At the rate the NEA are going with the upgrading of food centres, we will soon have nothing good left to eat! Just take the venerable Tiong Bahru Market for example. Tiong Bahru used to stand tall and proud as the place to eat. Now it seems like it needs a double dose of Viagara to restore its vitality. Somehow, the upgrading of the premises usually means the tastiness of the food somehow goes downhill.
It seems that over the last few years, the NEA has been busy upgrading food centres. Of course, progress is good and new facilities mean better hygiene and working environment for Singaporeans. However, it also means that some hawkers take it as a signal to retire and returning to the new premises means higher rents and for many it may mean they have to cut corners in order to remain viable. So as a food lover, I lament whenever I hear that another hawker centre is slated to be upgraded. It’s almost like it has been passed the death sentence.
I just wish that some of the good old hawker centres can be put on the heritage list so that they can be preserved for our future generations. Just take tiny row of hawker stalls along Labrador Villa Road. It kind of reminds me of the good old hawker centre outside of the botanic gardens years ago. Serving mainly Malay and Indian Muslim food, it is probably the last of its kind in Singapore. When I look at it, I think “Wha, sure got good food”, but I am sure when the NEA officers look at it, they are thinking “Hmmm, put on upgrade list!” Perhaps the only way to preserve these places is to have them in opposition constituencies!
Anyway, ranting about it isn’t going to change its inevitable fate, so let’s talk about the food.
Damien has been telling us about this wonderful Lontong that is being made by this Mak Cik who looks like she fits right in with the antique environment. So we had to make a trip down to see just how good it really is. The stall is actually No. 5 but when we got there it had already sold out. So instead, we bought tried the lontong from the stall next door (No. 6). One thing about the food here is that it is still very cheap. We got a whole bowl of lontong with the works for $2.50. And it was actually quite good. The soup was lemak without being over jialat. 4/5. Perhaps if you manage to get down there, compare No. 5 with No. 6 and let us know.
Damien also recommended the Nasi Briyani being sold at the far end of the row of shops. We found the Chicken curry was very good, but the rice was found lacking. Maybe because of the increase in the price of rice, they reverted to poorer quality rice. Still not a bad briyani if you are having the briyani craving 3.75/5
This place really has a nice Kampung atmosphere to it. Come in the afternoon and you will see lots of people drinking Teh Tarik and eating Epok Epok. One of the last places of its kind in Singapore! If you are a part of the Y Gen, you have to visit this place at least once to experience what Singapore was really like in the good old days before it gets handed the NEA Death Warrant!
Labrador Villa Road Food Centre