Wait! What? Hawker centre? Back in the day itinerant cooks would set up business on the side of the roads, in alleys, wherever, and cook up cheap fast meals. Great if you want something quick, but not always safe and or sanitary. The government here decided that the solution was to build food centres with commercial kitchens. There are three within a five minute walk where we are staying. To you and I they look rather like the food court at the mall, except they are usually free standing. Food stalls around the outside, tables in the centre. Each stall tends to specialize in one thing, and there are stalls that are just for beverages.
On our first day we went to the Tiong Bahru market. The food centre is the second floor - the first floor is a fresh food market and upstairs there are 80 food stalls. The building is a triangle open to a multi story courtyard. But when confronted with so many choices, mostly in Chinese - How to choose? The Coffee guy advertised a breakfast set, so we went for it. A cup of coffee with condensed milk, two soft boiled eggs and two slices of buttered toast for $3.00.
That lady is about to take pity on us and explains how to deal with our eggs. Breakfast arrived in the form of a small pail of very hot water with four eggs in it. After 8 minutes we were to take them out and eat them. She showed us how they are to be cracked into the provided saucer.
The buttered toast is actually spread with kaya, a type of coconut jam and butter. And the coffee is hot and strong and sweet.
The lady who was so helpful to us with eggs explained to me some of the other things we must try, so back we came. The stall with the biggest line up provided this:
The white are little cakes made of steamed, pounded rice almost like a firm custard. They are topped with a mixture of fried radish and onion. Yummy! We also had fried carrot cake!
Which is not a cake and contains no carrots. Whatever! Radish, not carrots, and strips of the rice pudding all mixed with sauce and seasoning and fried together with eggs, which makes it stick together, hence the cake.
It was all good, but I think I'll be ready for my usual fruit and yogurt once we get home.
We didn't limit our hawker fare adventures to breakfast :
Small plate of beef noodles (and snails, go figure). Food was 3.00 , beer was 5.00,
It all comes out of a tiny kitchen
Nom mom nom