Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hawker style food - Singapore

We were in Singapore for the F1 but subsidiary to super fast cars going around and around on an amazing night-time city race track, I was looking forward to delicious cheap hawker style food.

One of hawker centers we went to last time was the Maxwell Center. The beauty of this hawker center is that it's 24hrs - meaning that it is still opening when we're starving for dinner at 10pm. I also love how hawker centers can make you full whilst allowing for change from $5.

Not every store was open at this time, but there was enough for us to have a good feed. My partner opted for mixed rice noodles with fresh hand-made fish balls. It was an interesting selection for my partner as he's normally not into noodles nor fish balls - but I enjoyed it muchly :)

mixed rice noodles with hand made fishballs

I opted for congee. Though plain-looking in the photo, it was actually a preserved egg and pork congee (all the ingredients were in the bottom). The congee itself was cooked really well - smooth, dense and yum.

congee with preserved duck egg and pork

On the way to Maxwell Center, our taxi driver told us that of another awesome eating hangout - a whole strip of satay skewers at Lau Pa Sat. Walking there from Maxwell Center, we were met with smokiness in the air and lots of meats spinning round and round. However, be careful of the store owners pulling you into their stalls - hold your ground and decide which satay store you want to eat at (although they all sell roughly the same thing).

After considering our options, we went for a small meal deal of 20+ skewers - chicken, veal/lamb, and prawn. Looking around us, we could see many happy customers devouring one skewer after another. The meat was really tasty and tender and the satay sauce was really peanutty (which is awesome :P). These particular skewers were nicely peppered and slightly more chilli than your average satayed meat.

skewers at Lau Pa Sat

Much to my hubby's happiness, skewers are found pretty much everywhere in Singapore - including food courts of department stores lining Orchard Street. The one I particularly like is Takashimaya - a Japanese department store under which my hubby found delicious Jap-style skewers :)

Yakiniku at Takoshimaya food court

In the midst of F1 practice on Saturday night, we were hungry and extremely delighted to find that Glutton's Bay (another hawker store strip) was within the zones where we were permitted entry. Glutton's Bay is said to be priced a little higher than other hawker centers due to it's location and the fact that the makansutra people gathered some of the best seafood hawker people and gathered them here. But really - $10 for an awesomely yummy and huge oyster omelet with lots of fat juicy plump oysters? I'm not complaining :) Oh, and of course - sugarcane lemon juice to try and wash down the greasiness.

Oyster omelet

One of our local Singaporean friends took us to his local hideout - Beach Road Prawn Mee Eating House. It's amazing. It's pretty much an isolated hawker store in the middle of no-where in a place with no MRT and yet, tons and tons of super luxury cars are parked outside. Everyone was here to eat awesome Prawn Mee. The prawn was massive and fresh and tasty. The noodles were cooked just right and the soup base was spectacular! Bathed in prawn essence and other amazing ingredients - it was a super delicious prawn noodle soup. Our friend claimed that it was the best prawn mee in the country. We washed this down with barley water which was refreshing and nice.

Barley water
Prawn mee

Another Hawker center we visited was the one in Chinatown (not Chinatown food street which opens after 5pm, but the massive one on level one upstairs). We sampled a variety of food here - clay pot rice (which was really yum and authentically cooked for over 20 mins), these weird sweet and savoury crispy dumpling cups, and these soft steamed rice cakes with these mincey, preserved vege stuff on it. What blew us away, however, was fresh lime juice. Fresh lime juice!!! It was sour, yeh - but so so so refreshingly good :) Make sure you chose the store with heaps of limes. There's some imitations around which makes the juice more sweet than sour.

epically awesome lime juice
clay pot rice
singaporean treats

My hubby couldn't keep his eyes of the satay skewers - hence he got 5 chicken, 5 beef, and 5 lamb skewers which were all super tender, tasty and satayed. Again - super cheap :)

satay skewers

As I was doing my rounds of this huge hawker center, I noticed a massive long line. The rule is - when you see a line at a hawker center, line up. Doesn't matter if you don't know what you're lining up for, line up for it first anyway. Turns out, it was for soya sauce chicken with stir noodles. Couldn't resist and thankfully so. It was sooooo appetising! The noodles were soft but not overly so and the chicken was so smooth and tender and soysauce tasting - pretty damn amazing. Where are the stores like this in Sydney???

soy sauce chicken with noodles

I love hawker center food. Delicious. Varietied. Cheap. Make sure you choose one that looks relatively clean! They also display cleanliness ratings on their shop front (most of the time at least) so check that out :)

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