Thanks to Anthony Bourdain’s new show “The Layover” when he featured Singapore a few months back, my nerve wracking craving for Singapore food became alive and most especially when Karla said that she’ll be going to Singapore on November for a conference. I, of course, begged to come with her. Well, it was our 5th anniversary anyway. Well, going back to Bourdain’s Layover, he featured Tiong Bahru Market – one of the popular hawker centers in Singapore because of great foodie finds.
On our last day in Singapore, we decided to have brunch here. This is only 1 bus ride from Bencoolen (where our hotel is). It was a Sunday morning and we arrived at around 10 am. We went upstairs where the food court is and already saw a lot of people. I read in some blogs that it is preferred that you go there earlier rather than the usual lunch time (12:00 noon to 2:00 pm) because it’s difficult to get a table and of course the long queues.
Ok, a lot of stalls but which one to choose?
Usually, we identify the stalls which has more then 5 people queuing to be the favored ones and of course, we also relied on tips in Foursquare. Recommended ones are below:
1) Carrot Cake at Stall No. 02-83
One of my favorite Singaporean delicacies is the carrot cake. This stall is located near the escalators.
To those who haven’t eaten the Singaporean (or Southeast Asian) carrot cake, please do not expect to see Western carrots (the orange ones). Carrot Cake or Chai Tow Kway is made of diced raddish cake stir fried with eggs, spring onions, etc. You can have 2 choices of carrot cake – white or dark. The white one doesn’t have the dark soy sauce while the dark one uses molasses which makes it dark. There are different variations of it aside from the color – it may have dried shrimps, bean sprouts. If you’re going to ask me which one is better, well, it’s really up to you. We ordered the dark version as this was the specialty of Stall 02-83.
The Foursquare reviews didn’t fail me. The carrot cake in this stall is really good. It’s not too sweet. Generous portions were served and with just approximately SGD 6.00 – 8.00, this is a great deal. Add some chopped chili if you want to be adventurous :).
Jian Bo Shui Kueh (Stall #02-05)
2) Chwee Kueh at Jian Bo Shui Kueh
Aside from Foursquare user reviews, I also saw some blog posts pointing to Jian Bo as one of the best Shui Kueh in Singapore. Shui Kueh / Chwee Kueh (water rice cake) is made of rice flour and water then topped with preserved turnip or raddish (Chye Poh). Singaporeans love to have this for Breakfast.
Jian Bo’s Chwee Kueh is legendary as many locals would say and they have been selling this for the last 50 years. I also read about this in the blog of a popular Singaporean blogger – Lady Iron Chef. I patiently queued at Jian Bo and ordered 8 pieces of Chwee Kueh (8 pieces for SGD 2.40). While waiting for my order to come (which was very fast), I had a glimpse of how they were making the Chwee Kueh. The Rice Flour and water mixture were combined and placed in small containers to mold its shape (like the ones used in making kutsinta) then they steam them. Once they’re ready, they’re placed in wax paper then topped with preserved turnip.
For the taste, we absolutely loved it! I love the texture of the chwee kueh – a little bit of crunch on the first bite then soft on the inside. This means that the Chwee Kueh is firm. The preserved turnip gives the savory kick which we really love! For health conscious people, the oil might turn you off :). Add some chili for that spicy kick.
3) Tiong Bahru Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice at Stall No. 02-82
Another recommendation from The Lady Iron Chef and Foursquare reviews is Tiong Bahru Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice. This is just beside the Carrot Cake stall above. We patiently waited for them to open (they open at 11 am). We chose the roasted chicken because I am a fan of this rather than just the steamed one.
The roasted chicken was fantastic! The skin is a bit crunchy as this was freshly cooked and the white meat was tender. The rice was fragrant and all I could do is close my eyes in every spoonful of rice, chicken combined with the ginger and chili sauce. Yummy!
4) For our drinks, I had soy milk with grass jelly (a.k.a. Michael Jackson) at Teck Seng Soya Bean while Karla had her Iced Kopi at Kopi Museum.
I love drinking Soy Milk and for me it was just a normal thing however many people are raving Teck Seng’s so I got curious about this. Again, I patiently queued together with other locals who some have even brought their own stainless containers for their hot soy milk or bean curd “to go”. I wish I could do this and bring to Manila but I might not be allowed to bring this on the plane.
Anyway, when it was already my turn, the auntie asked if I want grass jelly on it and I said yes. I thought that there’s additional payment but it came free.
I loved Teck Seng’s soy milk because it’s not too sweet and the milk was very smooth. No yucky after taste unlike other soy milk which you can purchase in groceries. Teck Seng’s are freshly made.
Our latest trip in Singapore became memorable because of Tiong Bahru Market. I was really glad that we were able to have our brunch here on our last day in Singapore. I am hoping that we could come back here for lunch or perhaps dinner.
Tiong Bahru Hawker Center
30 Seng Poh Road,
Tiong Bahru Market, Singapore 168898