Maxwell Food Centre is one of those food centres that both tourists and Singapore locals go to. I say this because some food spots get overly touristy and commercialized, but Maxwell is a convenient go-to for affordable credible Singapore food throughout the day till supper.
Many people venture to Maxwell for Tian Tian Chicken Rice, but there is more to the food centre than that. China Street Fritters, Lao Ban Beancurd, Hoe Kee Congee, Lim Kee Banana Fritters, Fried Sweet Potato Dumplings are some of the regular favourites, many stalls have been there long before the multiple renovations.
Here are 10 Must Try Stalls At Maxwell Food Centre
Tian Tian Chicken Rice – Stall 10 & 11
Probably one of Singapore’s most famous chicken rice stall, Tian Tian’s winning formula to me has to be its rice. Even Anthony Bourdain said that the chicken rice is so fragrant and delicious that it can be eaten on its own. The rice is warm, fluffy, fragrant, good enough to just eat it with the chilli sauce.
HOWEVER, I did think that the standard of Tian Tian has dropped, ironically after winning in the “Gordon Ramsay vs Tian Tian” Hawker Heroes Challenge. Fame has found the stall, tourists all over the world come here to queue for a plate, but some of its initial consistency is lost.
Ah Tai – Stall 07
For chicken rice lovers who need more, you can hop over to 2 stalls away for a comparison.
Ah Tai, who has been cooking the famed Tian Tian Chicken Rice set up another chicken rice shop just 3 stalls away at Maxwell. (I sense lots of drama because he is also a relative of Tian Tian’s boss Ms Loi Mui Yin who sacked him after a quarrel!)
In comparison with with Tian Tian, Ah Tai’s rice is very similar, too similar. It is served with a special sauce poured over, though I noticed the taste of the rice could be uneven at parts. Despite what many reviewers said, Tian Tian’s rice resonates better with me.
Zhen Zhen Porridge – Stall 54
If you liked your porridge thick and dense, cooked with broken grains instead of whole rice, you would find Zhen Zhen’s porridge pleasurable.
Every spoonful of porridge I had eaten was full of ingredients, such as chicken meat (or fish slices) and century egg, and other peripherals of spring onion, shallots and chopped preserved vegetables. That made the porridge un-plain and exciting to eat.
BUT, be prepared to wait for a very, very, very long time. And they close really early. (Then you can walk over to Hoe Kee for pretty tasty congee too.)
Huang Ji – Stall 29
Not just the usual wanton noodles. The noodles at Huang Ji are specially created, imported from a factory at JB, with flavours of Spinach ($4) and Tomato ($5). The orange-red tomato noodles have a refreshing sweet aftertaste.
Huang Ji’s wanton mee seem to be a cross between the Cantonese and local Singapore style, served with plump dumplings and thick stalks of kailan – I like.
Special Shanghai Tim-Sum – Stall 92
This is a taste of my childhood. I used to have their food after borrowing books from Queenstown Library ages ago. Special Shanghai Tim-Sum is better known as “that dumpling stall from Queenstown”, and has since relocated to Maxwell.
I will always go for their fried guotie, which has a unique crispy thin skin, and delicious juicy fillings. Their Hot & Sour Soup ($4) is a hot favourite among loyal customers too. It’s thick, eggy and only slightly spicy, reeking of simple home-cooked goodness.
Jin Hua Sliced Fish Bee Hoon – Stall 77
Jin Hua prepares Cantonese style fish head bee hoon soup, and its selling point is in its hot piping milk fish broth. At $4.50 per bowl, this comes with a few chunks of fried fish, which tastes really succulent and yummy when it absorbs all the thick soup. The thick vermicelli is interesting thinner, and cooked more al dente than the usual.
Be prepared to wait even during non-peak hours (took me 20 min when I went about 11:30am), as the chef cooks only three pots at the time.
Ye Lai Xiang Tasty Barbecue – Stall 94
That succulent chicken chop, poured over with a special brown sauce with butter bun and canned beans, is so old school. They are the pioneers in introducing Hainanese western food in hawker centres, from the early days in Tanglin Halt and Margaret Drive.
The recipe is said to be developed by the late master chef who was a head chef in the British Navy. Portions are generous, and meats evenly grilled. One of the best Hainanese Western food stalls you can find in Singapore.
Guan’s Mee Pok – Stall 99
I did wonder if this is related to the Ah Guan Mee Pok previously at Jalan Besar. There are some stark similarities in terms of taste and seasoning, but the components that go into the bowls are different. Guan’s include Japanese ajitama style egg, with options of abalone, fish maw and sea prawns.
A satisfying modern take on the mee pok, and if you have space, try the Teochew dumpling soup with come with traces of deep fried cuttlefish for that extra flavour.
Maxwell Fuzhou Oyster Cake – Stall 05
We hardly see the Fuzhou Oyster Cake around anymore. It is a dying trait and food. So we MUST appreciate this stall.
For $2, you get a round shaped snack, deep fried crispy after topped with peanuts. The treasure comes when you take your first bite, revealing a soft savoury inside of oysters and minced pork. If it is less oily, I would take two at a go.
Hum Jin Pang Stall 28
What? $1 for 6 pieces of Hum Chin Pang (or peng)… The economy of inflation did not work on this stall, but you have to fry the dough pieces yourself. Uncle was frying it for me though.
These sweet dough are kneaded on the spot, deep fried in very hot oil, sugar coated and served in a bag of 6. Superb old school snack, some with red bean paste, the other with five spice salt.
Any other stalls at Maxwell which are your favourites?
Maxwell Food Centre
1 Kadayanallur St, Singapore 069184 (Chinatown MRT)
(At the corner of Maxwell Road and South Bridge Road)
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