It is heartening to see young hawkers going places, especially when it is not easy work. And great to see some creativity in how our local food can be presented. (Really a ”FoodieMakeover”)
Ah Lock Tofu run by the young Lee Lock Teng, first started at Yishun Park Hawker Centre as part of Timbre’s incubator programme for first time F&B ‘hawkerpreneurs’.
The signature dish was an interesting Hakka Tofu Rice Bowl, a combination of Hakka-style Yong Tau Foo and elements of Hakka Thunder Tea Rice (lei cha fan).
The Yong Tau Foo recipe was from his grandmother, and he decided to marry the two types of food items into a rice bowl.
You can say this is “Hakka-style Donburi”.
He eventually roped in his brothers to help, and the “Lock” brothers now have a full-fledged café-eatery at the basement of Tanjong Pagar Centre.
The signature item available there is the Hakka Tofu Bowl ($7.80) and an option which comes with Thunder Tea Soup for an additional dollar.
While this is a new dish, it still gives you the sense of familiarity and comfort.
On top of a bed of Japanese short-grain rice (I wished it was warmer), are pieces of “Yong Tau Foo” created by stuffing minced pork belly, tofu and taupok together and deep-fried.
You get elements of all three within – meaty, crispy and some softness from the tofu.
There are vegetables of manicai (sweet leaf) and long beans which you would find in Thunder Tea Rice incorporated, then drizzled over with savoury sauce.
A part of me wished there was a noodle or even just soup option, and another for more meat somehow for a more substantial meal.
I am typically not a Min Jiang Kueh (a type of local pancake) person, but got it since it was part of a set.
Offerings included Original with peanuts filling, Charcoal with coconut, and Green Tea with red bean.
Then I found myself loving the Green Tea and Red Bean Pancake, the pancake layer soft and fluffy, while the red bean was moist and not too sweet.
Show our local hawkerpreneurs some love, and I think you would love those crispy pieces and local pancakes.
Ah Lock & Co
7 Wallich St, #B2-22/23/24 Tanjong Pagar Centre Singapore 078884
Tel: +65 8826 0244
Opening Hours: 7.30 am – 8.30 pm (Mon – Fri), 11.30 am – 8.30pm (Sat), Closed Sun