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  • Writer's pictureRick

Michelin Guide Food Hunt: Chinatown Complex (牛车水大厦)

In a previous post, we shared our food hunt in Hong Lim Market & Food Centre, near Chinatown Point Shopping Centre, using the Singapore Michelin Guide 2016.

In this post, we continued the food hunt to Chinatown Complex (牛车水大厦, 335, Smith Street), one of the great places to try local food in Singapore. The complex is located right beside the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum, a prominent landmark in Chinatown that can't be missed by travellers. The food centre occupies the whole second floor of Chinatown Complex, a big place with over 200 stalls. You will be spoiled for choices.

But, for the objective of this post, we focus only on those mentioned in the Michelin Guide 2016. Nevertheless, do try anything you like when you are in Chinatown.

1. Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle (了凡香港油鸡饭.面)

Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle is one of the two stalls that won the Michelin Guide one-star award. And is the cheapest Michelin-starred award winner in the world. It is definitely a must-try for locals and travellers to Singapore.

We ordered the soya sauce chicken noodle for full experience. The soy sauce marinated chicken has nice texture and is succulent with soy sauce flavour. And the tasty noodle with its sauce is clearly different from others, it is well-cooked, not soggy and the noodle does not stick to one another. Their barbecue pork is also a hot favourite.

Well, good food means you cannot have it too easily. You will need to join a long queue during peak hours and probably wait for 30 minutes to an hour before you can eat it. So be there early and avoid peak hours. Also, once the chicken and barbecue pork are sold out, they will close for the day (despite their closing time being 7pm).

Stall: #02-126

Operating Hours:Mon-Tues, Thurs-Fri: 10:30am to 7:00pm; Sat-Sun: 8:30am to 7:00pm. Closed on Wednesdays


If you are not too keen with the long queue at the original stall, not air-conditioned and crowded food centre during peak hours, Liao Fan has two new branches (known as Liao Fan Hawker Chan) where you can drop by.

  • The newest one is at 18 Tai Seng Street (in Hougang) if you happen to be around there.

  • The other one is at 78 Smith Street, just beside Chinatown Complex (see photo below).

  • Side news: They are also in Jakarta at Tim Ho Wan, Pantai Indah Kapuk (PIK).

The prices at the branches are slightly higher due to air-conditioning and shop rental, but still consider cheap. And all the seats are for its customers only.

If you are from abroad, the original stall and this outlet in Chinatown will be your best options when sight-seeing in Chinatown. Note that both outlets closed on Wednesdays.

2. Zhong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao (中国拉面小笼包)

There are a lot of stalls and restaurants selling xiao long bao (or steamed meat dumplings in bamboo baskets) in Singapore and to be one of the bests is not easy. There must be some uniqueness in Zhong Guo La Mian's xiao long bao that gets it into the Michelin Guide.

Pick up a dumpling using a spoon, bite a hole in the skin and slurp up the soup, you will taste the sweetness and freshness of the pork even before eating the meat. Finish the rest with a dip of vinegar and ginger shred. This traditional-style dumpling is so much better than those full-of-frills and expensive dumplings served in big names restaurants.

Apart from xiao long bao, there are other dumplings and la mian (noodle) dishes as well which are also very popular among the locals. It will take us few weeks to complete half their menu.

Stall: #02-135

Operating Hours:

Wed-Sun: 11:30am to 3:00pm and 5:00pm to 9:30pm | Closed on Mondays & Tuesdays

3. 168 CMY Satay (春满园沙爹)

Having given up on satays in Singapore for many years, and even travelled as far as Malacca for better satays and sauce, CMY's satay rekindled my love for satays in Singapore. The satay meats are nicely grilled and really juicy and tender. The peanut sauce is the taste that I missed from many years ago, added with a scoop of pineapple sauce to add flavours to the not-too-spiciness. And add a ketupat (Malay rice dumpling) to make it a meal.

Stall: #02-168

Operating Hours:

10:00am to 10:00pm daily

4. The 1950's Coffee (五十年代)

Grab a cup of coffee after meal. The Michelin Guide has even picked a coffee stall for you to complete the experience.

The 1950's Coffee serves thick traditional Nanyang kopi-O (black coffee). Their coffee is so much better than other coffee shops that sell diluted and over-sweetened coffee water. Do add a peanut butter toast. The bread is lightly toasted to keep its softness, no over-toasted bread that makes it too hard to eat. And go early, the breads are usually sold out by noon time.

Stall: #02-048

Operating Hours:

7:00am to 7:00pm daily

After all these eating, we will take a short break, go on diet and then back with more food hunts for local food in Singapore. Stay tuned.

More Michelin Guide 2016 food hunts: - Tiong Bahru Food Centre


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