Lao Ban Zhai Roast Meat at Alexandra Village Hawker

Lau Phua Chay Roast Meat (老半齋烧腊)

Address: Alexandra Village Food Centre, 120 Bukit Merah Lane 1,  #01-20

Opening hours: Sun to Fri 11.00am to 7.00pm, closed on Sat

Introduction

Lao Ban Zhai (老半齋) roast meat is definitely not foreign to friends that live around Alexandra area. It’s situated at a far corner of Alexandra Village Hawker Centre. They are well known for the char-roasted char siew and unique braised sauce.

Braised Sauce

Their style of braised sauce is in a class of their own and we are unlikely to find another one that is similar to theirs. Although it does not appear visually appealing, like a bit of mess, the taste tells an entirely different story.

I thought the braised sauce taste very much like a mix of bean paste and sweet melted onion bits. Some may find this dark lumpy sauce a little too sweet but i personally like it very much and thought that this is exactly what made Lao Ban Zhai Roast Meat unique.

Roasted Char Siew

Apart from the braised sauce, the number one must-order is their Char Siew. Unlike some hawker stalls, Lao Ban Zhai uses cut that are moderately fatty. Each pieces of Char Siew are roasted to Char that gives a consistent level of sweet crisp to the meat. The char siew is fatty but not greasy, and some pieces of fat char siew simply melt in my mouth.

I also got to mention their chilli. This chilli is evidently drizzled with lime juice (i think), that gives the spicy chilli a fruity sour taste that goes perfectly with the Char Siew. It’s similar to how a piece of lime enhances the taste of a piece of a roasted chicken wing.

Lao Ban Zhai also sells roast meat and duck. I thought the two are NOT BAD, but the Char Siew is the one that is worth the calorie.

Conclusion

At $3.50 a plate, apart from the great tasting Char Siew and rice, you will still get a bowl of cabbage soup. I thought Lao Ban Zhai Char Siew rice is really well worth the money.

I enjoyed Lao Ban Zhai Roast Meat a lot while I was working in that area. Despite the long queue, it’s always worth the wait during lunch time. It’s one of my favourite Char Siew rice in Singapore and i will try to patronise this stall whenever i am in that area.

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Tiong Bahru Wanton Noodle @ Golden Shoe Hawker

鹏 (Peng) Tiong Bahru Wanton Noodle

Address: 50 Market Street, #02-32, Golden Shoe Complex

Opening hours: Mon to Fri approximately from 8.00am to 4.00pm (or till sold out)

Introduction

When asked for the best hawker stall at the Golden Shoe Complex, this stall 鹏 (peng) Tiong Bahru Wanton Noodle will always come to people’s mind. It’s situated at Level 2 of the Golden Shoe Complex and stands out for the long long queue during lunch time. It comes at $3 and $4 bowl and for a better effect for my photo, I ordered the luxurious $4 version. At $4, I consider this as one of the most sumptuous Wanton Mee in Singapore.

The Wanton Noodle

The four dollars version comes with a generous serving of noodle (guarantee to fill your tummy), a good amount of home-roasted char siew, fried wanton, soup wanton, fried fish paste dumpling and a generous portion of vegetable and a fried fish ball.

鹏 Tiong Bahru Wanton Noodle is one of the few that roast their own Char Siew. The char siew is well caramelized and those who love charred Char Siew will definitely like their version. They offer mostly lean Char Siew so it tends to be a little dry, but not tough, and I thought it taste a little like Bak Kwa. For fatty Char Siew lover, you can ask for the fat portion (if it’s available) upon ordering. You won’t regret it.

Apart from the main attraction which is their Char Siew, i am pleasantly surprise that their noodle is also pretty decent. The noodle is a little thinner than usual. It does not lump together easily and it’s a little bouncy in texture. It’s lightly flavoured with pork lard and added stir-fried chilli. The skin of the soup wanton is a little too thin and it breaks rather easily, although it does not exactly affects the taste directly.

Conclusion

Peng Tiong Bahru Wanton Noodle may not be the best of the best in Singapore, it’s definitely one of the most satisfying one. At $3.00, it may be the cheapest Wanton Noodle in the CBD area that is worth your calorie. If you are looking for something cheap and good, you may want to consider dropping by this hawker centre within the CBD area. However, note that the average waiting time during lunch is about 15 minutes though.

Fu Lin Yong Tau Foo, the Yong Tau Foo that packs a punch

Fu Lin Yong Tau Foo at Telok Ayer (福林豆腐园)

Address (Google Map): 127 Telok Ayer Street

Opening hours: Mon to Fri 9.00am to 6.00pm, Sat 9.00am to 3.00pm

East Coast Main Branch: 721 East Coast Road

Opening hours: Daily 10.00am to 9.00pm

Introduction

Fu Lin Yong Tau Foo, was established in year 1994 and has since enjoyed great popularity among Singaporeans. People normally associate Yong Tau Foo with the word “healthy” and “plain”, but Fu Lin’s version is not quite the norm. It’s a different kind of Yong Tau Foo where it’s served with a bowl of thick bee hoon, topped with a serving of thick minced chicken gravy.

They have a few outlets in Singapore and their main branch is situated along East Coast Road, The branch at Telok Ayer is always full house during lunch time and this briefly gives an idea on their popularity.

Yong Tau Foo with Minced Meat Sauce

I like Fu Lin for two reasons – the sinfully unique style of Yong Tau Foo, and the freshness of their ingredient. It’s a little surprising to know that there is no pork in any of Fu Lin’s ingredients and therefore this also sets them apart from the Ampang Hakka Style Yong Tau Foo, which uses pork and fish as main ingredients.

Each piece of Yong Tau Foo is freshly fried and served with a good drench of their home made gravy, which is made from key ingredients like minced chicken, mushroom, garlic and sesame oil. The gravy is not overly cloying, which is an important factor when pairing with mostly fried items. Some may find the gravy a little starchy but I can deal with it.

Most bean stick items are popular because of the ability to absorb the meat gravy that makes them really delectable. My personal favourite is their Cheese Chicken Frank and Dough Fritters. Most people accompany their Yong Tau Foo with a bowl of smooth thick bee hoon or rice that’s drenched in their special braised sauce.

Pricing

Apart from being more unhealthy than a usual meal of Yong Tau Foo, the pricing of Fu Lin Yong Tau Foo also made it slightly less appealing. it cost $5.30 for a bowl of bee hoon with 6 pieces of Yong Tau Foo and it’s $0.70 for each additional piece. However, the boss once mentioned that he ensures that only the freshest and best ingredients are used in his Yong Tau Foo and therefore the premium price. Worth it or not? You be your own judge. Apparently judging by the bustling lunch crowd, many are still willing to fork out the premium price.

Conclusion

Personally, I think Fu Lin Yong Tau Foo is worth the visit for occasion sinful indulgence. Taste wise, some items are very similar to what I had outside, like their vegetables, carrot and radish. It’s the fried stuff and the meat sauce that made the difference. It’s a pity that it’s a little pricey if you compare it to a hawker price, but it’s still OK if we compare it to a high end food court. For me, I think it’s still reasonable to pay a little more for a unique meal of Yong Tau Foo. If I am around Telok Ayer area during lunch time, Fu Lin will definitely be at the back of my head.