My quest for the origins of Singapore hawker dishes has brought me to this BBQ seafood stall at Yuhua Village Food Centre where I met the lady who claimed to be one of the first hawkers to serve BBQ Stingray in Singapore!
The couple behind Si Yang Steam Soup have been diligently serving their steam soup since 1982 and had built quite a good business at Ang Mo Kio Blk 728 before the coffeeshop was sold and they had to move to their present location. Since then, their business has dropped by so much that they are considering retirement!
The first thing that strikes you about the lapis is how many layers there are. Then as you peel the layers, just how stretchy they are. Then when you eat them, how chewy and yummy they are. The guys were having fun peeling off each layer, then twirling each layer around the finger before popping the whole finger into the mouth!
Soon Heng Hot and Cold Desserts: Hawkers we grow up with
I get a lot of different reactions whenever I pull out my DSLR camera. Some hawkers ask why I am taking photos. Others continue to work as if I wasn't there. But when Mrs Yang saw my camera, she quickly struck up her kawaii pose!
Liang Zhao Ji has been around since the 1960's and started off as a roadside stall outside of the Hoover theatre in Balestier. The stall moved to its current location at the Whampoa Drive Food Centre in 1978 as part of the government's initiative to clear the hawkers off the streets.
The Original Katong Laksa: It really is the Original!
We are living in the days of fake news, fake food, fake brands and fake accolades. I don't know about you, but it really irks me when new restaurants pop up claiming to trace their lineage back to the 60s or to be the original one from Tiong Bahru or Toa Payoh or Queenstown. But if you try to dig a little deeper, you hit bottom pretty soon, because the claims turn out to be as shallow as the soup in a fine dining establishment.
I have been a fan of Wah Kee since the earliest days of the blog. In those days, I was quite crazy and would identify all of Singapore's most famous prawn mee stalls and go blog about them. I was on a quest for the best and after the first round of tasting in 2007, I already felt that Wah Kee was the winner.
Legendary Bak Kut Teh: The future is bright for BKT!
In recent years there has been a spate of new Bak Kut Teh restaurants opening up. We can probably attribute this trend to the success of Song Fa Bak Kut Teh which managed to strike upon the right formula in translating the traditional dish for a new generation of Singaporeans.
Ye Shang Hai Teochew Porridge: Taxi Driver’s Haunt
This Teochew Ah Hia is your typical “hao lian bah“. The saying goes that Teochews are “hao lian” (like to brag), Hokkiens are “dua bian” (big cons). If you don’t believe it, just pop by Ye Shang Hai and talk to the boss! But the good thing about being “hao lian” is that they make extra effort to make the food good so that they have something to be “hao lian” about.
This is one of the few stalls I know who still insists on using pork lard to fry the oyster omelette. Their typical plate of oyster omelette is 70% crispy and 30% gooey which is a very nice combination of textures. For those who have dentures, you can also request for them not to fry it too crispy, so that you can still gum the the gooey bits.
Ye Lai Xiang Tasty Barbeque: Classic Hainanese Western Food!
You can find all sorts of authentic Italian, French and American cuisine in Singapore nowadays but back in the 70's when I was growing up, western food meant Hainanese chicken and pork chop and steaks served on sizzling hot plates.