Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Sembawang Hills Food Centre : What to eat?

Sembawang Hills Food Centre is located along Upper Thomson Road and within close proximity to Ang Mo Kio. The nearest MRT station is Yio Chu Kang though there is no direct bus from there. The easiest way to get to this food centre is to go to Ang Mo Kio MRT station and take bus 269 and change to bus 855 or 163 along Yio Chu Kang Road. 

This food centre is an ideal choice if you are looking for a quiet place to have lunch. It is not crowded during lunch as it is not near to any office buildings and factories. You hardly see a queue in this food centre during weekdays but it is usually busier on the weekends. This food centre is just a stone's throw from where I stay and here are some of the stalls that I have been patronizing regularly. 

Operating Hours: 8.30 am to 12.30 pm (Closed on Mondays & Tuesdays)

This is one of the popular stalls that usually sold out quite early. The options available are Braised Duck Rice at $3.50, Braised Duck Rice set at $4.50 or the Duck Porridge at $2.80. The Char Siew Roasted Pork Rice on their signboard is not available. I usually go for the Braised Duck Rice set with a braised egg for 0.60 cents and duck liver for 0.70 cents. You could choose to go with porridge if you do not want to have it with rice. 

The braising sauce was lighter and not as salty with a notable cinnamon and star anise flavor. The duck meat was flavorful with the desired tenderness. The chilli was good, its mild spiciness has brought forth the flavor. They usually sold out by 12.30 pm or earlier, this is a cheap and good choice if you happen to be in this food centre for an early lunch. 

Operating Hours: 7.00 am to 11.30 am (Tue to Fri) / 7.00 am to 6.00 pm (Sat & Sun)

This is another stall that usually closed quite early during weekdays but not so on the weekends. It has been around for 35 years selling just fried carrot cake. The current stall owner took over the stall from his father that started it from a pushcart. Unlike most of the other stalls, they are still handmade the carrot cake though no longer using the wood fire but gas to steam them. There are 3 sizes available at $3.00, $3.50 and $4.00. It was served on a disposable plate with a plastic fork. 

The carrot cake was smashed into smaller pieces then fried with egg. The texture of the carrot cake was delightfully soft and not greasy, with a well-balanced level of sweetness and saltiness and a light eggy flavor. 

Operating Hours: 10.00 am to 7.00 pm (Daily)

The stall is run by a friendly auntie single-handedly, this is usually one of the stalls that often has a short queue particularly during the weekends. There are only 4 items on their menu, Pig's Organ Soup ($4.50), Pig's Stomach Soup ($4.50), Pig's Trotter ($5.50/$7.00) and Vegetable. Rice is available at 0.50 cents per serving, there are the usual white rice and the soy sauce rice. 

The pig's trotter was braised to a perfect softness, the braising sauce was slightly sweet with a right balance of saltiness and not too thick in texture. It tasted homey and comforting.

The Pig's Organ Soup is a popular choice amongst its regular customers. It consists of meatballs, sliced meat, tofu, pig's stomach and liver with salted vegetable and coriander. The soup was not as peppery but rather light and flavorful. This is one of the better Pig's Organ Soup that I have tasted. 

Operating Hours: 8.00 am to 1.00 pm

This stall is manned by an elderly couple and Prawn Mee is the only item on their menu. There is an option for dry or soup at $3 or $4 and also to choose whether to have it with canned razor clams for $4 or $5. You could choose the types of noodles to go with it. It is usually served with ingredients like sliced meat and prawns. I usually requested to have an extra amount of chilli added but its level of spiciness is still quite mild. The soup that is served along has a nice prawny sweet taste. 

Please go early as they usually sold out before 12.30 pm and their off-day is indefinite.

Operating Hours: 8.00 am to 2.00 pm (Daily)

The elderly stall owner used to work at the Michelin-starred Tai Hwa Pork Noodle at Crawford Lane. He started this stall together with his wife in 2015. There are 3 different sizes, the $4.00, $5.00 and $6.00. The smallest portion is usually enough if you are not too hungry. It is served with the ingredient like minced meat, sliced lean meat, pork liver, meatball, dumpling together with the dried sole fish. The noodles were cooked just right to the desired springiness with a hint of the vinegar taste, not as overwhelmed as compared to the one served by the Tai Hwa Pork Noodle. There is a certain similarity in taste and this is a good alternative.

Operating Hours: 6.30 am to 7.00 pm (Daily)

This is the only Muslim-owned stall in this food centre, serving Nasi Padang, Mee Rebus, Mee Siam and Lotong. Their Mee Siam has been voted as one of the top 10 in Singapore. They do not just serve Mee Siam but also Mee Rebus, Nasi Lemak, and Nasi Padang.

I have tried the Mee Rebus and Mee Siam, both are reasonably priced at $2.50 and I actually prefer Mee Siam a bit more. The Mee Siam has a well-balanced sourish and sweetness, a little different than the usual Malay style Mee Siam. The Mee Rebus is another popular choice, it is a little too starchy to my liking though. You could also add Fried Chicken Wing or Begedil at an extra cost. 

Operating Hours: 1.30 pm to 8.00 pm (Closed on Thursdays)

This stall is manned by an elderly couple. Most of the items are handmade and one of the interesting items is the prawn fritter, it is slightly thicker in size as there is a piece of hard-boiled egg in it. There are also the regular items like Ngor Hiang, Prawn Roll, Prawn Cracker that are quite tasty and go well with the accompanying dipping sauce. 

Their fried bee hoon is a must-order, it is mildly seasoned with light soya sauce and with bean sprouts that added a textural contrast. 

Operating Hours: 7.00 am to 12.00 pm (Closed on Fridays)

This is another stall that is sold out rather early. Kway Chap is the only item on their menu, nothing else. There are 2 sizes for selection, the $3.50 and the $4.00. It is served with the standard ingredients like the braised skin, braised meat, small intestine, big intestine, fish cake, tau pok and braised egg together with a bowl of flat rice sheets that is known as "kway". The flavor though light but quite comforting and most of the items were nicely braised. 

The bowl of flat rice sheets was nice, it was quite thin, smooth and cooked to the right texture in served in the braising sauce then topped with the dried shallots. 

GRILL & PASTA (#01-34)
Operating Hours: 12.00 pm to 2.00 pm / 5.30 pm to 8.30 pm (Closed on Mondays)

This stall has been in this food centre for the longest time and is likely to be the first stall serving pasta dishes in the hawker centre. There are a total of 15 pasta dishes on their menu and amongst those, one of the most popular choices is Grilled Chicken ($6.50). It consists of a piece of boneless chicken leg served with penne pasta and vegetable. You could also order other pasta dishes like the comforting Marinara ($7.20) and added a piece of grilled chicken at an extra cost. There were dried chill flakes and dried parsley at the counter for self-service. Parmesan Cheese is available at 0.80 cents per serving. 

Operating Hours: 10.00 am to 7.30 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Though not as popular as the 328 Katong Laksa, this is a better and cheaper alternative. There are 3 sizes for the laksa, the smallest portion at $4 followed by $5 and the largest portion is $6.00. The coconut milk infused gravy is not too rich not too spicy but rather tasty. It is served a portion of thick bee hoon together with slices of fishcake, prawns and a handful of cockles then garnished with chopped laksa leaves and sambal chilli. This stall does not just serves the Katong Laksa but also Fish Soup and Seafood Soup. 

Operating Hours: 11.30 am to 8.00 pm (Closed on Fridays)

This is another stall that has been in this food centre for a long time, manned by a friendly couple and serving only Popiah. It used to be cheaper but it is $1.50 for each piece and $2.00 with added ingredients as of now. The ingredients used were really fresh. The braised turnip was lightly flavored and served along with a handful of crunchy beansprouts, thin slices of chinese sausage, eggs, grounded peanuts and some crunchy bits, firmly wrapped together. 

DOE (#01-22)
Operating Hours: 7.00 am to 3.00 pm (Thursday to Sunday)

This stall is the best-kept secret of this food centre, it is solely manned by a friendly lady single-handedly. It served one of the nicest fruit cakes that I have ever eaten. It is much better than most of the other choices out there. Their other signature item is Cempedak Cake, this is likely to be the only place for such a cake and it is only available on the seasonal basis. Some of the other choices are Coffee Walnut Cake, Butter Cake, Chocolate Cake, Marble Cake, Banana Walnut Cake, Green Tea Chiffon, Black Sesame Chiffon, Cream Cheese Chiffon and more. 

1 comment:

  1. SEMBAWANG TEOCHEW MINCED PORK NOODLE - I remembered this stall used to be named Tai Hwa when they started out. The elderly couple used to sell roast chicken rice and braised duck rice in Bishan - same coffeeshop that sells the chinese Indonesian nasi Padang that you tried before - before moving to this hawkwe center. Opposite his chicken rice stall was Royston Tan’s parents selling poached chicken rice.

    I don't like his noodels anyway. His roast chicken rice still the best. I once contemplate learning how to make chicken rice from him. But now I've discovered an even better one.