Singaporeans know that being hawkers is no easy job – long hours, cramped spaces, laborious, may not fetch a stable income. Unless you make it big.
Yet, we also see more young ‘hawkerpreneurs’ leaving their comfortable day jobs to slog it out at hawker stalls, in the name of passion and preserving our local food culture (and hopefully make some money).
The benefits of more ‘hawkerpreneurs’ in Singapore, is that many of these young blood start injecting creativity and personality into familiar hawker food. Sumo Prawn Noodles, and Salted Egg with Chilli Crab sauced Fish and Chick are some positive examples.
Their effort paid off with long queues and support.
Here are some 10 Hipster Hawker Food By Hawkerpreneurs In Singapore/strong>. There are more, so feel free to share those worthy with me.
Fish Ball Story
Timbre+ 73A Ayer Rajah Crescent #01-32, JTC LaunchPad @ one-north Singapore 139957
Tel: +65 9800 5036
Opening Hours: 8.0am to 6:00pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun
Michelin Bib Gourmand Handmade Fishballs
Straight-talker Douglas Ng from The Fish Ball Story who originally had a stall at Golden Mile Food Centre, had gotten much media attention, from Makansutra to The New Paper, for being one who made fishballs by hand.
He now operates two stalls with his sister, who has a degree in hospitality.
The fishballs are made at wee hours in the morning by Douglas, using all pure fish meat and no flour, which he proudly said “Quan yong gong fu da chu lai de”, which means they were all produced by true skills.
What I really like about this humble bowl of meepok was the sauce and seasoning, the magic being the homemade sambal chilli paste fried with dried shrimps. Their original Golden Mile stall (which has moved) was listed in the the Singapore Michelin Bib Gourmand Guide.
A Noodle Story
Amoy Street Food Centre #01-39 7 Maxwell Road Singapore 069111 (Tanjong Pagar MRT Exit G)
Opening Hours: 11:15am – 2:30pm, 5:30pm – 7:30pm (Mon – Fri), 10:30am – 1:30pm (Sat) , Closed Sun, PH
Singapore Style Ramen
Opened by young hawkerpreneurs Gwern Khoo and Ben Tham who met at Shatec, A Noodle Story serves “Singapore-style ramen” ($7.00, $9.00) that was also listed in the Singapore Michelin Bib Gourmand Guide. Like a dream come true.
A bowl with Japanese style charshu, soy-flavoured braised egg, Hong Kong style wontons, potato wrapper prawn fritter for that crunch.
Aesthetically pleasing and well-arranged, for a hawker stall. I like it – you don’t get a bowl like this anywhere else.
You understand why there is always a long queue, every bowl was patiently cooked and arranged, and you could feel the pride in their work.
Timbre+ 73A Ayer Rajah Crescent #01-06, JTC LaunchPad @ one-north Singapore 139957
Opening Hours: 7:30am – 6:00pm
Tomato Wanton Noodles
Wong Kee was previously from Maxwell Food Centre, and has moved to Timbre+.
Current owner Kelly Wong was working in the bank industry, and decided to help her father in the stall.
The 3 coloured noodles at Wong Kee are specially created, imported from a factory at JB, with flavours of Spinach and Tomato. The orange-red tomato noodles have a refreshing sweet aftertaste, somewhat like Italian pasta.
Its wanton mee seem to be a cross between the Cantonese and local Singapore style, served with plump dumplings and thick stalks of kailan.
Ah Bong Italian
103 Beach Rd, #01-02 (below Marrison hotel), Singapore 189704 (Tan Quee Lan Street area)
Opening Hours: 12pm – 2pm, 6pm – 9pm (Mon – Sun)
Italian Pasta With Some Singapore Flavours
This Italian pasta café which is located on Tan Quee Lan Street started off as a food stall in a Tiong Bahru coffeeshop selling pastas and crème brulee at affordable prices. (The kopitiam stall has ceased operations.)
Owner Chris holds a degree from the London School of Economics, and also a Diploma in Culinary Arts from at-Sunrice. Additionally, he has trained under three Michelin star chef Bruno Menard at La Cantine.
Don’t call him Ah Bong though. That is actually the nickname of his 3 year old daughter.
The pasta variety changes daily, though some of the favourites include Crab Meat Aglio Olio ($14), Atas Duck Ragu ($16), Carbonara ($10), Barramundi Cream ($13) and Fresh Pesto ($12).
2 Science Park Drive, Ascent, Singapore Science Park 1 #01-28, Singapore 118222
Tel: +65 6264 5114
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 5:30pm (Mon – Fri), Closed Sat – Sun
Amoy Food Centre #02-78
Tel: +65 8100 6218
Opening Hours: 7:30am – 2:30pm (Mon – Fri), Closed Sat – Sun
Siblings Faye, Anna and Jack Sai got into the radar by being young hawkers selling sock-brewed coffee in Singapore, with the kopi drinks added with a twist.
Expect kopi with varieties from Black Sesame, Taro Milk, Mint, Melon Milk, Masala and Almond Ginger.
Coffee Break was established by their father at Boon Tat Street, which was later re-located to Amoy Street Food Centre. Their grandfather also owned a coffee shop called San Hai Yuan more than 80 years ago.
The stall has expanded with an air-conditioned cafe at Science Park, and a vintage sign from the old shop hangs on the side wall of the cafe.
No. 1 Cantonment Road #01-01 The Pinnacle @ Duxton, Singapore 080001 (Tanjong Pagar MRT)
Tel: +65 9667 0368
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 9pm Daily
Chilli Crab And Salted Egg Crispy Wings
Before he opened Two Wings which serves up crispy chicken wings, owner Jeremy Loh persuaded his granduncle for his well-kept secret recipe of 40 years, trained for six months under him, and gave it slight twists – such as using bigger wings and a spicier homemade chicken rice type chilli sauce.
Jeremy claims that every single wing is massaged early in the morning to “drain the blood off”, while “others simply soak them in water”. He uses larger wings from Brazil, a higher cost vegetable oil, and a particular brand of sesame oil.
Two Wings now offers new sauces of salted egg and chilli crab, though prices have gone up, and portion lesser that days of the beginnings.
Ah Hoe Mee Pok
243 Cantonment Road, Singapore 089770
Opening hours: 11am – 3pm, 6pm – 9pm (Mon – Thurs, Sat), 11am – 3pm, 6pm – 10pm (Fri), Closed Sun
Blk 710 Clementi West Street 2, Weng Kwang Coffeeshop, Singapore 120710
Opening Hours: 7am – 4pm (Mon – Tues, Thurs – Sun), Closed Wed
Japanese Style Mee Pok
Ah Hoe Mee Pok at Clementi West got into the foodie limelight, as it was highlighted that a Japanese man and his daughter, Mr Naoji Kuribara and Reina were behind the stall.
Certainly very unusual to have Japanese cook up a very local fare of Bak Chor Mee (BCM), especially in a hot and humble coffeeshop stall.
According to ieatishootipost, Mr Kuribara learned his BCM skills from owner (now co-partners) of Ah Hoe Mee Pok, and was even his apprentice for 6 months.
I ordered the Mee Pok with Miso, which is a steal at $6 with generous ingredients of pork balls, minced meat, canned abalone slices and a slice of char siew.
Truly Test Kitchen
Hainanese Pork Chop Curry Rice
Hawkerpreneurs Joel and Deniece who were ex-Forex traders, left their comfortable jobs to sell Hainanese Curry Rice at Telok Blangah Food Centre.
They subsequently set up a Truly Test Kitchen concept, which unfortunately has ceased serving walk-in customers, and is now offering delivery-only services via online platforms.
Look out for their Pork Chop Curry Rice Bowl, Crispy Pork Belly Curry Rice Bowl, Braised Pork Belly Curry Rice Bowl and Fried Chicken Chop Curry Rice Bowl when you order their food online.
The items are very affordable, mostly below $5.
While their Test Kitchen might not have worked as they wanted to (it is tough), we hope that the owners can keep their flames and passion alive.
Jin Ji Teochew Braised Duck & Kway Chap
Blk 335, Smith Street #02-156 (Chinatown Complex ) Singapore 005335
Opening Hours: 10:00am – 7:00pm (Mon – Thurs, Sat – Sun), Closed Fri
Braised Duck Rice Bento
While Jin Ji Teochew Braised Duck was established in 1980 and has been in business for more than 30 years, 2nd generation owner Melvin Chew continues to give it a new spin.
The stall at Chinatown Complex at Smith Street specialises in Teochew braised duck rice and kway chap.
What has attracted some young customers and media coverage is the Duck Rice Bento ($8) – complete with their signature savoury braised duck, beancurd, yam rice balls, and lava eggs with runny yolk.
One Kueh At A Time
#02-61 Berseh Food Centre 166 Jalan Besar Singapore 208877
Opening Hours: 8am – 1pm (Wed – Sun), Closed Mon – Tues
Artisanal Soon Kueh
These are artisanal Soon Kuehs, Ku Chai Kuehs and Peng Kuehs, handmade one at the time, thus the name of the stall.
Owner Nick Soon was in the insurance business, but wanted to keep his mother’s recipe and legacy going on.
Their Kuehs are sold for $1.00 or $1.20. While smaller in size than usual, they are packed with ingredients and quality that you cannot find elsewhere. A gem really.
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