Bukit Timah Food Centre, a beloved hawker centre for many, is set to bid farewell in 2024 as it makes way for an ambitious integrated development.
This move marks a significant change, with the existing stallholders preparing for relocation to an interim hawker centre and market by the second half of 2024.
However, not all stalls may move over.
The demolition of the Bukit Timah Market and Food Centre is due to a transformation of the locale, paving the way for a modern, integrated complex – expected to only complete in the latter half of 2029,
Despite the inevitable nostalgia and emotional ties to the current site, this development promises new opportunities and a refreshed community hub.
The food centre currently houses a diverse range of stalls.
From He Le Seafood White Bee Hoon, 138 Kway Chap & Porridge, 133 Penang Authentic, Living Wholesome Vegetarian Food, Jie Ji Boneless Braised Duck, Lian Seng Fried Kway Teow, Hong Wen Mutton Soup, Curry On, Zhou Pin and more.
The legacy of the current food centre, with its flavours and fond memories of growing up years, will undoubtedly linger in the hearts of many.
Here are 10 of the Bukit Timah Food Centre hawker stalls you can check out:
Sin Chew Satay Bee Hoon
Bukit Timah Food Centre #02-162
Opening Hours: 11am – 2:30pm, 5pm – 8:30pm (Wed – Thurs, Sat – Sun), Closed Mon, Tues, Fri
Putting this at the top because decent Satay Bee Hoon is getting harder to find in Singapore, and this stall serves up quite a note-worthy version.
And they are opened for only 4 days a week.
You will find a long queue at this stall at all times, so be prepared to wait at least 20 to 30 minutes for your turn during peak hours.
They have three serving sizes of Satay Bee Hoon, or you can also order the Cuttlefish Kang Kong.
Their take on the Teochew dish was sumptuous, included with thin vermicelli, tau pok, cuttlefish and pork slices, drenched in this luscious rich peanut sauce that had some special spices included.
He Zhong Carrot Cake
Bukit Timah Food Centre #02-185
Opening Hours: 6am – 8pm (Mon – Tues, Sat), 6am – 1pm (Wed), 6am – 7:30pm (Thurs – Fri), Closed Sun
Probably one of the most famous White Carrot Cake stalls around, though Bukit Timah residents may say that this used to be crispier and better in the past.
This stall is special for many reasons. It isn’t in the usual flat or scrambled style, but chunky blocks that are almost rectangular and piled on top of the other.
The big chunks of white carrot cake have a tempting eggy aroma, generally more to the soft and fluffy side.
You get quite a generous amount of carrot cake. I do enjoy the springy and flavourful chunks, mildly salty chai poh and hints of garlic.
(Tip: If you like Black Carrot Cake, look out for 135 Yong Ji located on another row.)
Yong Seng Satay
Bukit Timah Food Centre #02-123
Opening Hours: 11am – 8pm (Mon, Thurs – Sun), Closed Tues, Wed
The Yong Seng Satay stall serves up Chinese-style Satay. They are most famous for their Pork Satay, along with Chicken and Mutton Satay. Ketupat is at additional cost.
The reason being its preparation time which is tedious and time consuming, with the marination itself taking several hours.
It is hard to find tender Pork Satay of late, and this had a good layer of meat with fats, that added to its tenderness and succulence.
The slight hints of smoky, charred flavour intensify the taste, and is complimented well with the chunky peanut sauce added with sweet pineapple mash.
Seng Heng Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice
Bukit Timah Food Centre #02-177
Opening Hours: 11am – 3pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun
This hawker stall may test your patience and love for chicken rice. The wait can be long and the queues never ending.
The stall serves up Hainanese-style Chicken Eice along with soups such as Black Chicken, Watercress, Bittergourd with Pork Ribs.
I thought that the chicken was tender, though I would personally wish that it was juicier with more of that ‘oily’ sauce.
The rice was grainy with fragrant savoury flavours of the chicken stock. Nice chilli too. Overall, not bad.
Terry Katong Laksa
Bukit Timah Food Centre #02-194
Opening Hours: 9:30am – 5pm (Mon – Wed, Fri – Sun), Closed Thurs
This stall serves a healthy variety of Laksa that contains no pork, no lard, no added sugar, MSG or evaporated creamer in its preparation.
Surprisingly, even after taking out all of this, the authentic and delicious flavours and taste still remained.
You can top-up (additional cost) additional cockles, prawns and fish cake.
The standout ingredient of this dish is definitely their gravy. It ties the whole dish together and blends in well with every ingredient to impart a mild and comforting taste.
Leng Kee Fish Soup
Bukit Timah Food Centre #02-192
Opening Hours: 9am – 6pm (Mon – Tues, Thurs – Sun), Closed Wed
The thing that draws every customer to the Leng Kee Fish Soup stall is that the soup is rather clean-tasting and light (so if you are looking at the rich and heavy kind, maybe this is not for you).
The generous serving size of thick fish slices are also a good reason to come.
They also serve up Fish Porridge, Sliced Fish Mee Sua, Sliced Fish Bee Hoon, Pig’s Liver Mee Sua, and Braised Pig’s Trotte.
The serving size is quite filling, and I loved how the soup didn’t have a typical fishy smell yet every mouthful was packed with fresh fish slices, accompanied with tofu cubes and vegetables.
(Tip: The other famous Fish Soup stall here is Quan Xiang.)
Xie Kee Hokkien Mee
Bukit Timah Food Centre #02-174
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 11pm (Mon – Sun)
The queue can sometimes be too long, so I would suggest going slightly before peak lunch and dinner hours.
The noodles were of a flat variety which is a bit different than most Hokkien Mee. In terms of wetness and flavours, this is considered in-between.
While the soup stock and wok-hei could be a tad stronger, the chilli helps to enhance the overall flavours.
168 Beef Hor Fun & White Bee Hoon with Clams
Bukit Timah Food Centre #02-168
Opening Hours: 10am – 1:30am, 4:30pm – 7:30pm (Wed – Sat), Closed Sun – Mon
This hawker stall serves only wok-fried dishes, including Ham & Egg Fried Rice, Dried Beef Hor Fun, San Lou Hor Fun, Sour & Spicy Horfun, while Beef Hor Fun and White Bee Hoon are their signature dishes.
For the White Bee Hoon itself, there are various combinations including sliced beef, seafood, sliced fish, prawns and lala clams.
The Beef Hor Fun had delightfully smooth rice noodles and had a nice wok hei, on the saucier (generous gravy) though bland side.
Seah Family Braised Duck Rice
Bukit Timah Food Centre #02-129
Opening Hours: 10am – 6pm (Mon – Tues, Sat – Sun), Closed Wed – Fri
Sells Braised Duck, Duck Noodles and Kway Chap.
The braised duck is chopped into bite-sized slices, quite itender and easy to savour. The duck itself was delectable, indicating a well-mastered braising technique that infuses the meat with savoury notes.
A standout feature of their dish is the gravy – thick, herbal and gooey.
The Google reviews for Seah Family Braised Duck Rice are not overwhelmingly positive. This seems to stem mainly from issues related to service.
Hock Le Xiang Rojak
51 Upper Bukit Timah Road, #02-152, Singapore 588215
Opening Hours: 11am – 8pm (Mon – Sun)
This is a shared stall between Popiah and Rojak. I suspect the Popiah is the more popular side, though I quite liked the Rojak which was a surprise find.
One of the reasons is that the Popiah is inexpensive, and filled with juicy turnip and carrot fillings. Was there an X-factor?
Maybe no, but certainly above the average.
The Rojak had a thick and delicious sticky sauce, which coated coated evenly around every ingredient such as the refreshing radish and taupok, added with generous amounts of crunchy peanuts.
Bukit Timah Food Centre #02-147
Opening Hours: 10am – 9pm (Mon – Sun)
Nyonya Chendol specializes in the sweet icy and milky dessert of Chendol, serving the traditional, plain Chendo, Red Beans Chendol, Sweet Corn Chendol, and XO Durian Chendol.
The first noticeable thing was the big mound of shaved ice, which suggested that they aren’t stingy with their ingredients.
The ice was flavoured with thick and glossy Gula Melaka and heavy coconut milk with a smooth and pleasing texture.
The highlight of course, was the luscious red beans.