- Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle in Crawford Lane and
- Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle at Chinatown Food Complex.
This is really nice to hear. We have relatives in SG who have been constantly reporting over the years that, while the breadth of food choices has greatly expanded, the quality of hawker food has been rapidly declining.
About 4-5 years back, a bro-in-law brought me a book from SG named, “The End of Char Kway Teow,” by Dr. Leslie Tay (his blog was/is? ieatishootipost.sg), where he reminisces about the great hawker food of the past, how it was so much harder to find great examples, and how a few examples of young folks were bucking the trend of moving on from the family hawker business and actually embracing it.
The socioeconomic pressures in SG are so strongly against doing this kind of enterprise nowadays. I just have to wonder if the hawker business model is sustainable there.
I’m not surprised Michelin hopped on the hawker bandwagon - Street food, with its contributions and influences in the rest of the food world, is simply too important to be ignored.
Having done a food tour of S’pore back in March/April, I sadly came to the same conclusion as your relatives in S’popre. This was my fifth food tour of S’pore, and this trip was the poorest showing by the hawkers as a whole.
Don’t get me wrong - There are still hawker gems out there, but I felt, for the most part, that there was less focus in the cooking. The older generation of cooks and hawkers who brought recipes from the old country (wherever that may have been, given S’pore’s multicultural society) are retiring, and their kids are not interested in taking over the family business. The newer stall managers often serve weaker versions of the dishes of the former tenants, and there is overall less pride in the preparation and the sourcing.
But not all is lost. To compensate for the slight downturn in hawker fare, there ARE some very bright spots in S’pore’s food scene. For one, a new generation of cooks/chefs, perhaps inspired by the various food renaissances going on globally, are venturing into brave new hawker territory. For example, there is a ramen upstart hawker stall serving up great tonkotsu ramen. Additionally, the coffee scene is reverting back to its Straits roots. The bespoke cocktail / speakeasy revolution is definitely in full swing in S’pore as well - One can drink very, very well in this city-state.
Also, another bright spot is that the sit-down restaurant scene in S’pore is better than ever, at all ranges of the price spectrum. The murtabak at the ORIGINAL Zam Zam was absolutely enchanting and transports the diner to another world with its complexity of spice, texture, and tastiness. Izzy’s (yes, it’s still there), despite having fallen under the proverbial radar, served me one of my finest meals of 2016. The Peranakan cuisine of the Straits is alive and well, represented very ably by the strong cooking at both Blue Ginger and also at Violet Oon at the National Gallery.
Damn. That reminds me - I need to post some of those photos. Off to the photo archives I go…
@bulavinaka @J_L I agree, sadly the hawker scene is in a steady decline and I don’t think the hipsters will be able to replace / continue the legacy. Between the economics and lack of passion by the 2nd generation forced into servitude the future looks dim .
I did come across a wacky and uniquely straits Chinese invention Loo’s Hainanese curry rice in Tiong Baru. Comfort food at its best, worth checking out
Fortunately, I still have access to home cooked Peranakan food
Thanks for these write-ups and pictures, y’all.
Here’s a lil vid following the man from Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle: http://digg.com/video/michelin-star-food-stall-singapore
Fun to see all the LA FTCers here.
Will be in SNG for a couple of days.
Would love any suggestions any would have. Low food/high food, makes no difference.
The chilli crab as been my fave at Jumbo Dempsey, but that was long ago. Going to try the Fried Kway Teow joint JL posted. Does the hawker center in the Marina Bay Sands still display “best of” for SNG hawker stalls?
- Geylang Lor 9 Fresh Frog Porridge
- www.jadepalace.com.sg high end chinese - get the steamed turbot, goose web.
- Loo’s Hainanese curry rice in Tiong Baru
- https://www.chlteochewcuisine.com/en/home - Teochew
- Samy’s Curry (Dempsey) for fish head curry.
- “Bak Chor Mee” - local pork noodles. I forget which place I went - think it was #9 on the list Seng Kee. Ask around for recs. https://sethlui.com/best-must-try-bak-chor-mee-stalls-singapore/
- Ya Kun Kaya Toast - specifically the original outlet at Far East Square on 18 China Street
- Murugan Idli Shop (Serangoon) - Indian veg. breakfast
My fave Hainan Chicken was at Yet Con. I would like to see if they are still there. I used to eat there once a week.
Assuming Bee Chang still great for bakwa, but need to check if I can bring it into Australia.