Guide to Amoy Street FC – 40 food stalls reviewed [Updated 2022]
Guide to Amoy Street FC – 40 food stalls reviewed [Updated 2022]
Guide to Amoy Street FC – 40 food stalls reviewed [Updated 2022]
Located at Singapore's central, Amoy Street Food Centre is one of the busiest and most popular food centres in the country. Its proximity to the CBD means that on weekday afternoons, especially during the lunch hours, the duplex is stuffed to the gills with hungry office workers. Built in 1983, the building houses over 200 stalls selling a wide array of cuisine ranging from traditional local favourites, to trendy grain bowls, to regional delights. Not many stalls are open past the afternoon, and even fewer on the weekends, so you'll need to time your visit well to avoid any disappointment.
#02-126 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Mon - Fri: 11am-3pm, Sat: 11am-2pm, Closed on Sun
Kinobe was founded by Hive Brothers & Co in 2018 and specialises in Japanese-style donburi. Even amidst the several rice bowl stalls at Amoy Street Food Centre, Kinobe stands out with its simple, but eye-catching signage with a Japanese crane. Although their signature dish is the classic gyudon, or beef bowl, I just couldn't resist the more indulgent wagyudon ($11). It's just $4 more, I reasoned to myself.
Within minutes, I had my rustic-style cardboard bowl of beefy goodness, accompanied with the requisite miso soup. I was slightly surprised it wasn't as Instagram-ready as I thought, but a tasty lunch was more important, which it was. The presentation might be no-frills, but the flame-grilled wagyu beef was impressive - perfectly tender and flavourful.
That said, I might ask for the beef to be done slightly rarer to really savour the marbling. The oozing onsen egg was well executed, if just a touch too runny (is there such a thing?). The whole thing was topped with quite a bit of shredded seaweed, and a sprinkling of chilli powder, and came with a healthy portion (some say too much) of white rice.
Not a fan of beef? The hipster-leaning joint also has salmon don, butadon (flame-grilled pork), smoked duck don etc, which you can modify with Truffle or Mentaiko options. Will be back soon to try those too.
James' Quesadilla & Brunch
#02-79 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Mon - Fri: 7am-4pm, 5pm-7pm, Closed on Sat & Sun
Well, one thing I didn't expect to find at a hawker centre was Mexican or Mexican-inspired food, but chef James Leok decided to open up one at Amoy Street Food Centre precisely because he saw a gap in the market. The menu is fairly substantial too, approximately 30 or so dishes including quesadillas, burritos, and Mexican rice and salad bowls.
Since the signature item is clearly quesadilla, we got a pulled beef one ($7) to try, and then a grilled dill salmon bowl too. According to James, his homemade recipe for tomato salsa is fairly unique, because as far as he knows, most eateries would use a diced salsa mix whereas he opts for tomato purée instead.
The difference it made was immediately apparent in the salmon rice bowl, as it adhered better as a condiment than chunkier diced tomato would. Underneath the flavourful, piquant salsa, the salmon rice bowl ($9) didn't disappoint either. It was moist and flaky with a nice seared colouring. Mixed with black beans, fresh corn and purple cabbage, it's an all-around delicious and healthy lunch.
The pulled beef burrito was also very well-received. You could taste how flavourful and tender the beef was. A testament to James' mastery of his cooking is how the flavours of the salsa complemented instead of overwhelmed the meat. Sandwiched between the layers of crisp tortilla, it's definitely a great breakfast or brunch item.
New Hong Kong Congee
#01-04 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Mon - Fri: 11.30am-9pm, Closed on Sat & Sun
It might say New Hong Kong Congee on the signboard, but proprietress Madam Susan Wong also has an array of steamboat and fish soup on top of the already impressive 19-congee menu. As the name implies, she does Hong Kong-style porridge, one of the most heartwarming comfort foods in Asia.
Hong Kong or Cantonese-style congee is thicker and creamier in texture; you're less likely to see individual grains due to the long hours it's been simmering on the stove. Too many options can often make it harder to choose, so I decided to go with one of their signatures: the mixed pig's giblet congee ($4). It consisted of pig's liver, lean pork and small intestines, and she topped it with generous heapings of fried shallots, spring onions and you tiao, but you can also opt out if you're watching your calories.
Well-prepared innards should be scrupulously clean and cooked just right, or they tend to smell or become overly chewy and tough. I'm happy to report that Madam Wong's years of experience means that she knows exactly how to handle the ingredients - each of them were excellent. The liver was still a pleasant rosy pink, instead of dull and grey, and the intestines had a nice peppery flavour, very smooth and bouncy. Pity there were only two or three small pieces in my serving, much less than the liver.
Hong Kee Beef Noodle
#01-42 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Mon - Fri: 11am-7.30pm, Sat & Sun: 9am-2.30pm
Regulars at Amoy Street Food Centre will know that it's nigh impossible to get a table at lunchtime, so the empty seat in front of Hong Kee Beef Noodle was like a sign. Hong Kee is a bona fide heritage stall with over 60 years in the business so expectations were quite high. I was impressed by Uncle's friendly service as he took my order, immediately beckoning me to have a seat, saying he'll bring my order to me. Table service at a hawker centre - wow!
I was further impressed when my bowl of noodles ($6) arrived. Pink beef slices floating gently in a clear broth that had been on the stove for 24 hours, looking enticingly tender. For the full experience, I added on some innards ($2) too. The tripe was spongy and clean-tasting, great textural contrast with the meat.
The brisket was so tender, it was almost falling apart. I also had a couple of beef balls, which were light and bouncy, with a nice sweetness. The broth was incredibly well-balanced, flavourful without being overpowering. Spice lovers will really appreciate the chilli too. Equally fiery and fragrant, the chilli sauce had quite a kick to it, and went beautifully with the beef.
J2 Crispy Curry Puff
#01-21 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Mon - Sat: 8am-4pm, Closed on Sun
J2 Famous Crispy Curry Puff is run by husband and wife Mr and Mrs Lee, who make the enticing golden brown pastries by hand every day. The curry puffs are available in four flavours, but the yam is either only available in very limited quantities, or immensely popular because it was sold out by the time I got there at around 11am. Stacked in neat little rows in the display case, it's quite clear that the puffs were made with deft hands; you could see the individual folds, but not a flake out of place. I bought one of each of the remaining three flavours - curry chicken, black pepper and sardine.
Even as I was biting into my first one, I was already impressed with how well-made the crust was - sturdy enough to hold its substantial fillings, yet light enough that it yields without any effort. It can get quite messy though; each puff is so flaky that every bite triggers an "explosion" of flakes and crumbs. Buttery, and yet not greasy, it's a great vehicle for the fragrant curry chicken and potatoes within.
At $1.60, the black pepper chicken puff is the priciest, and also packs the most flavour. The black pepper sauce has a nice lasting warmth that's quite mellow and rounded, and there are bits of onion (I think) to give it some sweetness. I'm not usually a fan of sardine puffs, but this one surprised me with its light spice and unexpectedly meaty fillings. Apparently, Mr Lee takes pains to select larger, fleshier sardines specifically for a firmer bite. Still, the classic curry puff remains my personal favourite, which I can honestly say is one of the best I've had. That Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand certification is truly well-deserved.
Lagoon in a Bowl
#01-48 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Mon - Sat: 11am-3pm
Hawkerpreneur Zilch Ng's Lagoon In A Bowl is undeniably trend-savvy; his butterfly pea blue grain bowl topped with colourful ingredients seems tailor-made for the Instagram-foodie crowd. A perfectly sous vide Norwegian salmon in a "lagoon" of blue Calrose rice - clever, and quite tasty. Launched in 2018 with a single aforementioned salmon bowl on the menu, it has now expanded to include wagyu beef, perhaps because Gyu Nami (owned by friend and beef bowl predecessor Daniel) has sinced move to Orchard Road.
I kinda expected the salmon to be good - it takes considerable effort to mess up sous vide - but I was curious about the wagyu beef, so I ordered the 2-in-1 Surf & Turf ($16). It came in a substantial brown cardboard bowl, with fresh corn, cherry tomatoes and cucumber slices topped with sesame dressing, and a perfectly cooked onsen egg.
As expected, the salmon was the best part of the meal, beautifully pink, flaky and moist - hallmarks of the sous vide method. The generously slathered on mentaiko mayonnaise added a nice creaminess and flavour. The wagyu beef, on the other hand, was a disappointment. The doneness was nicely controlled; the middle was a rosy, juicy pink, which I suspect was because of sous vide. Taste-wise though, it was dismally bland, probably because it lacked the Maillard reaction flavours that come from searing the meat. The black pepper crust might be an attempt to add some flavour, but it was underwhelming and didn't marry well with another slathering of mentaiko mayonnaise on top. Considering this was wagyu, which is prized for its flavourful, fatty marbled meat, it's even more of a let-down.
Sap Thai Food
#01-58 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Mon - Fri: 11am-8.30pm, Closed on Sat & Sun
I was quite looking forward to a lunch of authentic Thai food at Amoy Street Food Centre, and Sap Thai Food came highly recommended by more than one food blog, so I decided to stop and peruse the menu. The one dish that leapt out at me was also the same that kept coming up on all those blogs - Thai basil chicken ($5), but with noodles instead of rice! Intrigued, I ordered that plus some green curry chicken, both of which had thumbs up signs on the menu.
Made with Mama instant noodles like a Thai-version "Maggi goreng", the dry-style noodles were available in different levels of spiciness. I like spice better than I can handle it, so I opted for the spiciest, which I was surprised (and slightly disappointed) that it was very manageable. Sure, there was quite a fiery burn, but that very quickly dissipated on its own. There was also a lot more dark sauce than expected; the rice equivalent I was used to was usually dryer. Ultimately, as tasty as it started out as, it quickly became quite monotonous, and I found myself growing bored halfway through, despite a generous heaping of red chillies and basil.
The green curry ($5.50) didn't fare much better, unfortunately, and while relatively well-prepared, was quite staid, offering only a gentle warmth and light fragrance. The Thai basil and kaffir lime leaves gave it a nice refreshing lift, and the green beans seemed to be just blanched to keep its nice green sharpness and crunch, but I did miss having a bite or two of the Thai eggplant that I usually get in these curries. The chicken was lean and decently portioned, but rather unremarkable otherwise.
Mama's Boy Mac & Cheese
#02-87 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Mon - Fri: 11am-3pm, Closed on Sat & Sun
You don't often find macaroni and cheese at a hawker centre, let alone one this good. Mama's Boy Bakes, though it says Mama's Boy Mac & Cheese its signboard, is a Muslim-owned business that started life as a home-based kitchen. Soon, they became so successful they decided a physical stall at Amoy Street Food Market was the next logical step, opening one in July 2019.
You'll spot the stall easily enough; just look for the smiling mascot in a chef's hat in neon orange. Besides their classic mac & cheese, which features their signature cheese blend, there are other fusion-style flavours, like the Korean-inspired gochujang cheese blend that I ordered ($9.50). Crispy chicken tenders slathered with a treacly sweet and spicy sauce, on a bed of macaroni - it looked to me like quite a rich, heavy meal.
Baked chicken, especially chicken breast, can get quite dry, but this chicken was more tender than expected. It's served with some kimchi on the side, which helps cut through the dense, creamy richness. Honestly, I was half-expecting to get sick of the cheesiness midway, but it was surprisingly moreish, and I found myself digging my spoon in again and again. I'd be interested to sample the truffle mac & cheese, which is more classic, and comes with sauteed mushrooms and truffle oil.
They also make small bites in the form of "bombshells" - doughnut balls filled with both sweet and savoury options.
Chop Chop Biryani & Meats
#02-101 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Mon - Fri: 11am-3pm, Closed on Sat & Sun
Singapore's first pork biryani, or so claimed owner Gino Goh when he launched his Chinese-Indian fusion stall Chop Chop Biryani & Meat in 2017. The former chef first cooked up the controversial idea of combining siew yoke with biryani when he spied the two dishes together, and thought "why not?". Unexpected food combinations are always exciting, and our local food scene grows richer and more diverse each time a new idea takes root.
The pork masala I ordered was fall-off-the-bone tender and quite flavourful, as you'd expect of something that's been slow-cooked for 12 hours in tomatoes and spices. The cartilage barely needed any chewing; the smaller pieces almost melting in the mouth. The lukewarm cabbage was also decent, adding a spiced sweetness and crunch to the meal. The basmati rice, I thought, was a decent base to it all, perhaps a little lighter in taste that some might be used to, but still fragrant enough. Oh, and there was also a slightly molten hard-boiled egg. I think it's worth noting that the food was served in a compostable BioPak made of sugar cane fibre, and they also offer a BYO container discount, but the plastic disposable cutlery was less great.
It was my first time at Chop Chop, so I wasn't sure why there wasn't a menu or at least, labels for the dishes, because I had no clue what I was looking at. Don't look to the auntie behind the counter for guidance either; she could barely tell me (nor the customer after me) what was on offer today. Yet somehow, she divined that I wanted a bento set ($6.50), never mind the fact that I didn't ask for one - I just wanted the bowl. Regardless. Just two extra sides… it's fine. But wait, I realise, as I'm writing this, looking at the photo I'd taken of the stall front. A bento came with a base, a meat, two sides, and a pappadum, which I didn't get!
Koryori Hayashi [CLOSED]
#01-11 Amoy Street Food Centre
In lieu of the standard plastic signboard most hawkers use, Koryori Hayashi features a Japanese-style Noren, the curtain-like hanging in the front of the stall. The simple but evocative adornment sets the tone for the food - homey and comforting. They specialise in affordable Japanese fare like udon and donburi, all of which are under $10. Their mentaiko pasta, an interesting outlier on their menu, is a blogger-favourite.
I was craving good old-fashioned comfort food, so of course I had to go for a bowl of oyako don ($6.50). Chicken, sweet onion, and egg on warm fluffy rice, what could be better? Topped with Japanese chilli pepper powder and spring onions, it's both nourishing and heartwarming. The chicken was tender, the egg fluffy, and the onion soft and sweet. The addition of mushrooms was a welcome one, giving the dish umami and texture. The rice, however, was slightly wet and sogged, instead of light and airy like I'd expect. Not really a big deal for me, but might not be ideal for some people. If you'd rather have something else, there are more than 10 different options on their menu, which is quite impressive for such a small kitchen. All in all, Koryori Hayashi is a good option for homemade-style Japanese lunch that won't break the bank.
#02-104 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Mon - Fri: 10.30am-3.30pm, Closed on Sat & Sun
You might find Vietnamese food at food courts these days, but they're still a relative rarity at hawker centres. Pho Hanoi might be the only one you'll find at Amoy Street Food Centre, based on my very unscientific tally. They don't have much of a web presence, except for an infrequently updated Facebook page, so I decided to try them out myself. Their "signature" - the beef brisket pho ($5.50) - seemed quite a safe choice, but I might also return to try their quite intriguing smoked duck and pork kway teow.
The broth is the first thing I try in a pho, and while Pho Hanoi's version was quite tasty, it just lacked a little depth and dimension. Still, the flavours were good, light and clear as you'd want in a pho, savoury but finished with slight tartness. Greens are essential to a good pho; you want the sharp bite of the scallions, basil and cilantro to cut through the richness of the beef. One thing I would've liked, but didn't see in the toppings was lime, which would have added a different piquancy to the meal. Onions and beansprouts gave the pho crunch and texture, but I was most impressed with the brisket. Sliced almost paper-thin (really impressively thin), each piece was velvety soft, and almost needed no chewing. There was also a nice amount of fat on a number of slices, which was very appreciated.
By no means will this satiate a serious pho-lover but I have to say it's a pretty decent rendition, and at a fraction of the price you'd pay at a noodle bar or restaurant.
Ah Ter Teochew Fishball Noodle
#01-14 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Mon - Fri: 7am-4pm, Closed on Sat & Sun
Scores of certificates and awards line the front of this heritage hawker stall, which has been serving up traditional Teochew fishball noodles since 1958. For OLs though, the Michelin-recommended food isn't the only draw; I'm told they also queue for a glimpse of the dashing third-generation hawker-owner Gilbert Lim. Even though he wasn't around today, the queue was still fairly substantial, and it took a while to get lunch.
The wait was worth it, however. The bowl of noodles ($4) was satisfyingly flavourful - springy mee pok strands just starting to sog in its delicious sauce, topped with fishballs, fishcake, braised mushrooms, pork, cabbage and spring onions. Each of the items were masterfully executed - nothing was overcooked or mushy or overpowering.
My favourite was definitely the delicately made fishballs, which yielded under the lightest bite, coating the mouth with fresh, sweet-tasting fish. A couple of still-crunchy pork lard bits added a bit of decadence.
Even the enticingly cloudy side soup showed the thought and care that went into the food. Not bland at all, it was light enough to be refreshing between bites of noodles, but had enough flavour to stand on its own.
Spice & Rice
#01-15 Amoy Street Food Centre
Spice & Rice (and everything nice) is actually very nice indeed. Started by new-generation hawkers who want Singaporeans to "rediscover the classics", the nasi lemak-hawking stall is focused on traditional, old-school flavours made with premium ingredients. Their signature - the classic nasi lemak fried chicken - is made with a blend of 16 different ingredients.
While most of their four-item menu looked mouthwatering, I had to try the classic. At $7.50, it's a smidge pricier than most nasi lemaks, but the quality of the ingredients really speak for themselves. Starting with the basmati rice, which is light and fragrant, and somewhat moist; you see the light coconut milk glistening on every grain. All the requisite accoutrements are present - fried egg, ikan bilis, cucumber slices, but my favourite is the fragrant sambal chilli. Chunkier than I'm used to, and quite sweet, but still with quite some kick to it. But the star of the show - the fried chicken - steals it.
They might seem quite nondescript, but appearances turned out to be fairly deceiving. The chicken was crispy on the outside, but still juicy and tender inside. Very aromatic, from the different spices that's used to marinade the meat overnight. Simple but delicious. Interestingly, they also offer a vegetarian option using tempeh and okra.
Rayyan’s Waroeng Upnormal
#02-86 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Mon - Fri: 10am-3pm, Closed on Sat & Sun
Launched in 2014, this stall specialises in the aforementioned dish as well as other halal fusion dishes.
Run by him and his wife, both widely-travelled former flight attendants, the menu takes inspiration from across the globe including a Balinese-style donburi. But since the ayam penyet seemed to be their best-known signature, I knew I had to get one. Alas, the "normal" sized ones were sold out when I got there, so I "upsized" to the Jumbo version ($6) instead.
Even without the former for comparison, the chicken did look quite hefty. I was impressed by how golden brown and crispy it looked, less so by the side salad that's kind of just there. The meat was everything you'd want in an ayam penyet - crispy on the outside but moist and tender on the inside. You get the sweetness from the black sauce and orange bits of coconut (?), and a fiery heat from their homemade sambal, which goes really well with the chicken. Even the rice, which sometimes can be an afterthought, was fluffy and well-cooked. But I'd trade that salad in for just a couple of undressed cucumber and tomato slices, and maybe a nice piece of tempeh.
A Noodle Story
#01-39 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Mon - Fri: 11.30am-2pm, 5.30pm-7pm, Sat: 11am-1.15pm, Closed on Sun
A Noodle Story is one of Amoy Street Food Centre's most famous and beloved stalls; there's a guaranteed line for their unique "Singaporean ramen" every lunchtime. So, thanks to a tip from a loyal customer, I decided to swing by when they reopened in the evening instead, and voila, almost no queue. The noodle shop is loaded with pedigree - owners Gwern Khoo and Ben Tham formerly trained in fine dining establishments like Jaan, Iggy's and Waku Ghin. No wonder their joint has received a Michelin Bib Gourmand certification.
Some people might think of their fare as overpriced wanton mee. I mean, a bowl starts at $9! But then again, they're not exactly serving run-off-the-mill food either. My "small" Singapore-style ramen bowl ($9) came with 2 big slabs of tender Japanese-style chashu pork, fragrant and meaty. A still-runny onsen egg is de rigueur, of course, and Noodle Story's has a rich, almost orange yolk, and was very well-marinated.
The potato-wrapped prawn, I enjoyed more in concept than in reality. The potato strands around the prawn did give it a good crisp texture, and ostensibly kept it from overcooking, but it does pale slightly in comparison to the fresh, bouncy wantons. One thing that surprised me most was the noodles themselves, which were thinner than usual wanton noodles. They had a nice al dente chew, and didn't get soggy, even towards the end of the meal. Topped with finely sliced spring onions and red pepper, and a splat of chilli sauce, it's a dish well worth the calories
Lin Da Ma Lei Cha
#02-127 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Mon - Fri: 10am-2.30pm, Closed on Sat & Sun
Hakka thunder tea rice, or lei cha, has been enjoying a wave of popularity in recent years, inspiring younger hawkers to come up with their own versions of the healthy grain bowl. Lin Da Ma Lei Cha similarly has its own recipes, but also a dish I'd not heard of before - lei cha noodles. I also really appreciate that their bilingual menu is clear and concise, making it a cinch for even the uninitiated to order from. If only more hawkers would do the same…
There are both white and brown rice options, and you can add on meatballs, minced meat tofu or lava eggs for more protein. Taste-wise, it's a fairly classic, traditional thunder tea rice. What I really like is that it's very well-balanced, not too bland like some are. The different types of vegetables mixed with beancurd and peanuts give it a nice blend of textures and flavours.
A light drizzle of oil gave it a much-needed unctuousness without making it too greasy. The soup itself was also really nicely balanced, not too astringent, with a hint of creaminess possibly from ground peanuts.
I was pleasantly surprised by the lei cha noodles ($4), which were served cold. Covered in "Chinese pesto" and served with shredded cucumber and a lava egg, it's a nice refreshing meal for a hot afternoon, light enough that it won't induce a food coma.
Fried Kway Teow
#01-01 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Mon - Sat: 9.30am-2.30pm, Closed on Sun
Despite being "unbranded", Fried Kway Teow enjoys fairly brisk business, especially during lunchtime, thanks in no small part to its prime placement at the entrance of Amoy Street Food Centre. Queues are not an uncommon sight, but they generally move quickly. I ordered a small plate, which was surprisingly generous with ingredients considering the $3 price tag.
Quite a fair amount of fishcake, which were sweet and bouncy, egg and bean sprouts. I could taste some smokiness that comes from a searing hot wok, but diners who specifically seek out wok hei will find it slightly lacking here. The sauce was more sweet than savoury as well; a touch too sweet for me. Maybe because I got the small serving, but I didn't get any Chinese sausage, nor pork lard bits. They weren't really noticeable omissions for me though; I was busy being impressed by the size of the cockles.
Frankly, I was expecting small, slightly shrivelled cockles I typically get, but these were quite sizeable and plump. They tasted quite fresh, with a distinctive minerally sharpness. Overall, a decent plate of char kway teow just a few notches above average. Don't expect warm service here though, the auntie has no time to waste on niceties.
Min Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice
#02-94 Amoy Street Food Centre
Min Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice is a bit of a hidden gem that even regulars aren't familiar with. Formerly from the now-defunct Blanco Court, it is now tucked away on the 2nd floor of Amoy Street Food Centre. Second-generation owner Johnny has been a hawker for about 30 years, and his experience shows in the skillful preparation of his chicken rice.
Unlike most stalls, Min Kee's food is served up in a dinged up metallic tray - very old school. I've an untested theory that boneless chicken rice is generally of a higher quality because of the implied care that goes into the preparation. Min Kee's poached chicken rice does back that up; it's easily one of the best I've had, as good as if not better, I contend, than some of the more famous ones. The meat was supple and moist, the skin smooth and jelly-like. Even the rice, you could tell by its nutty brown colour, was full of flavour.
As a lover of cilantro, there are few things more aggravating than a stingy pinch of the herb. Thankfully, Min Kee wasn't tight-fisted, and there was enough to cut through the rich oiliness of the chicken. Sadly, they didn't have gizzards so I added an egg for $0.60. Like most chicken rice places, it was slightly overdone, the yolk bearing the tell-tale grey around it. If you're like me, incapable of enjoying chicken rice without a good dose of chilli sauce, rejoice because the chilli sauce here is quite a good one. It's quite a slow burning heat, but once it gets there, it stays a nice medium warmth for quite a while.
PS: I didn't notice that they also had a rather unique chicken char siew until I finished. Now I'm intrigued.
#02-78 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Mon - Fri: 7.30am-2.30pm, Closed on Sat & Sun
Having finally tried their wares, I could totally see why Coffee Break does such brisk business every day. While trend-chasing grain bowls threaten to saturate Amoy Street Food Market, non-traditional, "hipsterfied" coffee is less common (for now). Coffee Break bridges the modern-heritage coffee gulf quite capably, serving up traditional Nanyang brews but in an exciting array of flavours like black sesame and butter pecan.
Since you could get a toast and coffee set at $0.50 off the total price, I got myself a sea salt caramel latte and a black sesame toast. I was quite impressed that they offered a non-diary milk option for the lactose intolerant/vegetarians - something that even the newer cafes and coffee joints don't, surprisingly. Even after substituting with oat milk ($1.20) and switching to iced ($0.50), it was still a relatively friendly $5.70 for my caffeine fix. The coffee was mellow and robust, without that syrupy taste that usually accompanies flavoured coffees. You could taste the sea salt caramel, but it didn't overwhelm the palate.
The black sesame toast ($3.50), I'd initially pegged as pedestrian, but it was much better than expected. Lighter too, as it was only the thickness of a single slice. Well-toasted with just the right amount of butter and sesame spread, so it stayed crisp without sogging for quite some time.
Wang Wang Handmade Noodles Fish Soup
##01-54 Amoy Street Food Centre
While most of Amoy Street Food Centre has closed up for the day by 4pm, Wang Wang is one of the few that’s still open for business. As you can probably tell from the name, they specialise in ban mian and fish soup, but also sell fish porridge and dumplings.
With not many options before me, I decided to give them a go. The double fish ban mian didn’t deviate from the popular fish options - batang for sliced fish and dory for fried. Unfortunately, both were equally unimpressive. The fried dory, while in biggish pieces, was soft, bordering on mushy, and overly dependent on its egg batter for flavour. The batang tasted less than fresh - one bite was more than I wanted. More bizarrely, the broth had a strangely sweet flavour to it. I couldn’t really identify what it was, and it didn’t taste like fried ikan bilis. The ban mian had also taken on that off-putting sweetness, so I just gave up. In the interest of the review, I tried some of the napa cabbage. That was okay.
I was given two types of chilli sauce (some kind of overcompensation?) but I didn’t really get a chance to try much of either. If I had continued eating though, the chopped chilli would’ve been more my speed. I don’t think there’s anything here for me to recommend. Maybe the gyoza, but I bet that’s just frozen and straight from a packet.
You Kee Duck
#01-32 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Thu - Tue: 10.30am-3.30pm, 4pm-9.30pm, Wed: 10am-7pm
Yu Kee is one of the largest braised duck chains in Singapore, with approximately 30 outlets across the island. With so many branches, some people believe (myself included) that quality tends to become inconsistent, and the mixed online reviews seem to back this up.
I first had Yu Kee duck rice at Newton Food Centre, which, while decent, was less than impressive. Luckily, the duck here fared better. Pricing is also inconsistent. The Yu Kee set, $7 at Newton, was $6 here, and came with bean sprouts with preserved vegetables, a hard boiled egg, tofu, peanuts and yam rice. My portion of duck meat (breast, probably) didn’t come with much skin, but was relatively tender, especially compared to the Newton branch. The bean sprouts were unexpectedly spicy and salty, a nice pairing with the earthy yam rice. The rice was quite mild, not quite yammy enough. The egg, as it often is, was overcooked, with lots of grey on the yolk. All of it was improved, however, with a dollop of their famous signature dried chilli, which they sell by the jar by the by. Rich, spicy and savoury, it gave the dish a much needed hit of heat and flavour.
While I continue to be underwhelmed by Yu Kee’s offerings so far, I have to admit that it’s not bad if you go with no expectations. I’d suggest just going for their standard duck rice though; the set really isn’t that worthwhile.
Guo Ya Lin Teochew Kway Chap
#02-117 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Mon - Fri: 10.15am-3pm, Sat: 10am-2.30pm, Sun: 11am-3pm
I’ll be honest, I only came across this quaint old stall when I was there on a Saturday when most of the stalls weren’t open for business, so I gave it that second glance I ordinarily might not have. It was then that I noticed, behind the certificates and news clippings was an authentically old-school culinary experience, where the food has been made the same way for decades.
Teochew Kway Chap’s proprietor was a genial, mild-mannered old man who moved unhurriedly and methodically while putting together my plate of offal etc. If you’re the sort that likes their kway chap tasting meticulously clean, this might not be the stall for you. There was definitely a note of not-unpleasant pungency that had permeated the dish. It’s quite the delicate balancing act. I don’t mind a bit of piggy pong, if I’m expecting it, but I understand how it might be off-putting to others. You can taste it in the braising liquid, but especially the tau pok, which is saturated in it. I enjoyed the fish cake which had a light sweetness that came through the dark sauce. Surprisingly, the pig’s intestines were quite clean-tasting, with just a hint of smell. The pig’s skin was also tasty, and not sliced too thinly so it had the bounce of firm jelly. The uncle gave me quite a substantial bowl of kway too, much more than I’m used to. It was a little soft (my friend found it mushy), possibly from soaking for the entire journey home. The broth was more peppery than herbal, but that’s likely just the style of cooking.
I still haven’t worked out what the breakdown is but the whole thing was $5 which is quite reasonable. If you’re looking for a hit of nostalgia with your kway chap, try this stall.
The Vadai Shop
#B1-32 Golden Mile Food Centre
Opening Hours: Tue - Sun: 12pm-7pm, Closed on Mon
You can’t miss it - the Original Vadai’s shop is lit up bright like a Broadway billboard. And yep, if the first words you see are “The Vadai Shop @ Amoy” – yup, that’s the stall so don't be confused. Vadai is a deep-fried South Indian snack that is sort of like a savoury doughnut.
Fun fact: in Singapore, it’s uniquely enjoyed with fresh green chillies. Once a popular fixture at the Hari Raya Bazaar at Geylang Serai, the stall has moved from pasar malams to permanent outlets around the country.
The Vadai Shop @ Amoy's signature item is the famous prawn vadai ($1), which is thought to be a Singapore original that’s almost impossible to find in India or even Malaysia. It had quite a hefty prawn pressed into the light, impressively airy fritter that was soft even when cold. And yes, you can eat the shell-on prawn whole - it added a crunchy texture to the vadai. The ikan bilis vadai ($2) was saltier but easier to eat, with a more even bite. There weren’t any more onion vadais left so I got the vegetable ones (3 for $2.50). They’re light and aromatic, a good snack if you’re not too hungry.
Besides the vadai, there are also a variety of skewers of chicken parts and innards, which they’ll quickly re-fry before serving. The best one was the chicken liver ($2), which were crunchy on the outside, but still creamy in the middle. The bishop’s nose ($2) was also not bad, quite flavourful if a bit hard on the outside, but the meat inside was still tender. The gizzards ($2), however, were quite tough and chewy - they tend to be quite crunchy even before being deep-fried anyway.
#01-10 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Mon - Sat: 11am-3pm, Closed on Sun
Amoy Don’s Kelvin Ong used to run his own hair salon for over 30 years before his love for cooking compelled him to start his own food business. In November 2020, he decided to start his own hawker stall selling locally-inspired Japanese rice bowls at Amoy. Although they’re right next door to Koryori Hayashi, which also offers donburis, there’s surprisingly little overlap, menu-wise, between the stalls. Amoy Don is more Japanese-inspired than Japanese, with items like truffle tori (chicken) don and fried gyoza with seaweed mayo.
The cheesy katsu curry don came with hefty cuts of chicken cutlet filled with a layer of mozzarella cheese, which gave it a nice savoury creaminess. They’re covered with panko breading then fried to a deep rich golden brown. I love Japanese curry, and apparently the curry here is made from scratch, and not from a packet. It was thick and rich, with a medium spiciness, which I really enjoyed. It was balanced with the inclusion of carrots which were soft but with a gentle bite. They’re essential to add sweetness and crunch to the curry, as well as offset the heat a little. And Amoy Don probably has my favourite onsen egg of the whole food centre; it was super runny yet perfectly cooked.
Mr Ong’s passion and dedication to his cooking was obvious from the way he was meticulously plating up my order and carefully topping it with dried seaweed. The scene is definitely richer with hawkers like him in it.
Egg Fried Rice
##01-35 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 9.30am – 6.30pm; Sat 9.30am – 3pm.
I hadn’t noticed Egg Fried Rice until just a few months ago, but once I saw the pictures of their rich yellow egg fried rice, I couldn’t get them out of my head. Good egg fried rice (not that BBC travesty) is simple, rich and, well, eggy. You need little else except a good handful of chopped spring onions. Today, they finally released the special item they’d been teasing for a while - the Japanese curry rice - so I happily ordered it.
But there was a twist I never saw coming - I was going to have to write about Egg Fried Rice without talking about egg fried rice. Because confoundingly, the omelette curry rice wasn’t made with egg fried rice but plain white rice instead. Anyway, for an additional $3, you could add chicken cutlet or salmon. I have to say, it was quite a generous portion of meat for that price - almost spilling out of the plate. The chicken was tasty and quite tender, but some of the breading was quite tough and chewy. The curry was also good, if a little watery. It’s not spicy, which is good news for those with milder palates. The vegetables were all cut in big pieces, including the onion, and cooked to a good “doneness” - soft but not mushy. And I thought the omelette was not bad, layered and relatively fluffy but the Japanese rice was somewhat unevenly cooked. Some of it was a bit hard and dry.
Without the topped-up chicken cutlet, $5 is quite pricey for a plain omelette curry rice, and not really worth the cash. And I’m still confused why they would add a non-egg fried rice item on the menu, even as a special.
Rong Teochew FIsh Porridge
#01-12 Amoy Street Food Centre
At 8pm on a Tuesday, there’s almost nothing still open at Amoy Street Food Centre. But even at this hour, there’s still a queue in front of Rong Teochew Fish Porridge. Although not as well known as the fish soup places upstairs, I think this stall also has a lot to offer. Besides the classic dishes, they also serve the less commonly found pomfret soup and fish maw.
I ordered the double fish with meat ball, which came with both sliced and fried fish. I don’t normally gravitate towards fish soups, but I’m glad I went for Rong’s. Their fish slices were thick, meaty and fresh-tasting, complemented by a clear, delicious soup that’s mild but flavourful. The fried fish was equally meaty, with a firm texture and eggy flavour. Different kinds of greens like cilantro gave the fish soup a nice sharpness too. There were also two handmade meatballs, which were semi-loosely formed so they weren’t dense and compact. They added big pieces of diced water chestnut to give it sweetness and crunch - very nice.
I’m quite impressed with the quality of food here. If you’re not in the mood for a 30 minute queue upstairs, this is a great stall to check out.
Famous Amoy Street Lor Mee
#01-08 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Mon - Sun: 8am-2pm
Amoy Street Lor Mee is one of the older stalls at this food centre, having served their titular dish since 1959. And while other stalls might have different varieties, they only serve one style of lor mee. Such singular focus might be the reason for the various accolades that decorate the front of the stall.
As a newly-inducted lor mee eater, I like Amoy Street’s more viscous, less slimy style of gravy. It’s dark caramel lor was rich and savoury, with a sweet undertone of seafood flavours. I really enjoyed the deep fried texture of the fish, which held up quite well in the gravy. The fish was meaty but light. The ngoh hiang was also good, surprisingly soft and flavourful. And while the lean parts of the braised pork belly was a little tough, it was still pretty good and the fatty parts were delicious. I was so glad I decided to add half an onsen egg too. It was perfectly soft and went so well with everything else in the bowl.
The only thing lacking, and it’s a small thing, is the lack of greens, which help cut through the richness of the gravy. If there was just a bit more bean sprouts and spring onions or cilantro, it would’ve been great. Overall, it’s still one of my favourite lor mees I’ve had so far.
Xiang Xiang Hainanese Chicken Rice
#01-02 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Mon - Sun: 7am-3.30pm
Xiang Xiang Hainanese Chicken Rice is run by a friendly old husband-and-wife team. Uncle takes the orders and collects the payment, while Auntie prepares the food. Apparently, the chicken rice stall, which also offers char siew and roast meats, has been operating for over 60 years!
Unlike most hawker stalls, Xiang Xiang doesn’t list their prices. There’s only a solitary (and not very helpful) “$3.00” on their storefront, which I can only assume is the “base price” of chicken rice. Yep, they’re one of those that charge according to an invisible price list that customers aren’t privy to. My order of chicken rice (back) with a side of gizzards came up to $5 - no clue to the breakdown. To their credit, the chicken was very good. Tender and bouncy, with a slick, delicious layer of fatty chicken skin. The rice was nutty and moist, but not greasy. There were also noticeably more greens than normal; Auntie had loaded my plate of chicken with cucumber, lettuce, cilantro and a wedge of fresh tomato. What’s more unique was the “traditional fine chilli” proudly advertised on their storefront. It’s a pounded chilli sauce that isn’t as wet as most - and quite fiery. The soup was also better than average, sweet and flavourful. The chicken innards, while not the best, were well-prepared; the gizzards crunchy and clean-tasting, the liver relatively creamy.
I probably wouldn’t come by specially for chicken rice (there’s a boneless chicken rice stall I’m more partial to), but they certainly have their own strengths.
Qi Ji Guan Nasi Lemak
#02-99 Amoy Street Food Centre
You can probably guess from the name that Qi Ji Guan sells Chinese-style nasi lemak. There are a few different “flavours” including tempura fish, but they also offer char kway teow (not available when I went) and fried radish cake. Quite the unusual mix of dishes eh?
I was pleasantly surprised when my curry chicken nasi lemak was ready. They were fairly generous with the sides, including a rather substantial and unexpected bowl of lotus root soup. The curry chicken, which was served in a separate bowl, was rich and red-hot. The curry itself was quite thick and flavourful, and I especially liked how mashably soft the potatoes were. For $5, I was quite happy with the amount of chicken, which was quite tender and tasty. Another unexpected highlight was the achar. It was a lively, piquant, refreshing mix of cucumbers, carrots, pineapple etc. Well balanced, not mouth-puckeringly sour, but appetising and crunchy. Pity the rest of the sides were quite lacklustre. The peanuts and especially the ikan bilis were stale-tasting and too salty. The fried egg was unremarkable, and the rice was stodgy and lacking in fragrance.
But I don’t want to be too nit-picky because there’s clear thought and care that went into the food. The lotus root soup, a very nice “extra” might be a little salty (maybe due to the ikan bilis), but it’s well-made and flavourful. Despite their teething pains (I think they’re relatively new), what they do get right makes this a stall I’m happy to support.
Sarawak Kolo Mee by Jin’s Noodle
##02-110 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Mon to Fri, 11am to 2.30pm
Kolo mee, a “dry-tossed” noodle dish that originated from Sarawak, is not commonly found in Singapore. Jin’s Noodle only has three items on their menu, including an even less common spinach mee. I knew I couldn’t pass it up.
At a glance, it might be easy to mistake kolo mee for wanton mee; they do share quite a few similarities. But kolo mee also has minced pork, and is sometimes served without wantons. I was very happy that Jin’s, however, had both wantons and fried wantons. The noodles were extra springy and absolutely coated in oil, chilli and sauce. Not sure if you’re meant to taste the spinach in the noodles, but I couldn’t really. Still good though, especially how “al dente” the noodles were - firm with a slight bite. The wantons (non-fried) were smallish but wrapped in a silky skin, and very tasty. The fried wantons were equally enjoyable, airy and very crispy. I especially like the way they prepared the char siew. It was sliced thin and sort of shredded so each piece was extremely tender. As a spice lover, I was quite happy that the chilli was also quite potent, giving each mouthful a pleasant fieriness.
I think I’m regretting not adding a piece of chicken cutlet on top of my order now.
#02-115 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Mon - Fri: 9am-3pm, Closed on Sat & Sun
Not another grain bowl place, I silently groaned as I passed Craft’B. Amoy seemed increasingly overrun by “healthy” salad bars and salmon bowls, so I almost didn’t give it a second glance. But something about its minimal, well-designed shopfront compelled me to take a closer look. Not just another grain bowl place, I realised, when I saw the different cuts of beef available: ribeye, flank, tenderloin, not to mention soba as a base option.
Flank, often regarded as a cheap cut, is quite lean, with very little of that tantalising fat that gives steak its unctuousness. But it’s not a problem for Craft’B (is it B for beef?), who I think sous vides their meats. They really showed finesse in their cooking too; the flank was really used to its full potential. The interior of the meat was pink and tender, while the exterior (blowtorched, perhaps?) was beautifully charred and smoky. It was also more flavourful than I’d expected, especially with a hit of the sesame furikake and the Original sauce. Sticky, sweet and savoury, it tasted, to me, like teriyaki. Maybe I ought to have gone for mentaiko after all. I was also impressed with their seasonal vegetable sides - yellow zucchini and beetroot - way more interesting, and tastier than the generic broccoli/cucumber option some other places settle for. And the 62 degree onsen egg was about as tasty as one could expect - oozing golden yellow yolk. Last but not least, I think they make the best rice of all the rice bowl stalls here - no wonder that’s the base they recommended when I asked. It could be the grade of rice, or just good skill, but the Japanese rice is fluffy, moist and delicious. You could almost eat it on its own.
All in all, it’s a great value bowl, and if this is what they’ve done with flank, I can’t wait to try the more expensive cuts soon.
#01-45 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Mon - Sun: 7am-2pm
On one hand, a name like Korean Food is as straightforward as it gets - here be Korean food. On the other, it’s basically an SEO nightmare. Since I couldn’t find anything useful online, the recourse was to try the food myself. The menu isn’t massive, which was a good sign. Some places stretch themselves too thin trying to offer everything, but I’ve always preferred quality over quantity. Here they’ve kept it concise with classic bulgogi and ramen, as well as a couple of less common items like stir-fried octopus.
My order of another classic, bibimbap, came with a series of banchan, or side dishes - also a good sign. These days, banchan is an increasingly rare sight, except at Korean-owned eateries, so this was a nice touch. The bibimbap, though fairly simple, had all the components I wanted - protein (I chose pork over chicken and beef), crunchy vegetables and a punchy sauce. The pork was bulgogi-style, decent but unremarkable, but it went well with the mix of carrots, bean sprouts and spinach. I even added in the pickled radish and kimchi for more texture. The gochujang had a nice body and medium spiciness, which pulled everything together. The egg, admittedly, was slightly underwhelming, but just mix it all up, and you won’t really notice. And while I liked that they included a small bowl of egg drop soup, it was too tepid to make any impression.
Yuguo Curry Rice
#01-13 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Mon - Fri: 11am-8.00pm
Yuguo Curry Rice is a cai png stall with a couple of outlets in Singapore. Besides the Amoy branch, there’s another at ABC Brickworks. Although it looks quite similar to Hainanese curry rice, I can’t really tell for sure. For one thing, the curry is drizzled on the rice before being topped with your chosen ingredients. Oh, and there’s also free self-serve egg drop soup.
My order of pork chop, eggplant, bean sprouts and steamed egg came up to $4.80. The pork chop, which seemed more like a pork cutlet to me, was easily my favourite thing on the plate. The portion size was decent, and at 5pm, its breading was still somewhat crunchy, which is nice. It also had an aromatic flavour which reminded me of graham crackers or ginger biscuits, fragrant and spiced. It was quite a lean piece of meat, looking like it had been pounded within an inch of its life, and hence, quite tender. The eggplant was not bad too, with a hint of wok smokiness and umami, very soft but not slimy. I also liked the bean sprouts, which also had a hearty stir-fry flavour. Some places sometimes do too little with bean sprouts, leaving them tasting too green and too sharp. The steamed egg, though, was quite unexciting, even by steamed egg standards. Maybe I should’ve asked for an extra splash of curry.
Madam Leong Ban Mian
#02-109 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Mon - Fri: 10am-2pm, Closed on Sat & Sun
Madam Leong does Hakka-style ban mian that, as the name suggests, is made the traditional way, with handmade noodles and fresh broth. Besides the classic mee hoon kway and ban mian, they also have their best-selling dry chilli ban mian as well as an interesting one with braised pork and black fungus.
Being a spice person, I couldn’t resist the siren call of the dry chilli ban mian. I mean, there’s got to be a reason it’s their bestseller. And I was hooked on the first bite. The noodles were really well-made, fresh and bouncy with a nice chewy mouthfeel. Tossing it in the mixture of the fragrant sauce and dollop of minced chilli took it from good to sensational, creating a blend of umami, earthy and piquant. All the different ingredients - the minced pork, the tender meatballs, the crispy ikan bilis and the fresh green vegetables - worked well together. The beancurd skin was an interesting inclusion - while I still enjoyed it, it was slightly out of place. And maybe I’ve been spoiled by the abundance of onsen eggs at Amoy, but the sunny-side up-esque one here didn’t really do it for me. It was too separate, whereas a runnier egg would’ve integrated better with the noodles and other ingredients.
Still, this is definitely one of the best bowls of ban mian I’ve had in recent years. I won’t hesitate recommending this to any ban mian lover.
Basil & Mint
#01-47 Amoy Street Food Centre
The name of Basil & Mint, especially the “Thai Street Eats” part, conjures the lively, chaotic food markets of Thailand, where spices and flavours abound. In reality, it’s a “Thai cai png” stall in the CBD that seems designed for the busy, health-conscious white collar worker. Their chalkboard menu is filled with delicious-sounding dishes like “mint salad beef” and “basil mushrooms”, so I decided to try the express lunch set - a protein, two sides and a (carb) base.
I didn’t expect it to come in a takeaway box, but I guess it’s made for a quick bento for the harried office worker on the go. The pineapple curry salmon was just as tasty as it sounded - a smooth fragrant curry sweetened with chunks of pineapple. Unfortunately, even though the salmon was quite meaty and fresh, it was getting cold and drying out, likely because it had been sitting out for a while. It’s quite a mild curry too, so it’s ideal if you can’t take spice. For my two sides, I got mushrooms and bean sprouts. I liked the variety of mushrooms - there were shimeji, enoki and probably some button mushrooms, but I wish there was more flavour to it. The bean sprouts with pumpkin, and what looked like turmeric was also quite bland, to my dismay. And though the items were decently prepared, flavour-wise, it was unexciting and a bit of a let-down. Even more so when it’s basically cold. Maybe I’m meant to nuke it in my office pantry microwave?
And charming as the chalkboard menu was, the layout was cluttered and took a while to figure out. A little counterintuitive for the in-a-rush customer, perhaps? And the flimsy plastic cutlery are both ineffective and wasteful; there are plenty of eco-friendly options these days.
#02-102 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Mon - Fri: 11am-3pm, Closed on Sat & Sun
It’s rice bowls with a very welcome twist at Pepper Bowl. The stall, which specialises in black pepper beef bowls, offers hearty, comforting fare free of faux-atas pretensions (no wagyu here!). Black pepper beef rice (and hor fun), popular at many a zichar stall, is repackaged here into an easy, indulgent lunch option. Don’t fancy beef? You can get black pepper pork too.
Something about hor fun in a bowl really made sense to me, so I ordered one with black pepper pork. The black pepper sauce was fragrant and flavourful, more aromatic than just plain spicy. It really livened up the rich gravy. Amoy’s ubiquitous onsen egg is used to great effect here; it’s a lot runnier than usual, blending in silkily with the hot rice noodles, similar to a moonlight hor fun. The lean pork slices were, thankfully, very tender as well, and free from gristle, which made for a more pleasant eating experience. And you definitely want some green chillies for a bit of sourish crunchiness to cut through the thick starch.
Next time you get a hankering for a gyu don, why not try this localised beef bowl?
Yuan Chun Famous Lor Mee
#02-80 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Sat - Wed: 7.30am-2.30pm, Closed on Thu & Fri
Yuan Chun is a legacy stall that has served generations of loyal customers even before setting up shop at its present location at Amoy in the early 80s. But is the once-famous lor mee stall, which has downsized from two shopfronts to one, still as good? Online opinions seem divided, but the general consensus is “standards have dropped”, ostensibly after a new owner came on board. After trying the food, I was surprised to learn that they’d received a Michelin Plate certification a couple of years earlier.
Unfortunately, I hadn’t tried the lor mee during its heyday, so I recruited a lor mee fan to help. At first glance, the bowl of noodles looked promising, the lor, or gravy, was thick and caramel-brown. The ingredients were slightly different from usual, so besides the fish and ngor hiang, we had trouble identifying the rest. Not that that would’ve made any difference, they all tasted equally and disappointingly flavourless. The fish had a strange, almost mushy texture, like it was not well-thawed. The gravy itself was a lot less impressive than it looked, lacklustre, thin and bland. I thought I was quite liberal with the vinegar, but I think even a more heavy-handed pour wouldn’t have improved the taste much. Even between the two of us, we couldn’t bring ourselves to finish the bowl.
Forget about its glory days, it doesn’t even measure up to its contemporaries at this point. Give this a miss; there’s a much better lor mee stall just downstairs.
Tong Fong Fatt Hainanese Chicken Rice
#01-43 Amoy Street Food Centre
Opening Hours: Mon - Sun: 10am-9pm
Having tried Tong Fong Fatt for the first time at Maxwell just a few days ago, I decided to see how the Amoy branch stacked up against its neighbour. Online reviews are wildly divergent, ranging from 5 stars for excellent food to 1 star for bad attitude, and, er, bones. Their display is the signature chicken heads and spines that most branches employ - not sure why Maxwell’s is distinctly different.
Anyhow, I have to say, I liked my plate of chicken rice. Prices start at $2.50 which is rare these days. The chicken is, once again, tender and silky smooth, and boneless. How do they get the skin so succulent and fatty? It just glides down the throat. Everything is mostly standard across the two outlets, down to the garnishes. Sliced cucumbers (a bit more than Maxwell), a wedge of tomato and some cilantro. The soy sauce is just as fragrant and light, while the rice is equally fluffy and moist. One small, but quite key, difference for me was the chilli sauce. While Maxwell’s was a bit tepid, Amoy’s was more fiery and had more of a kick. The soup here was also more flavourful.
Ultimately, I go to hawker centres for the food, not for first-class hospitality. Sure, the old uncle was a little curt, but I don’t think he was rude, just to the point. And because of its superior chilli sauce, it’s now my go-to between the two branches in the area.