After covering quite a number of the more famous hawker centres in Singapore, I made it a point to explore some of the less-covered food centres this year.
This ‘mission’ brought me to Empress Place Food Centre, also known to many as Farrer Road Food Centre due to its prime location at the road with the same name.
But it is not as talk-about and may even miss it if you drive past. I wont’ be surprised if many of the younger Singaporeans have never heard of this food centre before.
While it is not exactly a big food centre, there is still quite a wide variety of local hawker delights, as well as some unique and ethnic dishes at affordable prices.
The only tricky thing is, many of the stalls either close very early (before the published closing time) or don’t even open often. (So I didn’t manage to include some of the other known stalls such as Chicks n Chops because I went there for several times at different hours of the day, because they are not opened.)
Anyway, head over there to dabao or bookmark the stalls to visit after the “Phase 1” period is over, and all is safe again.
Ah Wing Wanton Mee
7 Empress Rd, #01-108, Singapore 260007
Tel: +65 9749 8315
Opening Hours: 7:45am – 2:30pm (Mon– Wed, Sat – Sun), Closed Thurs, Fri
“Ah Wing” is probably the most famous stall at Empress Road Food Centre, and rightfully so.
Most people come to the Empress Place just to try out the famous wanton mee from this stall. For this reason, you will also be met with snaking long queues pretty much any time you visit the stall.
The owner of the stall has years of experience, and has mastered the dish to bring the best possible flavors and taste for the dedicated customers.
Items sold here include Char Siew Wanton Noodles, Shredded Chicken and Prawns Noodles, Mushroom Chicken Feet Noodles, and more. Each is priced at $3.50 or $4.50.
I found the char siew to be delectably caramelised and had a moist texture with dark marinade. Noodles were also springy, firm yet light. There is a good reason, as the owners came from Hong Kong.
Regulars would tell you to add an order of Dumpling Soup ($4) as their swee gao are plump and tasty.
Happy World Delicacy 好世界美食
7 Empress Rd, #01-107, Singapore 260007
Opening Hours: 9am – 2pm (Mon – Thurs, Sat – Sun), Closed Fri
Located right next to Ah Wing, I found their Char Siew Noodles to be a different style, but definitely worth the order too.
Accordingly, they have been around since 1960s, and moved from Sixth Avenue over here. The owners are quite friendly, providing an impeccable service to hungry customers.
The stalls has a good variety to offer, such as Char Siew & Roasted Pork Belly Rice ($3.50), Char Siew Rice ($3), Roasted Pork Belly Rice ($3), Hainanese Chicken Rice ($3) and Char Siew Wanton Noodles ($3)
Come early as their char siew in particular is quite famous, and sold out early.
Their char siew was very well done – beautiful char, thick yet tender slices of meat, and lovely sweet sauce. Pork crackling had a pleasant crunch as well.
7 Empress Rd, #01-89, Singapore 260007
Opening Hours: 10am – 3pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
Two items on Poh’s signboard may excite you – Preserved Veg Hor Fun ($5.50) and Prawn Paste Chicken ($8).
The chef who prepares all the food has over 20 years of experience working around in different hotels. You can imagine the wok hei and richness of flavors and taste offered at the stall just by the skillfulness of the chef, and the care and precision put in the preparation of each dish.
Not like the typical zi char stall, this has limited selection of some really appetising dishes included Hor Fun ($4), Shrimp Fried Rice ($4.50), Combination Mee ($), and Oyster Preserved Veg Hor Fun ($5.50).
The chye poh horfun was intriguing, cooked in Teochew style and may remind some of a cross between carrot cake and oyster omelette.
There is a good amount of fluffy egg, with rice noodles cooked with slight char, and bits of preserved radish and pork lard to complete the dish in terms of flavours.
Farrer Road Chicken Rice
7 Empress Rd, #01-98, Singapore 260007
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 2pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
You can sense a lot of pride goes into the presentation at this stall, as the separate components were nearly packed.
For $3, you get a choice of Steamed Chicken Rice, Roasted Chicken Rice, Roasted Meat Rice, or Char Siew Rice. Upgrade to a Drumstick Roasted Meat Rice, and the plate is still inexpensively priced at only $4.50.
The winning component to me was the rice – fragrant and fluffy without being overly greasy or oily.
I also noted that there were beansprouts and spring onions packed at the side, which was a nice touch and helped balance out the richness.
Heng Heng Nasi Lemak 興興椰漿飯
7 Empress Rd, #01-83, Singapore 260007
Opening Hours: 5:30am – 1pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
This Nasi Lemak and Economic (steamed) Bee Hoon stall is also one that attracts a reasonable line in the morning, though it moves fast.
Part of the reason is due to its affordability (from $2.50 onwards), and some interesting ingredients on display.
They have items such as fried meatballs, deep fried wantons, Thai fish fillet, and not forgetting chicken wings with crispy exterior and tasty meat.
I loved those deep-fried items especially the meatballs which had substantial fillings, though I wished that the bee hoon could come a little warmer.
Fu Gui 富贵
7 Empress Rd, #01-100, Singapore 260007
Opening Hours: 7:30am – 1:30pm (Mon – Sun)
I gave this stall a miss during my first few visits, because it was not listed on Google and had no prominent review. BUT…
The queue doesn’t lie.
There is always a short line of people waiting for the Minced Meat Noodles ($3, $4), and Fish Ball Noodles ($3, $4). I hear sometimes it is sold out as early as noontime.
To be fair, their Fish Ball Meepok is quite legit, cooked al dente and well tossed in the savoury sauce. The fishballs though looking small, were bouncy and juicy.
One of the more memorable mee pok I had in recent months.
Bunga Raya Prata Hut
7 Empress Rd, #01-74, Singapore 260007
Opening Hours: 7am – 7pm (Tues – Sat), 7am – 2pm (Sun), Closed Mon
At this stall, you can also find many other Indian cuisines that are quite satisfying and enjoyable, such as mutton biryani which is a heavy rice dish bursting with flavours.
They have many different Prata to choose from, from Plain, Onion, Egg, Cheese, Banana, Mushroom, to Cheese Mushroom. All are priced from $1 from the basic to $3.
Also available are Chicken, Mutton and Sardine Murtabak ($5 – $7).
While I won’t say that the prata is top-notch in terms of crispiness, somehow the interior is quite fluffy in texture, with a nice touch of saltiness. Not bad.
Soh Food Stewed Duck 蘇食
7 Empress Rd, #01-106, Singapore 260007
Tel: +65 8198 9368
Opening Hours: 10am – 7pm (Thurs – Tues), Closed Wed
Interesting, a stewed duck stall. The name pretty much gives away the star dish of the stall, which is the famous stewed duck.
Although it looks quite similar to a braised duck, they are in fact quite different in preparation, and also have a different taste that’s very enjoyable.
Available items are Salted Vegetable and Duck Soup ($4), Spinach ($3.50), Drumstick ($4), Wings ($3) to be paired with Rice or Kway Teow.
With a Stewed Duck Leg and Rice ($6), you will get a generous portion of spinach along with some Chinese mushrooms, with duck leg.
Experience the soft-tender texture that could just melt in your mouth with flavours of sweet and savoury spices.
Eng Kee Prawn Noodles
7 Empress Rd, #01-76, Singapore 260007
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 2pm (Wed – Sun), Closed Mon, Tues
This is one stall that sells both the soupy type of Pork Ribs Prawn Noodles ($5) and Sotong Fried Noodles ($4, $6, $8).
Actually, I was surprised at the huge serving size for the given price, their signature Prawn Noodle ($4, without ribs) came with quite a substantial amount of prawns. They were also relatively large and plump.
While the dry bee hoon looked ordinary, there was a pleasant fragrance from the pork lard and sauce. However, I thought that more seasoning could be given so that every strand of the vermicelli could be nicely coated with flavours.
Yu Kee House Of Braised Duck 友记卤鸭之家
7 Empress Rd, #01-88, Singapore 260007
Opening Hours: 8am – 3pm
First things first, there are two “Yu Kee” brands in Singapore. Long story short, they branched out from the same family – one has a black logo, this has the founder (an old man cartoon) as the logo. (So customers do think they are the same, and end up complaining about their food to the wrong company.) Anyway…
Available items are Happy Duck Rice ($4, $5), Duck Noodles ($3.50, $4.50), Duck Porridge ($3), and Kwap Chap ($4 for 1 pax).
Accordingly, the braised ducks are still prepared using the grandfather’s recipe, with hand-pick herbs used to cooking the braising sauce.
The rice is also fluffy and flavourful (not too salty), and don’t forget about the chilli sauce.
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