Updated: Aug 25, 2020
After our last Michelin Guide 2016 recommended food hunt to Chinatown Complex and Hong Lim Market & Food Centre in Chinatown, we took a short break. We are back again for another food hunt — actually, a series of food hunts to Tiong Bahru Market & Food Centre, People's Park Complex Food Centre and Maxwell Food Centre.
Tiong Bahru Market & Food Centre (中峇鲁巴刹及熟食中, 30 Seng Poh Road) was closed for 3-month renovations in Feb 2017 and reopened on 20 May. So it was a good time to check out the revamped food centre using the recommendations from Michelin Guide as our reference for more good food. We will also try out other stalls.
Note: We are not food tasters, we just like to try local food wherever we travel, even in our own country. We trust only certain food guides, especially those recommended by experienced food-tasters like Michelin, and not just any reviews or blogs with "best food" in the titles on the Internet. Anyway, everyone has different taste buds.
1. Hong Heng Fried Sotong Prawn Mee (鸿兴炒稣东虾面)
"Fried sotong prawn mee" is what we normally called "Hokkien mee" or Hokkien-style fried noodle. The dish usually uses two types of noodle, yellow noodle and thick rice vermicelli (or laksa noodle), and is lightly stir-fried to keep its light colours. At Hong Heng, the soup stock is added to the fried noodles just when they are rightly cooked, so as not to make the noodles soggy. And prawn is the main ingredient.
This is a typical Singapore-style Hokkien prawn noodle, but is usually called "Hokkien mee" to avoid confusion with the soup-based prawn noodle.
Opening Hours: 11am to 8pm
2. Tiong Bahru Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice (中峇鲁海南起骨鸡饭)
Tiong Bahru Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice serves both steamed chickens (Hainanese style) and roasted chickens. We tried both. The steamed chicken was nice and tender but the roasted chicken was a little dry. The rice was less aromatic than other chicken rice stalls, probably using lesser chicken stock, but yet less oily. So, it's a trade-off between stronger tastes or better health.
After we tried the chicken rice, an article on Tiong Bahru Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice was published on Michelin Singapore's website and resulted in longer queue on that Sunday. We were glad to have tried the food just couple of days before.
Opening Hours: 10am to 9pm
3. Lor Mee 178 (卤面178)
Unlike most lor mee (flat yellow noodle in thick starchy gravy) stalls that use eggs and pork as ingredients, Lor Mee 178 uses deep-fried shark meat fritters, crispy batter bits, and slices of pork and fish cakes as ingredients. The gravy is also less starchy and drinkable. Who really cares if they are eating shark meat when it is so good. Go for the big portion with extra ingredients and have your fill.
If you are wondering why eating shark meat is allowed in Singapore, check out an earlier post where we explained a little about shark meat consumption.
By the way, if you are wondering what is the significance of "178", it sounds like "yi qi fa" (一起发) in Mandarin, meaning "get rich together".
Opening Hours: 11am to 9pm
4. Jian Bo Shui Kueh (楗柏水粿)
Jian Bo Shui Kueh served their shui kueh or chwee kueh (or water rice cake) on a piece of waxed paper even if eating in. Topped with a mixture of preserved radish and sesame seeds, and accompanied by chili sauce, the Teochew chwee kueh is really soft. And the addition of sesame seeds to the preserved radish is quite unique — and that probably makes Jian Bo's chwee kueh stands out from others.
Chwee kueh is usually consumed as breakfast in Singapore. If you have not tried it before, go for the smallest portion (5 pieces) and you may still have some stomach space for trying more food.
Opening Hours: 7am to 9pm
5. Teochew Fish Soup (潮州鱼汤)
Originally called "Teochew Fish Porridge" because their signature dish was fish porridge, it was renamed to "Teochew Fish Soup" after the renovation. One of the reason could be that the Michelin inspector actually tried their fish soup and listed it in the Michelin Guide.
While debating on whether to try the fish soup or fish porridge, we went for the latter. We were quite used to sliced fish vermicelli or in congee and have not tried Teochew-style fish porridge before. The porridge is actually white rice in hot soup, and added with slices of fresh fish, beancurd and vegetable. You can add some soy beans to the porridge to increase its flavour. Allow the plain rice to absorb the soup for several minutes before eating.
We like the fish porridge because it is not very salty and a little soy bean or li