If you have been to Kopitiam at Tampines Mall Level 4 recently, you would have realised it has revamped with a modern look, housing many attractive stalls that serves up iconic Singapore hawker favourites.
Three of the stalls are note-worthy as the brands have been recommended by the Michelin Guide.
They include HJH Maimunah Mini known for its Halal Indonesian and Malay cuisine; Shi Hui Yuan for its smooth Horfun and braising sauce; and Hawker Chan which received the honours of being the cheapest Michelin-starred meal in the world.
Enjoy a hearty meal from the 20 stalls there, including Teppanyaki Omu Curry Rice & Donburi, Pig Organ Soup & Porridge, Pin Wei Chinese Mixed Rice, Korean Cuisine, Original Fish Soup, and Beauty Nutritious Soup.
Hungry for more? Here are some of the highlights:
HJH Maimunah Mini (Traditional Malay Cuisine), Stall 15&16
HJH Maimunah was the stall which received the most attention when I visited, with a line of hungry patrons wanting to try from this Michelin Bib Gourmand recommended brand. The queue clears quite fast though.
Established in 1992 by Mdm Mahiran & Mr Didih, their objective is for foodies to have easy access to fresh and tasty Indonesian and Malay cuisine.
If you are craving for some Nasi Padang, top-selling items to include with your rice are Ayam Bakar Sunda aka BBQ Chicken ($4.50), Beef Rendang ($4) and BBQ Selar Fish ($6). I am a fan of its spiced Beef Rendang cooked till tender, fragrant with a touch of sweetness.
Also look out for the Signature Lemak Siput Sedut ($6 – $8), a type of snails (available seasonally) cooked in coconut-based gravy.
For convenience, get the Set Meats such as Sambal Sotong Set ($5.50) includes with sotong, 2 sides and rice; or Beef Set ($7) with beef, 2 sides and rice. If you come in a pair or in a small family, the Classic Ambeng Platter ($24.80) certainly looks sumptuous and tantalising.
Shi Hui Yuan, Stall 19
Shi Hui Yuan which originated at Mei Ling Street Food Centre was awarded Michelin Bib Gourmand Award for consecutive years, and this time you can try their food without travelling to the West.
The stall is famed for its Hor Fun in collagen-rich gravy and herbal braising sauce. Accordingly, that braising sauce has been stewed continuously over the last 30 years with chicken and duck meat and bones for that rustic flavour.
The founders developed a recipe using over 30 herbs such as dang shen, yang shen xu and luo han guo, in line with their Cantonese cooking philosophy of “food as medicine”.
Get your hands on a plate of Hor Fun topped with braised chicken ($5.40), chicken drumstick ($6.20), braised duck ($6.20), duck drumstick ($7.20), braised chicken feet ($6.60), braised mushrooms ($4.80), or even plant-based giant wanton ($7.20).
For that all-in-one plate, the Blissful Set ($7.80) comes with a medley of chicken drumstick, duck, spare ribs, braised egg and mushrooms with a bit of everything, with slippery-smooth horfun.
Koo Kee Yong Tow Foo Mee, Stall 20
Koo Kee Yong Tow Foo Mee under Gao Ji Food has been around since 1954.
Recommended items include Yong Tow Foo soup ($5.30), Laksa Yong Tow Foo with Chee Cheong Fun ($6.20), Spinach Yong Tow Foo Set ($6.70), to even Hot Plate Bean Paste Yong Tow Foo with rice ($5.60).
The must-order is the Koo Kee Set Meal ($6.70), included with a bowl of Yong Tow Foo, specialty egg noodles, along with a plate of Kang Kong with fermented bean curd sauce.
What’s special about their Yong Tow Foo is that it comes in a standard set of 5 pieces comprising of Tau Hu (soft white bean curd spread with fish paste), Tau Pok (bean curd puff with fish paste), Tau Kuah (fried firm bean curd with fish paste), Tau Kee (fried bean curd skin with fish paste), and Fishball.
The pieces are best dipped into the sweet sauce (secret recipe) and chilli sauce for greater flavour.
If you find their soup sweet and tasty, that is because it is simmered with soya beans and ikan bills using the same recipe for the last 60 plus years.
Worthy to mention is the fragrant meat toppings on the noodles, prepared using chicken as a healthier alternative.
Qiu Lian Ban Mee, Stall 2
When you talk about comforting Ban Mian in Singapore, Qiu Lian Ban Mee is always a shoo-in.
I remember Qiu Lian Ban Mee giving that sense of warmth during growing up years. And I just realised that Qiu Lian has been around since 1988, and its beginning started with founder Mdm Ong Qiu Lian (yes, she is a real person) who was an enterprising housewife who came up with this unique soup and chili recipe.
Qiu Lian started her first stall using a small hand-held noodle maker, and the fresh noodles in flavourful soup became popular, and the rest is history.
Offerings at this Kopitiam include Qiu Lian Ban Mee ($5.70), Bee Hoon Soup ($5.70), Tom Yum Mee Hoon Kuey ($6.50), Big Prawn U-Mee ($6.80), and Dumpling Ban Mee ($7), all come with choice of Ban Mee, U-Mee, Mee Hoon Kuey, Bee Hoon, Ee-Mee or Mee Sua.
There are three elements which I thought made this bowl work – the handmade noodles with the right thickness and chewy-springy texture; soup that is delectable on its own even without any toppings; and the crispy anchovies.
Just a dip of the special chilli sauce, for the Ban Mian would taste even better.
Wanton Kolo Mee, Stall 5
I remember having Jin’s Sarawak Kolo Mee first at Amoy Street Food Centre, and it can be found now in the East of Singapore.
The recipe was the brainchild of the owner’s father who invested some 40 odd years into researching and developing the recipe of the noodles, made from duck’s egg.
The special thing about this stall is that it marries both the familiar Singapore Wanton Noodle with Sarawak Kolo Mee together, creating this “Wanton Kolo Mee”.
The signature dish here is the Sarawak Wanton Kolo Mee ($5.20), with other offerings of Chicken Cutlet Mee ($5.70), Fried Wanton Kolo Mee ($5.70), Dry Kway Teow ($4.80) and Dry Spinach Mee ($4.80).
Add on a side dish of Boiled Wanton ($2.80 for 7 pcs), Fried Wanton ($2.80 for 8pcs), or Wanton Soup ($3.50 for 10 pcs with vegetable).
The Sarawak Wanton Kolo Mee is prepared with ingredients of minced pork, slivers of sliced char siew, boiled wantons, fried wantons, healthy greens and the special duck’s egg noodle – which was springy and light, tossed in minimal but fragrant sauce.
Li Xin Teochew Fishball Noodles, Stall 8
Craving for some juicy, bouncy fishballs? Li Xin Teochew Fishball Noodles started off as a pushcart stall in 1968, and still maintains its tradition of making their fishballs daily.
Only pure yellowtail fish is used in the making to maintain that bite – no preservatives, no fillers, and no surimi.
The fishcakes are made from pure yellowtail fish and shaped by hand; while the fish dumplings are with yellowtail fish kneaded and rolled into a delicate skin to wrap fragrant pork filling within.
Head over to Li Xin for some Fishball Noodle ($5.00 for dry or soup), Fish Dumpling Noodles ($5.50), Fish Cake Noodles ($5.50) and Laksa ($5.50)
I would usually go for the meepok here, tossed with homemade chilli sauce and topped with crispy lard. What’s special is their base sauce which is to the spicier side with a good kick.
Heng Hwa Hometown Cuisine, Stall 9
Heng Hwa cuisine characterised by seafood dishes as it is close to the coastal area of Fujian province is less commonly found in food courts in Singapore, and so am glad to find one at Kopitiam Tampines Mall.
Heng Hwa Hometown Cuisine is started by Tai Ho Soon 泰和順 – a restaurant at 61 Kampong, which specializes in Putian Xinghua cuisine.
Tai Ho Soon uses fresh ingredients with less seasoning and processing for more authenticity in their dishes; and every chef is recruited from Putian.
Rice and noodle dishes offered are the Heng Hwa Lor Mee ($6.90), Heng Hwa Fried Bai Guo ($6.90), Heng Hwa Sweet Potato Noodles ($6.90), Heng Hwa Signature Mee Sua ($7.50), Scallop & Tou Shui Seaweed Braised Rice ($7), Heng Hwa Golden Fried Rice ($7) and Hometown Mustard Green Porridge ($4.80).
Pair this up with a la carte dishes of Heng Hwa Lychee Pork ($12), Red Rice Wine Claypot Chicken ($12), Spicy La La ($10), Cabbage Beancurd Seafood Soup ($7), Stir Fried Pea Shoots ($8), and Spinach in Supreme Stock ($10).
The recommended signature is the Heng Hwa Fried White Bee Hoon ($6.90), of thin rice vermicelli fried with prawns and clams, in rich pork bone stock till the flavours are absorbed. Not forgetting the topping crunchy peanuts.
Hong Kong Street Old Chun Kee-Mini Wok, Stall 12
This is the “Mini Wok” version of the Hong Kong Street Old Chun Kee brand known for their Singapore-style Cantonese zi char cuisine.
The founder of the original brand, the late Mr Loh Mun Hon had passed down his recipes and skills to his disciples, who started their own “Hong Kong Street” restaurants with his blessings.
They are best known for Har Cheong Kai aka Deep Fried Prawn Paste Chicken which are crispy and juicy, marinated with a secret concoction of fermented prawn paste and a mixture of spices.
On the menu are more than 40 zi char local delights, including Pork Rib Rice ($6.80), Sweet & Sour Pork Rice ($6.80), San Bei Chicken Rice ($7.80), Har Cheong Kai Rice ($7.80), Black Pepper Beef Rice ($6.80), Fried Rice with Salted Fish ($5.80), San Lao Hor Fun ($6.80), Hokkien Mee ($5.80), and Bean Sauce Beef Hor Fun ($6.80).
The Signature White Bee Hoon ($6.80) is wok-fried with rich broth till the vermicelli absorbs the flavours, and with generous amount of prawns, lala and vegetables, further topped with crispy lard.
There are also set menus available for 3-4 pax starting from $38.80, for example with BBQ Stingray, Cereal Prawn, Mixed Seasonal Vegetable with Mushrooms.
Riverside Indonesia BBQ, Stall 14
This is one of my favourite stalls at Kopitiam, Plaza Singapura and they also have an outlet here. Though Riverside Indonesian BBQ first started out in 1996 as a restaurant at Riverside Point specialising in Indonesian BBQ.
On its menu are the Ayam Panggang Grilled Chicken set ($6.50), Ayam & Ikan Panggang Grilled Chicken + Fish Set ($8.50), Ikan Panggang Grilled Fish Set ($6.50), Gulai Ayam Set ($6.50) and more.
Each set comes served with curry drenched white rice and freshly-made sambal chili.
Customers can add also on items from squid, chicken, fish, vegetable, to egg.
The best-selling Ayam Panggang ($6.50 for set) is marinated with a yellow sauce made with Indonesian herbs and spices before being grilled over open flames for those smoky flavours.
What people really like is that tantalising signature black sweet sauce that the grilled chicken is dipped into just before serving. Sedap!
Devil Chilli – Mala Hotpot, Stall 17
Devil Chilli Mala Hot Pot is the spin-off brand of Xiao Man Niu Mala Xiang Guo – which has obtained the Halal certification.
The popular item here would be the Mala Xiang Guo or Mala Dry, in which customers pick their favourite ingredients such as chicken meat, seafood, mushrooms, various balls and vegetables to be wok-fried with special spices in high heat.
Accordingly, the mala paste is made with over 20 herbs, spices and ingredients for a more robust taste. I found the Mala Xiang Guo to be fragrant and not too oily, closer to the spicier (la) side rather than numbing (ma).
Also available is a soup style of Chongqing-styled Hot Pot, prepared using their own secret Halal-certified Mala Paste and Mala Chilli Oil, with spiciness level customisable.
Those who prefer ala carte options can choose from their selection of Sour & Spicy Noodles ($6.80), Mala Noodles ($6.80), Pickled Fish ($16.80), Mala Fish ($16.80), and Mala Sliced Beef ($16.80).
Fitra Hainanese Chicken Rice, Stall 18
Fitra is one of the few Halal-certified Hainanese-style Chicken Rice stalls around, that also specialises in other repertoire of chicken dishes.
Other than their signature Hainanese Steam or Roasted Chicken Rice ($4.70), there are also dishes of Chicken Char Siew Rice ($4.70), Three Treasure Rice ($7.50), Curry Chicken Noodle ($5.50), Chicken Dumpling Noodles ($5.50), Chicken Macaroni ($4.70) and Chicken Porridge ($4.70).
Get the Hainanese Roasted Chicken Rice Set for 1 pax ($6.70) which also comes with vegetables and soup, with the chicken served separately.
The rice was fragrant, cooked with chicken stock, garlic, ginger and pandan leaves, best dipped with some of the dark soya sauce and specially-made chili – which was towards the sweeter side.
The Pau Shop, Stall 1
Behind The Pau Shop are two experienced Dim Sum chefs, Chef Lee Chu and Chef Yap Yoke Ying.
Chef Lee Chu is a veteran Dim Sum Chef who hails from Hong Kong and previously worked at Mayflower Restaurant (Changi Airport) and Dragon City Chinese Restaurant; while Chef Yap was also from the famed Mayflower Restaurant and Tropicana Theatre Restaurant.
The Pau Shop prepares and delivers daily fresh Baos, Dim Sum and Bakery items to the stall.
Popular items include Siew Mai, Har Kow, Chicken Claws, Beancurd Roll, Egg Tart, Lor Mai Kai, Lotus Leaf Rice, Fan Choy, Salted Egg Yolk Pau, and Large Pork Pau.
Hawker Chan, Stall 11
Hawker Chan needs little introduction, well-known to be “The World First Hawker Michelin-starred Meal” and “The Cheapest Michelin-starred Meal In The Word”.
This is his first stall under the Kopitiam brand, and first within a food court.
The reason for success is due to fresh ingredients to prepare the dishes daily; and many hours to prepare the sauce for marination and to achieve the signature flavour and tenderness.
Signature items to look forward to include the Soya Sauce Chicken Rice, Roasted Pork Noodles, Char Siew Rice, Pork Rib Rice, Roasted Pork Hor Fun and more.
* This entry is brought to you in partnership with Kopitiam.