Hong Ling recommends the one from AFE Delights in Woodlands, which is cheap and “restaurant standard”.

“I don’t usually eat chicken rice because the chicken can be quite tough but the one here is restaurant standard and the rice is very fragrant too. I usually order the ji wei (bottom part of the chicken) as it is juicer and tender, along with chicken feet and offal,” said Hong Ling. 

Pin Xiang is located at Bedok Interchange Hawker Centre, 208B New Upper Changi Rd, #01-03, Singapore 462208. AFE Delights is at 304 Woodlands Street 31, #01-125, Singapore 730304.

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