Of all the iconic hawker food in Singapore, I find that Singaporeans feel most strongly for their Hokkien Mee, Char Kway Teow and definitely Yong Tau Foo 酿豆腐. (So, I am typing this with a bit of anxiousness in my heart.)
Like HOW COME you didn’t include my favourite Yong Tau Foo? (Wait, next round, okay? I am doing this alone.)
Actually, the thing about Yong Tau Foo depends on the ingredients you pick, and time of the day you head down (usually at night, some stalls’ offerings are not that fresh as compared to during daytime.)
Yong Tau Foo is a Hakka Chinese delight that is available in most of the hawker centres and food courts in Singapore, due to its variety and perceived healthiness (you don’t go pick all the deep-fried food and pour all the sauce within lah).
Traditional versions of Yong Tau Foo consist of tofu cubes stuffed with fish paste and minced meat, then braised or deep-fried.
The tofu-licious treats are rich and hearty, and loved by locals and tourists alike. You can get Yong Tau Foo with gravy or soup, as well as a dry variety with or without the fried ingredients.
Some of the more well-known Yong Tau Foo stalls include Xi Xiang Feng Yong Tau Foo 喜相逢 (Ang Mo Kio Ave 6), Da Jie (354 Clementi Ave 2), Koo Kee Yong Tow Foo (People’s Park Food Centre), Fatty Aunt Yong Tau Foo (147 Silat Ave), Orchard Yong Tau Fu (Cuppage Plaza), Fong Yong Tau Foo (Bukit Merah Central), 181 Yong Tau Fu, Cantonese Delights (Hong Lim Food Centre), Zhen Jie Hakka Yong Dou Fu (Amoy Street Food Centre), Lao Huang Hakka Yong Tau Fu (North Bridge Road Market and Food Centre), Haw Kee Yong Tau Foo (Geylang Bahru Market), Seng Kee Family Restaurant (Yishun Central 1 Block 925), Goldhill Hakka Restaurant (299A Changi Road), Hup Chong Hakka Yong Dau Foo (Toa Payoh Lor 1 Blk 124), 928 Ngee Fou Restaurant (Upper Thomson), 928 Ampang Yong Tau Foo, and Ampang Niang Tou Fu (East Coast).
Here are 10 more:
Yong Xiang Xing Dou Fu
Blk 32 New Market Rd, People’s Park Complex Food Centre, #01-1084, Singapore 050032
Opening Hours: 1pm – 4pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
There are a couple of Yong Tau Foo hawker stalls that can be found at People’s Park Complex Food Centre, but Yong Xiang Xing Dou Fu enjoys the longest queue and also the shortest opening hours.
It only opens for 3 hours a day, starting from 1pm (closed on Mondays).
You may already find a small queue forming even before its official opening hour.
They only have one choice on their menu and they do full justice with it, whether it is the freshness and generosity of ingredients or the delicate and perfect balance of flavours.
Their Yong Tau Foo with Soup ($4.50) comes served without any heavy carbs like noodles or bee hoon.
I found it a great option for those who are looking for something low carbs and low calories for lunch.
The soup while light, was surprisingly ”qing” and tasty.
There are a couple of fixed items within from fishballs, soft beancurd to deep-fried bean curd.
The deep-fried bean curd was my favourite ingredient, beautiful golden-brown, along with a great tasting tofu in silky consistency that melts in your mouth. Some may find this too ‘simple’ (especially if they are more zhong kou wei”), but its deliciousness is in its subtlety.
Poy Kee Yong Tau Foo
Blk 32 New Market Rd, People’s Park Complex Food Centre, #01-1066, Singapore 050032
Opening Hours: 11am – 7pm (Mon – Sun)
This is the other popular Yong Tau Foo stall at People’s Park Complex Food Centre.
Flavorsome soup with the springiest fishballs and noodles.
This is a very famous stall for a number of reasons. Most people visit this particular stall to get one mean serving of Yong Tau Foo without having to stand in an overly long line (compared to Yong Xiang Xing).
Although their dish is in high demand, they work through a highly productive and efficient working system that cuts the waiting time short.
And it also comes with choices of mee kia or mee pok (Not all YTF stalls offer these two types.)
I got the dry version of Yong Tau Foo with mee pok noodles ($3.50, $4.50/$5.50). I was surprised at how generously filled and satiating for its price.
The delicious stock was complemented well by crispy ikan bilis with a nice savoury balance. Not that salty at all.
The soup carried tastes of anchovies and soybeans, but the star of the dish was definitely the springy and chewy fishballs, and the taupok with fresh fish paste. I was more indifferent towards the noodles.
Bai Nian Niang Dou Fu
270 Queen Street, Albert Food Centre, #01-106, Singapore 180270
Tel: +65 9035 1835
Opening Hours: 9am – 8pm (Mon – Sun)
Bai Nian Niang Dou Foo easily has the longest queue at Albert Food Centre. It used to be semi-popular, but line wasn’t this long. Well, its popularity was largely to food bloggers and instagrammers who raved about this ‘hidden’ place a few years back.
Now, it has a couple of branches in Singapore, and perhaps standard has not been as consistent as before.
Unless most other Yong Tau Foo stalls where you can pick and this, the bowl here ($4.50 – 5.50) comes with more or less fixed choices from bitter gourd, prawn paste, pork paste, beancurd, and a combination of “gold, white and black” rolls.
What draws customers would be its clean-tasting clear soup that is both light and flavourful, and said not to contain added MSG.
My favourite item is the prawn paste pieces (like prawn balls), which have that sweet taste and succulent bite.
Xiu Ji Ikan Bilis Yong Tau Fu 秀記江魚仔釀豆腐
335 Smith St, #02-88, Singapore 050335
Opening Hours: 5:45am – 3pm (Mon – Sun)
Xiu Ji Ikan Bilis Yong Tau Fu is one of those stalls that enjoy the longest queues at Chinatown Complex Food Centre.
Note: While its closing hours state 3pm, the food is sometimes sold out by 2pm.
Their Yong Tau Foo, priced at $3.00 with 6 pieces (cannot choose your own) with bee hoon or noodles is a class of its own.
Part of the fact is that they make their own special fish paste which adds that level of freshness of ‘genuine’ flavour, instead of using the factory-made varieties.
Those deep-fried anchovies also add some flavours and crunch.
You can also get a bitter gourd or eggplant included to your order for an additional $0.50. The soup while clear, was tasty and didn’t taste overly salty.
Rong Xing Yong Tau Fu
Tanjong Pagar Plaza, Block 6 #02-04, Singapore 081006
Opening Hours: 7am – 2.30pm (Tues – Sat), Closed Sun, Mon
One of Tanjong Pagar Food Centre’s most popular stall, which is slightly under-rated.
Note: A family member also opened a Rong Xing Hakka Yong Tau Fu located at the Taman Jurong Market & Food Centre but let’s leave the family drama out of this.
A piece goes for 70 cents here, with a minimum order of $3.50.
The best part of this dish here would be the soup with umami, cooked with soya beans for that light sweetness. In fact, you would find quite a number of soft soya beans within the soup which I enjoyed.
If you are undecided at what pieces to choose from, the all-time favourite includes the meat balls (both deep-fried and soup versions – they are quite bouncy and juicy) and fried tau-kee.
Another winning aspect is the mixture of sweet dark sauce and chilli – added with dried shrimps.
Soon Li Yong Tau Foo
115 Bukit Merah View, #01-78 Bukit Merah View Market & Hawker Centre, Singapore 151115
Opening Hours: 12am – 3am (Note: Hours vary and stall may open later than midnight, and close earlier than indicated.)
Where do I even start?
Contrary to its name “Soon Li” 顺利, which in Chinese means “smooth flowing”, there is nothing “shun li” about the whole buying process.
First things first, this Yong Tau Foo supposedly opens at midnight, and closes about 3am. HOWEVER, it can change its operating hours as and when.
It is best to go with at least one other person to command and conquer OR divide and conquer. There are supposedly 2 queues – one to pick items on the right, one to pay on the left.
An indicative pricing could be anything from $8 to $20 plus.
The star of the Yong Tau Foo to me was the soup base, cooked with deep fried ikan billis and pork belly. Tasty, full of flavours, surprisingly not overly salty or oily.
As for the items themselves, I say… go for the pork belly.
My Favourite Café
Lucky Plaza #06-047, 304 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238863
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 6pm (Mon – Sun)
Those who are in the know would be familiar with Lucky Plaza’s very popular My Favourite Café Yong Tau Foo stall, attracting long queues during lunch time.
Fans of this Yong Tau Foo stall would know they are known for TWO signature items – the handmade meatballs and Korean mushrooms.
All their items are at 60 cents each. The rest are the standard beancurd, chili, bitter gourd, seaweed wrapped chicken, mushroom ball, kang kong… nothing very special in that aspect.
The meatballs are slightly smaller than a ping pong ball, deep fried till crispy while the inner is filled with minced meat. Rather substantial and meaty.
Get the freshly fried batch, and you would be in cloud nine. Some if left in the open for too long, would taste ‘over-rated’.
My mee kia was surprisingly tasty, tossed in fragrant oil, flavoursome enough that you do not need to add too much of the sweet sauce. Avoid peak hours.
Tiong Bahru Yong Tao Hu
56 Eng Hoon Street, #01-46, Singapore 160056
Tel: +65 8833 2282
Opening Hours: 7am – 9pm (Mon – Sat), 7am – 9:30pm (Sun)
Homely and comforting handmade Yong Tau Ho that’ll make you keep coming back for more.
This old school food place is one of the top favourites of locals.
They are successfully operating since 1989, and are quite famous for their homemade fishballs and comforting bowls of soup to warm your bellies and heart. It used to be a stall, but now they have expanded to take over the entire coffeeshop.
Note that there are only 4 choices available, beehoon in soup or dry, or ingredients only in soup or dry. They are priced at $5 and $7. Additional vegetables at $1.
The soup version of Yong Tao Hu from this stall is the prefect comfort food for rainy days.
You can expect four fixed ingredients in the bowl. People like their bouncy homemade fishballs made from yellowtail and wolf herring, though I personally prefer the soft tau kee with succulent fish paste wrapped within.
The beehoon is not bad here as well. The only thing is I find the soup slightly on the saltier side sometimes, and it used to taste much better before expansion.
strong>Golden Mile Special Yong Tau Foo
#B1-44 Golden Mile Food Centre, 505 Beach Rd, Singapore 199583
Opening Hours: 10:45am – 3pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun
This food stall at Golden Mile Food Centre is family owned, established since 1958 with genuine and authentic recipe of Yong Tau Foo passed down from generations and improved to perfection.
They receive a swarm of loyal customers every day, and continue to brighten their day with one of the best Yong Tau Foo servings in town.
They have a Teochew fish-based variety of Yong Tau Foo ($0.50/piece with minimum of 8).
The dish is prepared with homemade ingredients and comforting and homely flavours. I loved the fresh taste of fishballs and fish paste, made with yellowtail dish meat with no additional flour or addictive. Yes, just pure fish meat.
Their pig intestines are also one of the most popular items you can add.
The fish soup to me was more average though, maybe because it lacked that soy bean sweetness or I went too early in the morning. Maybe next time I would order the dry version as I found the deep-fried wanton and tau kee soaked within the soup as well. Bummer.
Fu Lin Bar
127 Telok Ayer Street Singapore 068596 (Tanjong Pagar, Telok Ayer MRT)
Opening Hours: 10am – 3pm (Mon – Sat), Yong Tau Foo in the day, Tapas Bar opens after 3pm, Closed Sun
Fu Lin’s style is a class of their own – a dry version where the items are covered in gooey brown minced chicken gravy made from a secret recipe.
A 6-piece set with Signature Noodles cost $6.00+. Another thing to note: all their items are DEEP-FRIED #caloriealert. (Unless there is a special request for them to be boiled instead.)
The ‘signature noodles’ turned out to be thick bee hoon in a starchy sauce similar to beef noodles.
I found the sauce both appetising and salty.
No wonder the wide selection of deep fried items such as you tiao and deep fried bean curd skin which would absorb the ‘zup’ (sauce) like a sponge.
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