Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Yishun Park Hawker Centre : What to Eat?

Yishun Park Hawker Centre is a 800-seats hawker centre opened on 22 September 2017, located just opposite the Yishun Park as its name suggested and is managed by Timbre Group. If you have wonder what to eat at this new hawker centre, this is my list of what to eat there, there are some hits and misses but generally are good. You might want to take note of the 0.50 cents deposit for the usual of the tray that will be returned upon its return at the stations, located at both ends of the hawker centre. 

Operating Hours: 8.00 am to 9.00 pm (Daily)

Anthea Tan, 25, a graduate of National University of Singapore with a degree in Sociology, She chooses not to enter the corporate world like her fellow graduates but working at the Teochew fishball noodles stall with her father. She has been doing so for years and she wants to continue to be a part of it. She is amongst one of the 25 young hawkers selected for the Tiger Street Food Support Fund and received a start-up grant of $10,000. She then expanded the business to the recently opened Yishun Park Hawker Centre. Their original stall is at Kovan Food Centre and it has been around for more than 30 years. Like the other stall, they serve Fishball Noodle, Laksa and Chicken Curry Mee. 

My usual order has always been Keow Teow Dry and I will go with extra chili.  The texture was cooked just right, the spiciness of the chili enhanced and brought forth the flavor, which is nice. They just came out with the Loyalty Card, a stamp is given for every order and when accumulated to 8 stamps, the next order is free.

Operating Hours: 7.30 am to 8.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Mohammed Noorman Mubarak, 38 together with Puti Andam Dewi Henry, 31, his Indonesian-born wife, are the owners of this stall. Noorman used to help up at his father's stalls that served nasi lemak, nasi ayam in hawker centres in Ang Mo Kio, Bedok and Newton. He started doing so since he was just 5 years old. He did not take over the stall when his father retired in 2003. He joined Singapore Airlines as cabin crew and he met his wife while working together. He then worked as a project manager in oil rig industry for another 7 years before he decided to set up this stall with his wife and Muhammad Ikhram, 38, his long-time friend.

Ayam Taliwang ($5.50), a humble Indonesian dish that is served together with the spicy grilled chicken, tempeh, ikan bilis and kang kong with sambal chili by the side. The level of spiciness has toned down quite a bit as my dining companion that has a little tolerance for spicy food think its spiciness is quite manageable. The flavor is addictively strong but I do prefer it to be a little spicier.

Their Nasi Lemak ($3.50) with Chicken Wing is nice though it did not taste as memorable as their Nasi Lemak Ayam Taliwang, it was not too bad particularly the fried chicken wing. There are also Ayam Cabe Ijo (grilled chicken with green chilli) and Ayam Balado (grilled chicken with sambal chilli) on their menu for $5.50 each.

Operating Hours: 1.00 pm to 10.00 pm (Daily)

Joseph Yeo, 29, the owner, aims to bring restaurant-quality and high-value food to the masses at a cheaper price.  He graduated from SHATEC with a Diploma in Culinary Skills and he further perfected the skills working for a few restaurants. He started cooking when he was in primary school and he used to help out at his grandparents' hawker stall, serving fried carrot cake. The most popular item has to be the BBQ Boneless Chicken Leg ($7).  There are also the Sashimi Grade Baked Salmon ($14.00) and BBQ Wagyu Ribeye Grade 5 ($32) on his menu.

The charcoal-grilled chicken was served on a pile of mashed potato together with a piece of garlic bread and salad. I could taste the distinct charred flavor with a subtle smokiness. It was an enjoyable meal and I am interested to try the other dishes like their burger soon.

Operating Hours: 10.00 am to 9.00 pm

Henry Yap, 33, from Papan, a small town near the South of Ipoh, Malaysia, started this stall in Yishun Park Hawker Centre, serving Ipoh traditional favorites like the Ipoh Curry Mee, emphasizing on the hometown flavors and connecting him with home.

The Curry Mee is based on a recipe from his mother and he further fine-tuned it. It is different from the usual curry as it uses less curry powder together with ingredients like lemongrass, dried shrimps, garlic, chilies, and shallots as part of the spice paste. The spice paste is then fried over low heat for about 2 hours. The Curry Mee is served in soup and also served dry with ingredients like prawns, sotong, sio bak, taupok, long bean and fried pig's skin.

They also serve breakfast and what on their menu are the Cantonese-style congee, Ipoh Chee Cheong Fun with curry or minced meat mushroom sauce and also Ipoh Steamed Glutinous Rice that is served with peanuts, dried shrimps, and shredded egg, there is also a sweet version that is served with kaya. 

Operating Hours: 12.00 pm to 2.00 pm / 6.00 pm to 9.00 pm (Closed on Wednesdays)

Lee Lock Teng, 24, an undergraduate of Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering in National of University (NTU), he decided to take a semester break of 6 months to operate this hawker stall, an "incubator stall" in the recently opened Yishun Park Hawker Centre under the Timbre Group. Under this scheme, the hawkers just need to pay for the rental and utility fees, excluding the costs of pest control, dishwashing, and other costs. This is to allow the first-time hawkers to take up a stall for a year with kitchen equipment sponsored and some operational charges waived. They will also receive mentorship from Tommy Teo, the head chef of Timbre Group.

He started this stall to fund his university education as he has run of savings to pay for his school fees after the first year.  He came from a family of five and their total income is just enough to support the daily expenses. His mother, 47, is a housewife and his father, 51, is a technician. He has eaten his mother's Thunder Tea Rice and his grandmother's Hakka Yong Tau Foo since young. He started helping his mother to prepare meals since his primary school days. He picked up the kitchen skills and eventually learned to cook these dishes by himself. He cooked these dishes for friends that he met and also for those that offered accommodation to him when he went traveling for 5 months. 

Hakka Tofu Rice Bowl ($5.50) is one of their signature dishes, it is a combination of the traditional Hakka Yong Tau Foo and Thunder Tea Rice, presenting in the form of Japanese donburi. It consists of Japanese rice and topped with ingredients like deep-fried tofu and tau pok that stuffed with minced pork belly with meatballs, chopped long beans, and shredded seaweed. And, right at the centre, it is a pile of tofu cubes with sambal mayonnaise and garnished with Alfalfa sprouts. Their other signature dish is Hakka Meatball bowl ($4.50), it consists of 3 pieces of meatballs and tofu puffs on a bed of rice. 
The chili that came along was quite different from those that usually along with the Hakka Yong Tau Foo, the level of spiciness was rather mild with a slightly sweet undertone but went well with those pieces of Yong Tau Foo. 

Operating Hours: 6.00 pm to 9.00 pm (Closed on Wednesdays)

Tan Yu Yan, 28, started this stall with her brother, Tan Wee Yang, 25 and they are one of the 25 recipients of Tiger Beer Street Food Support Fund. Their menu consists of mainly Har Cheong Gai (Prawn Paste Chicken) based on a recipe that they have spent more than a year in perfecting it. And, that was after experimented up to 800 variations of the recipe which demonstrated great dedication. Though the process was rather challenging but fruitful, it was a journey that filled with many ups and downs. They used to be at different pop-up events while hunting for a permanent location. They kept on improving their recipe and doing online marketing at the same time before finally settling at Yishun Park Hawker Centre. The entire process was quite a struggle.  Their vision is simple, they want to introduce a shatteringly-crispy Har Cheong Gai that you will never forget. 

The Shrimp Paste Cutlet ($7.00) is a must try. The XXL Shrimp Paste Cutlet consists of 2 pieces of Chicken Cutlet serving with shaker fries and salad. They marinated those chicken pieces in the har cheong gai paste for 2 days and coated in their specially made batter before deep-frying. How they managed in resulting such a crispy crust has remained to be their secret. The unparalleled crispy skin and the deep satisfaction when you crunch down on those chicken cutlets was just so unforgettable. 

They do also have Okonomiyaki ($8.50) on their menu. The Okonomiyaki is not commonly found in Singapore and I was glad that they served it too. It is grilled Japanese pancakes embedded with prawn and bacon then topped with bonito flakes and oko sauce. There is an option to add Tobiko (flying roe) and oozing torched cheese for $1.50. It was nice though not particularly memorable. I would rather skip this and go for the Har Cheong Gai.

Operating Hours: 12.00 pm to 8.00 pm (Closed on Mondays & Thursdays)

Sax Choa, the owner, named its stall after King Midas in Greek mythology which possessed a special power to turn everything that he touches into gold. He used to be an Operations Director with more than 25 years of experience in the Food & Beverage and hospitality industries. He wanted to recreate and share the curry experience when he started this stall at Jalan Kukoh Food Centre before moving to Yishun Park Hawker Centre.

There are Baked Croissant Murtabak Sardine Puff ($3.00) and Corn Beef Puff ($4.00). I tried the sardine but did not like it as much after I took my first bite, the filling consists of bits of sardine with too many corns and peas. 

I was there again on 26 September 2017 for dinner and this was one of those stalls with no queue at that time. I decided to go with the Set B on the menu, which is Master Touch Chicken Curry ($5.00) to go with a plain prata ($1.00) and a spring onion prata ($1.50). The prata is different, it is not pan-fried but baked in an oven with right temperature controls. This is the healthier version as it is less greasy but crispier and flakier in texture. The plain prata and the spring onion prata tasted quite alike.

The curry is different from the usual Chinese-style curry, it is thicker and creamery with a strong hint of spices, a little closer to the Indian-style curry. Mustard Seed is one of the ingredients added to make it tastes differently. The level of spiciness is well-balanced, it is good even for my dining companion that has little tolerance towards spiciness. It consists of chicken chunks, potato, and a hard-boiled egg. 

Operating Hours: 6.00 am to 10.00 pm (Closed on Wednesdays)

Their first stall was at Golden Mile Food Centre started by Douglas Ng in April 2015. This stall was closed later when a new one was opened at the University Town in National University of Singapore (NUS) and expanded to another stall at Timbre+ in Ayer Rajah Crescent. After he closed the stall at NUS, he went into partnership with Char Grill Bar and 818 Seafood, they bought a coffee shop in Geylang and named it Hungry Bee, he started another stall there. This newest stall is at the recently opened Yishun Park Hawker Centre is their first franchised stall.

A basic bowl is priced at $3.50 and the Premium Fishball Noodle is at $6.50. The Premium Fishball Noodle consists of a good portion of nicely cooked mee pok tossed with sambal chili and lard bits, with 3 pieces of handmade fishballs and a few slices of their handmade fishcake with 2 pieces of fried fish skin and a piece of fried beancurd with stuffed fish paste. Those fishballs are made from using pure yellowtail fish and no flour is added when making at the central kitchen, its texture is firmer and springier as compared to most of the others.

It was still good but somehow, it did not taste as good as my first time tasted it, something is just missing somewhat and it just did not taste quite the same. I felt the additional fried fish skin did not actually go too well with the noodle. It got me to wonder the likely reason for doing so is to justify for setting a higher pricing. 

Operating Hours: 7.00 am to 7.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Pang Che Chyi and Maggie Bhet, his wife, started this stall serving prawn noodles, in dry and soup version, together with braised pork tails and soft bones. They first started it at Beo Crescent Food Centre and is still having a stall there. Che Chyi used to work in the kitchen of Crystal Jade, a Cantonese restaurant for more than a decade. Their current recipes are the result of experimenting with different recipes and cooking techniques as well as ate their way through countless bowls of prawn noodles across Singapore. The broth is made with fresh sea prawns, pork bones, dried prawns, and herbs for a rich and complex flavor. They are trying to recapture the flavor of the yesteryear that Singapore adored. 

I ordered the smaller portion of Pork Ribs Big Prawns Noodle for $5.00, the larger portion is at $6.00. It consists of a good portion of yellow noodles with 2 medium-sized prawns and a few small pieces of pork ribs, garnished with fried shallots before serving. The prawns tasted relatively fresh, they actually made an effort to devein the prawns and removed the shell of the center part, leaving the tail and head on. The level of spiciness of the chili is not to be underestimated but it added flavor to the noodles.

Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 9.00 pm

Ting Boon Kai, 40 and Keng Pei Sieh, 40, set up this Cze Cha brand about 3 years ago, both of them are childhood friends. They are originally from Sitiawan, Perak and they have been working in Singapore for a long while. There are a total of 4 outlets, located at Jalan Sultan, Hoe Chiang Road, East Coast Lagoon Food Village and Yishun Park Hawker Centre. 

Their menu consists of 40 dishes including signature dishes like white bee hoon, chilli crabmeat seafood horfun and chilli crayfish horfun which I ordered. The pricing is seasonal thus it is better to ask before ordering and the minimum order has to be at least 2 pieces of crayfish, the price at that time was $14.00.

They are likely to be the first in Singapore to serve Chilli Crayfish Horfun, the combination of 2 favorite dishes that most Singaporean loved. The Crayfish Horfun was served with the chilli crab sauce. The wok flavor was not too distinctive, the sauce was too light and kind of diluted.

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