In line with the “Phase 2 (Heightened Alert)” and safe distancing measures in Singapore, dining in within hawker centres is disallowed till 13 June 2021.
Well, we can still make hawker food purchases via delivery or takeaways – better known as “dabao” 打包 or “tapao” in Singlish lingo.
When taking-out, customers are also encouraged to bring your own container to reduce the use of disposable packaging and adopt a more environmentally-friendly measure. (However, do remember to clean your containers thoroughly for good hygiene and prevent any cross-contamination.)
You can also join the Hawkers United – Dabao 2020 where hawkers with little marketing tools can post their latest delivery mechanics to reach out to the greater public.
Here are 10 Singapore Hawker Food that may just taste better after DABAO: (Note: opening hours stated are indicative of their usual operational hours, and some stalls may close earlier during this period)
Dry Hokkien Mee
Hokkien Mee can divide fans – there are supporters of the wet and saucy; while others enjoy the dry and flavourful.
Some versions may work out better after dabao, in which the noodles would have absorb more of that prawn stock. Plus, imagine the fragrance when you first open that packet of warm noodles.
The Hokkien Mee at Golden Mile Food Centre stands out for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is cooked fresh on order. Secondly, the method of preparation is different, as the noodles are fried along with the stock until they completely absorb the whole flavour.
This gives you a rich taste in every mouthful.
The Fried Hokkien Mee ($4) also comes with delicious chilli for a tasteful kick to the noodles. 12 Hokkien Mee In Singapore
Hainan Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee
505 Beach Rd, #B1-34 Golden Mile Food Centre, Singapore 199583
Tel: +65 62946798
Opening Hours: 10am – 3pm (Mon), 10am – 5pm (Tues, Thurs – Sun), Closed Wed
Bedok Chwee Kueh is a popular stall with branches island-wide (so you can dabao from the stall nearest you). The stall at Bedok Interchange is the main outlet, famed for its soft, light and supple chwee kuehs.
The stall has been listed in Michelin Bib Gourmand Singapore 2019, the first Chwee Kueh stall to be awarded.
Often eaten as breakfast fare, the Chwee Kueh ($0.50 per piece, buy in 2, 3, or 4 pieces) is mainly rice flour and water.
One thing you would note is Bedok’s version looks bigger and has a softer, more wobbly, almost melt-in-mouth texture.
The chai poh has a light crunch, and the toasted sesame seeds add a nice aroma and flavour. Add a bit of the sambal chili with a pronounced dried shrimp taste for some gentle heat. Bedok Chwee Kueh (Bedok Interchange Food Centre)
Bedok Chwee Kueh 勿洛水粿
208 New Upper Changi Road, #01-19 Bedok Interchange Hawker Centre, Singapore 460207
Opening Hours: 6:30am – 6:30pm (Mon – Sun)
Braised Duck Rice
Duck Rice with all that braised sauce sounds like a good idea.
Located at the Ghim Moh Market and Food Centre (and another branch at Chong Pang Food Centre), Chuan Kee Boneless Braised Duck is one of the most popular stalls there, and is also listed under the Michelin Bib Gourmand.
Specialising in Teochew-style braised duck only i.e. there is no roast duck nor other roast meats in the menu, Chuan Kee serves all duck boneles.
Its signature dish Chuan Kee Duck Rice ($3, $4, $5) features braised duck coated in a dark and luscious sauce, topped over fluffy rice cooked in a Hokkien style of lor (sauce) thickened with a little starch. Chuan Kee Boneless Braised Duck (Ghim Moh)
Chuan Kee Boneless Braised Duck
Ghim Moh Market and Food Centre #01-04, Block 20 Ghim Moh Road, Singapore 270020
Opening Hours: 10am – 8pm (Fri – Wed), Closed Thurs & last Sun of every month
For those who are unfamiliar, Nasi Padang consists of steamed rice served with various choices of pre-cooked dishes, typically with a display with rows of stacked food.
Hjh Maimunah Restaurant currently delivers their kampung-style Malay cuisine islandwide, in which you can create your own Nasi Padang combo.
Curry with rice is so sedap.
The signature dishes here include the Juicy Sundanese Grilled Chicken, Lemak Siput (a type of shellfish called needle snails cooked in spicy coconut gravy), Beef Rendang (braised beef cooked in coconut milk and spices) and variety of Barbecued Fish.
You can also order ala-carte dishes such as Sambal Goreng (stir fry with vegetables), Tahu Telur (bean curd omelette with spicy sauce), Sotong Hitam (squid cooked in squid ink) and Sup Buntut (oxtail soup). Hjh Maimunah Restaurant (Jalan Pisang )
Hjh Maimunah Restaurant @ Jalan Pisang
11 & 15 Jalan Pisang Singapore 199078
Tel : +65 6297 4294
Opening Hours: 7am – 8pm (Mon – Sat) Closed Sun
Black Carrot Cake
Is it true that Black Carrot Cake tastes better than White Carrot Cake after dabao. Perhaps so, because the Black version is usually saucier.
While Song Zhou gets their carrot cake from a supplier and quality may not be consistent depending on who’s frying it, their Black Carrot Cake probably still ranks as one of the tops you can find in Singapore.
Accordingly, they have a secret which makes their carrot cake cubes softer and therefore delicious.
The pieces are fried with fresh chai poh and garlic, and later with egg batter, fish sauce and black sweet sauce.
Most people would order the Black ($3, $3.50, extra egg $0.50) in which each piece would be coated with the sweetness from the sauce, and slightly charred eggs.
A good balance of savoury and sweet. Get the extra eggs version. 10 Must-Try FRIED CARROT CAKE aka CHAI TOW KWAY In Singapore
Song Zhou Fried Carrot Cake
208 New Upper Changi Road, #01-37 Bedok Interchange Hawker Centre, Singapore 462208
Opening Hours: 7am – 8pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun
Congee (without egg) may be a good option for deliveries and dabao because they can’t turn soggy or nua, and somehow less burning hot and more creamy.
Sin Heng Kee takes up an entire coffeeshop at Hougang Street 61, and has another branch at Yishun Junction 9.
They serve extremely thick concoction, which is the result of hours and hours of boiling to right consistency.
The recommended bowl is the Signature Porridge ($5) which includes a mixture of pig’s organs, pork slices and meat balls; while you can also order the Century Egg with Lean Meat, Sliced Fish or Triple Egg Porridge ($4, $4.50).
The congee itself could be a bit bland to some, but the texture was nicely-creamy. 10 Must-Try Congee In Singapore
Sin Heng Kee
Blk 685 Hougang Street 61, Singapore 530685
Tel: +65 9118 1569
Opening Hours: 7am – 9:30pm (Mon – Sun)
It is a mystery how the legendary Hainanese curry rice was invented. But one must agree that after you dabao this and all that curry and braised sauce comes together, the rice just becomes more addictive.
Scissors Cut Curry Rice with a couple of branches around Singapore is famous for its clacking, metallic snapping sound of the scissors… and of course its rice.
While the curry rice looks extremely unappetizing and ugly, fans say they taste heavenly, covered with gooey sauces and toppings of your choice.
My personal favourite dish was the Braised Pork, sliced into thin rectangular shapes, of tender meat braised in a dark greasy sauce. The cabbage was cooked till pale green and squashy, but tastefully soft.
Scissors Cut Curry Rice
229 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208905
Tel: +65 9826 1464
Opening Hours: 11am – 3:30am
Mee Pok Tah
Anyone enjoy eating Mee Pok Tah out of that plastic bag anyway? (You know, that one with the coloured handle?)
It is not only the saucy things that may work well dabao, the drier food items such as Mee Pok Tah (dry) with that coat of pork lard may taste better a while.
Ru Ji Kitchen first started at Holland Drive, Blk 44 #02-28, and now 3 other outlets in Singapore – Old Airport Rd, Blk 51 #01-37, Redhill Lane, Blk 85 #01-25, and Toa Payoh Lor 7, Blk 22 #01-58.
I read that there are quite differing qualities among the 4 stalls; and I tried both the original Holland Drive and Old Airport Road outlets.
Being freshly made, the fishballs and fishcake are of great quality. The famed fishballs begin as a beaten mixture of fish paste, using only pure fish meat with no flour extenders added.
The spicy, savoury sauce at the bottom of the noodles are just enough to coat the noodles once mixed. The pork lard also provides that pleasant crunch. 10 Must-Try FISHBALL MEEPOK In Singapore
Ru Ji Kitchen
44 Holland Drive #02-28/29, Singapore 270044
Tel: +65 9435 0820
Opening Hours: 7am – 1pm (Tue – Sun), Closed Mon
Dry Ban Mian
While Ban Mian in soup is typically the more popular version, why not try a Dry Ban Mian?
Bossi Ban Mian with a few branches in Singapore is quite known for the dry version.
The owner and cook who is originally from Ipoh uses a recipe passed down by his mother. Taking the origin and heritage of the dish very seriously, this stall serves delicious variations of the dish with authentic and traditional flavours.
There are choices of prawn, sliced fish, clam, sliced abalone (priced at $4, $5 or $6), with choices of ban mian, U-mian, mian fen guo, or yee mian.
Their dry Ban Mian ($4) comes in a disposable container (strange) with minced pork, crispy ikan billis, tossed in a homemade green chili padi dip along with some vinegar and garlic to enhance the flavours.
The noodles, while ordered from a factory, was made to specification and had an al dente bite. 10 Delicious DRY BAN MIAN In Singapore
Bossi Ban Mian
49A Serangoon Garden Way, #01-18, Singapore 555945
Tel: +65 8833 8118
Opening Hours: 9am – 3pm (Tues), 9am – 9pm (Thurs – Mon), Closed Wed
Rice Dumplings, otherwise called “Zong Zi” or “Bak Chang” are traditionally eaten during the Duanwu Festival / Dragon Boat Festival, which falls on the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar. Long story short: It was eaten to commemorate the death of Qu Yuan, a famous Chinese poet from the kingdom of Chu during the Warring States period.
In 2021, the day will be 14 June (Mon). Will we get to dine-in that day?
Bak Zhang will work at home because you can always easily steam them, and they are probably good to keep for a day or two more.
Hoo Kee Rice Dumplings has been around since the 1940s, and relocated to the Amoy Street Food Centre in the 1980s where it has remained ever since.
These come in a number of flavours including Original, Salted Egg Yolk as well as mushrooms ($2.80 for original, $3.60 for salted egg yolk or mushrooms).
The Hokkien style of rice dumplings are generally darker and more robust in flavours than the Nyonya or Cantonese counterparts.
They are wrapped in fragrant bamboo leaves, filled with a blend of moist glutinous rice with savoury meat, Shitake mushrooms, salted duck eggs, and crunchy chestnuts. Hoo Kee Rice Dumplings (Amoy Street Food Centre)
Hoo Kee Bak Zhang
Amoy Street Food Centre #01-18, 7 Maxwell Road Singapore 069111
Tel: +65 6221 1155
Opening Hours: 11am – 3pm (Mon – Sat). Closed on Sun
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