Good Food at Hainanese Village Food Centre

Hainanese Village Food Centre

Address: Blk 105, Hougang Ave 1

Hainanese Village Food Centre is a very popular makan place in the Hougang area, especially during the weekend. Like any other hawker centre in Singapore (except for the Kopitiam Square in Sengkang), there are lots of good hawker stalls. My mission is to try out these reputable stalls and let’s see why are these stall so popular, or not.

Hup Huat White Carrot Cake  (合发白萝卜糕)

Opening hours: 6.30am to 12.30pm (Closed Mon & Thu)

Hup Huat hawker stall is one of the few that serves only white carrot cake. The most distinct taste about this carrot cake is for it’s very crispy exterior. I can see that the hawker actually prepares each plate of carrot cake with care as he skillfully splits the big pan of carrot cake into smaller rectangular portion and to be pan fried to crisp.

From my observation, unlike some crispy fried oyster egg that is soaked and fried in oil, the oil that this hawker used is significantly lesser, and it does not taste too greasy as well.

I like this stall for their generous serving of eggs that holds the carrot cake together and this may be one of reasons why this carrot cake is so crispy. The unique thing about Hup Huat White Carrot Cake is their chilli is not stir-fried with the carrot cake but is spread onto the top surface of the carrot cake like how butter is spread on a toast.

If there is one area that can be better, i think they can consider sprinkling more Chye Poh (preserved radish) into the carrot cake. There is a $2.00 and $3.00 option and mine was the $3.00 portion.

Da Zhong Cafe (大衆茶室) – Coffee & Traditional Toast

Operating hours: 5:00am – 2:00pm

Very well know for their great tasting coffee at economical price. Their coffee gives off a very strong coffee aroma that is not usually found in ordinary food court coffee and it’s not because they purposely made the coffee “gao” (thick). Da Zhong prepares their own coffee mixture and sent them for grinding to powder form.

Generous serving of salted butter in their toast is one of my reasons to patronize this stall. This stall started their business in the 1970s before relocating to Hougang in 1983 with more than 30 years of coffee making experience.

Yi Liu Xiang Nasi Lemak (一流香) – Nasi Lemak

Operating hours: 6.30 am to 12pm. Closed on Mon and Thu.

The most prominent hawker stall with the longest queue in the morning. Unlike many Nasi Lemak stall, the main attraction for this Nasi Lemak stall is not chicken wing (in fact they don’t even offer chicken wing) but for their well flavoured Kuning fish. The fish is fresh, well-fried and yet the meat remains moist and tender. Ikan bilis is the non-sugar-coated version and chilli is less sweet than a typical Nasi Lemak Sambal Chilli.

Price for a plate of Nasi Lemak cost me $2.50 for Omelette, Kuning Fish, Ikan Bilis and Chilli Sambal. Not exactly cheap for the kind of ingredient offered but I like their Nasi Lemak for it’s distinct taste of coconut milk fragrance.

Lorong Ah Soo Lor Mee

Opening hours: Tue to Sun, Closed on Monday

This is the stall that always has a constant queue at Hainanese Village Food Centre. The best thing i like about this Lor Mee is they replaced the braised pork belly to a healthier shredded braised duck meat. It comes with a $2.50 or $3.00 option and a bowl of $3.00 noodle comes with plenty of condiments like braised egg, dish cakes and two kinds of Gnor Hiong (bean curd skin meat roll) and of course the shredded duck.

The gravy is not starchy and very flavorful to an extend of some people may find it a little salty. But it works fine for me. Queuing up for 30 minutes on weekends is a norm to be able to enjoy a bowl of Lorong Ah Soo Noodle. This stall has some mixed reviews online for it’s taste. I personally like it but probably will not queue up for half an hour for this Lor Mee as there are many other good options in Hainanese Village Hawker Centre. If the wait is only 15 minutes, then this works for me.

Dong Jin Yuan Dian Xin (东津园点心) – Fried Carrot Cake Stick

This stall offers fresh piping hot Carrot cake Sticks at $2 for 16 pieces. I ordered this a couple of time and the carrot cake sticks are warm at a minimum while retaining it’s crispness.

Best when the carrot cake Sticks are served right from the frying wok! Super crispy exterior and the inside is still soft and chewy. Fried Carrot Cake Sticks is one of many people’s favourite hawker food that is slowly disappearing from Singapore. There is a “Stall for Rent” sign pasted on the front of the stall. Better eat this while you can!

Worthy Mention: Lai Xing Cooked Food (来兴熟食) – Kway Chap

Opening hours: 6.30am to 1.30pm closed on Mondays and alternate Tuesdays

I am aware that there are a few good Kway Chap still in Hainanese Village Food Centre. What actually attracted me to patronize this particular Kway Chap is actually the old lady who is preparing the Kway Chap. She looks like she is already in her 70s and yet looks so fighting fit and so resilient. Really hats off to her.

Best thing i like about Lai Xing’s Kway Chap? Lai Xing’s Kway is very soft and thin which absorbs the soup easily which makes the Kway really flavorful. I do hope that there was more soup though.

Their pig intestine is very well marinated. Though it’s not the best pig intestine around, but this intestine taste very clean. It’s not tough but yet retains it’s springiness. I was also quite surprised by their lean meat. Most lean meat should be rather dry and tough but Lai Xing’s is tender and full of flavor.

<Punggol Noodle – 7.00am to 2.00pm Closed on Sun>

To be completed

Conclusion

This is not exactly the conclusion cus i will be going back to try the Cripsy Carrot Cake, the so-call overrated Lorong Ah Soo Lor Mee and apparently there is another Kway Chap that is quite popular in Hainanese Village Food Centre.

I have always been proud of our Singapore’s hawker food culture so i think it is important to support our hawker food and as well as writing reviews on them to share these information instead of only cafes and restaurants.

If i can only have an option to choose between having hawker food or restaurant food for the rest of my life, i guess i am someone who will choose hawker food.

Feel free to suggest any stall at Hainanese Village Food Centre that you find it’s worth the eat!

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Good Morning Nanyang Cafe 早安南洋 (Time’s 24 World’s Best-Kept Secret)

Good Morning Nanyang Cafe

Address (Main branch): 20 Upper Pickering Street, #01-01, Singapore 058284

Operating hours:  Mon – Fri 7.30am – 5.30 pm, Sat 8.30 am – 5.30 pm and closed on Sunday

* Important Update (20 August 2014) *

The main branch at Upper Pickering Street will cease operation at the end of August 2014 due to various issues. You may visit their other branches at:

1. The Grandstand @ 200 Turf Club Road #01-34A 

2. Far East Plaza @ 14 Scotts Road, #02-23 

3. 75 Pagoda Street

4. Maxwell Chambers @ 32 Maxwell Rd

Introduction

I got to know this less-widely known cafe through  a Times article entitled “24 World’s Best-Kept Secret” and i have to agree that Good Morning Nanyang Cafe is indeed a well-kept secret in Singapore.

This little cafe tucked at one corner of Telok Ayer Green CC starts their operation as early as 7.00am on weekday. I estimated the timing wrongly and i reached this place at 6.30am! To my surprise, they are already opened and invited me to have a seat and offered to take my drinks order first as the food will only be available from 7.00am.

There is an air-conditioned indoor and outdoor dining area which can accommodate not more than fifty people. The menu items that particularly interest me is their orange peel ciabata toast and ciabata toast.

Ciabatta toast

After having it once, this delightful toast immediately became one of my favorite kaya toast in Singapore. First I will talk about the kaya. Good morning nanyang cafe’s kaya is a little unique in the sense that it’s not smooth but rather grainy, which gives a very different and yet delightful texture. I can almost chew on the not-too-sweet kaya custard and i particularly like the kaya for it’s “eggy” taste. It’s like a 70% coconut taste and 30% egg with overflowing pandan fragrance.

The butter was melted into the toasted Ciabatta bread. It maintained it’s softness on the inside while it’s really crispy on the outside. Arguably one of the best kaya toast in Singapore.

Orange Peel Ciabatta Toast

Basically the kaya, butter and toasting method is the same, just that Good Morning Nanyang use a different bread. The orange peel ciabatta is thinner, with a smoother surface and with orange peel baked into the ciabatta bread.

The exterior is not as crispy as the ordinary ciabatta toast and bread gives off a rather unique tinge of orange aroma that I don’t normally find in kaya toast which goes unusually well with kaya and butter.

Curry Chicken

Good Morning Nanyang Cafe also offer lunch items like Curry Chicken, Curry Chee Cheong Fun, Chicken Stew with Rice and pre-packed Nasi Lemak. I will often order their Curry Chicken with toasted ciabatta bread if i’m a little hungry.

I am not going to elaborate more on the curry chicken. The curry chicken is not fantastic, or heavenly. It’s rather decent. Good enough to complete my meal for the day. But i do like to order their crispy ciabatta instead of white rice to go with their curry chicken. Much better to go with curry than traditional baguette.

Conclusion

After trying their toast once, i had already returned to Good Morning Nanyang Cafe for at least seven to eight times since. I also wish to highlight that their soft-boiled eggs are greatly done every time. The staff there are always friendly and made me felt like home. I am always left satisfied when i had my breakfast at Good Morning Nanyang Cafe and i do hope that they can maintain this great service and food standard.

It’s too bad that they will be closed by dinner time. The only alternative is for me to visit their franchised branch at Chinatown. Although the toast ciabatta is not as crispy, i am glad that the rest tasted as good.