Makansutra Street Food Masters 2008

Makansutra has been recognizing the tasty achievements of 12 hawkers annually for the past 4 years through their Street Food Masters and Hawker Legends campaign. I was thrilled when a friend invited me to the Makansutra Street Food Masters 2008 lunchtime event last Friday.

It was raining cats & dogs but that did not deter fellow foodies and I from making our way to The Pavilion @ China Square. The event was held in conjunction with the annual Singapore Food Festival with the support of Yeo's Drinks, Singapore Tourism Board and the National Environment Agency.

Makansutra Street Food Masters 2008 @ The Pavilion, China Square
Pic taken @ the end of the event, after the rain had stopped & the majority of the crowd had left.

My fellow foodies had combined efforts (read: split up and queued at the various stalls to get food for all) to put together a feast of Singapore's best hawker fare on our table.

Ngoh Hiang - S'pore Street Food Masters 2008

Ngoh Hiang
Hup Kee Ngoh Hiang, Stall 97 @ Maxwell Food Centre
Mr Teo Ho Soon : 9004-0618

Open: Daily (except Mondays) from 11am - 8pm

I loved the fried tofu as the crust was crisp, the interior soft and juicy. Friends at the table loved the sausage (top left) and the egg & lard cakes (its like a deep-fried sinful version of Japanese Tamagoyaki). The brown roll is made with pig's liver, wish I knew that before I greedily popped it into my mouth. I don't eat any internal organs (with the exception of foie gras) so the expression on my face must have been priceless because B told me gently that there was a little stack of napkins on the table...the rest, as they say, is history.

Rojak - Makansutra Street Food Masters 2008

Brothers Rojak, Blk 449 Clementi Ave 3,
#01-211 See Lam Hern Coffeeshop

Mr Tan Boon Hwa & Mr Tan Boon Heng
Open: Daily (except Sundays) from 11am - 9.30pm

My braces were causing me some amount of grief that day so I couldn't chew too much. That said, I enjoyed what little I could chew from this plate of rojak. The others at the table finished the plate pretty quickly so I was spared the agony of lusting over the glistening pieces of yew char kway that had been coated with a thick and flavoursome shrimp paste-based sauce.

Soto Ayam - Makansutra Street Food Masters 2008

Soto Ayam
Selamat Datang Malay Food, Stall 9 Adam Food Centre, 2 Adam Road
Mr Sapari bin Temon : 9842-7036
Open: Daily from 9am - 9pm (except Wednesdays)

I've always associated Adam Road with kick-a** Nasi Lemak (cooked using Basmati rice - there are 2 stalls side by side, go for the one on the right) and Indian Mutton Soup (Soup Kambing). I never knew about the famous Soto Ayam stall that had 75% of my table going gaga. The broth was robustly flavoured and was excellent with the piquant chili paste mixed into it! The Perkedel (spiced potato cutlet) was delicious even when cold. I must head down for my fix sometime but not before consulting my foodie pals for "optimal timeslots". Apparently, the soto ayam is so popular that if you head down at peak hours, its almost always sold out or about to be sold like the 5th person in a queue of 15. :( This is definitely a MUST-TRY!

Seafood Tofu Pouch - Makansutra Street Food Masters 2008

Seafood Tofu & Mushroom Pouch with Cuttlefish Kang Kong
Keng Eng Kee Seafood, Blk 124 Bukit Merah Lane 1, #01-136
Mr Liew Choy :
Open: Daily 11am - 2pm & 5pm - 11pm (Chinese New Year - closed)

This entry was for a Zi Char/Cze Char stall. When I first looked at the pouch, I was a little doubtful about how it would taste. Its their signature dish which comprises a fried seafood, tofu and mushroom pouch that had been stuffed with ham, salted egg yolk and prawns. I was pleasantly surprised with the marriage of flavours that danced on my tastebuds and a crisp exterior to boot! This is a MUST-TRY! I didn't sample the blanched Cuttlefish with Kang Kong (morning glory) as I'm not a fan of this dish.

Wang Wang Curry Puff - Makansutra Street Food Masters 2008

Curry Puff
Wang Wang Curry Puff, Blk 51 Old Airport Road,
Old Airport Food Centre
Mr Chang Lee Wong : 9090-7009
Open: Daily (except Mondays) from 10am - 9pm

I love the flaky Teochew-style pastry used for these curry puffs! Though the curry was not as spicy as I would have liked it, it was fragrant and tasty enough to leave me yearning for more. The chicken morsels and potato bits were moist and a pleasure to chew on (notwithstanding uncomfortable braces). This is a MUST-TRY! The stall offers other fillings like black pepper chicken (not too bad but I prefer curry chicken) and sardines (didn't eat this as I hate canned sardines).

Cheese Appom - Makansutra Street Food Masters 2008
Egg Appom - Makansutra Street Food Masters 2008

Cheese Appom & Egg Appom
Heaven's Indian Curry, Blk 20 Ghim Moh Road,
#01-15 Ghim Moh Market & Food Centre
Mdm Muthu Letchmi
Open: Daily from 6am - 2pm

I'm not a big fan of grated coconut and the orange sugar crystals that one finds served with Putu Mayam or Appom so I passed on this dish. My fellow foodies dug into them with much gusto, so it must have been pretty good.

Carrot Cake - Makansutra Street Food Masters 2008

Fried Carrot Cake
Chey Sua Carrot Cake, Blk 127 Lor 1 Toa Payoh, #02-30
Mdm Shirley Tay Wah Meng : 9816-9412
Open: Daily (except Monday) 6am - 1pm

The fried carrot cake was delicious with a crusty egg exterior, albeit only on one side as the lady didn't have the luxury of time to make both sides crisp. I would have preferred to have lots of spicy chili sauce incorporated into the dish instead of being served at the side but I shall have to save this request for a trip to the stall.

Heng Hwa Lor Mee - Makansutra Street Food Masters 2008

Heng Hwa Lor Mee
Xing Hua Seafood Restaurant, 207 Syed Alwi Road
Mr Li Jin Kun : 6396-8676
Xing Hua Restaurant, 276 Race Course Road
Tel: 6392-5730

Open: Daily 11am - 9.30pm (except first Wednesday of the month)

The Heng Hwa Lor Mee was pretty good as it had a well-seasoned stock and the hawker was generous with the ingredients. This dish served as a great tummy warmer on a cold, rainy day.

Mutton Briyani - Makansutra Street Food Masters 2008
Chicken Briyani, partially hidden Kaya Toast - Makansutra Street Food Masters 2008

Mutton Briyani & Chicken Briyani

Allauddin's Briyani, 101 Race Course Rd, #01-90 Tekka Temporary Mkt
Mr Haji Mohamed s/o Master Shaik Allauddin : 9856-1716

Open: Daily 10am - 6pm (except Mondays & Hari Raya)

This famous briyani stall was the last to set-up because the poor hawker's wife had to be sent to the hospital just before the event. The poor hawker looked really flustered and lost. We all felt sorry for him though we admired his professionalism in showing up with the briyani despite his personal turmoil. I hope his wife is feeling better now. The chicken and mutton briyani were delicious but I was getting a little too full to truly enjoy it.

If you look at the top right hand corner of the Chicken Briyani picture, you should be able to spot a thin slice of grilled toast that had been slathered with a rich but not excessively sweet pandan kaya spread and butter. This is my dad's favourite Kaya Toast and is a MUST-TRY! I was too busy eating and forgot to snap a picture of this dish. Oh no! I also forgot to snap a pic of the Fried Hokkien Mee. So sorry to the folks that run these 2 places, I was too busy digging into your dishes while they were warm and forgot to take the pics.

Here are the details for the 2 Street Food Masters that I had inadvertently left out:

1) Kaya Toast
@ Tong Ah Coffeeshop, 36 Keong Saik Road.
Mr Tang Chew Fue : 6223-5083
Open: 6.30 am - 10pm (closed on alternate Wednesdays)

SFF's view: MUST-TRY! Please refer to the paragraph above.

2) Fried Hokkien Mee
@ Ah Liang Fried Hokkien Mee
Blk 84 Marine Parade Central, #01-135 Marine Parade Food Centre
Mr. Chia Tong Ngee
Open: 6.30 am - 10pm (closed on alternate Wednesdays)

SFF's view: MUST-TRY! The fresh seafood used and the robustly-flavoured stock that the noodles were fried in resulted in a platter of fragrant, seafood-infused noodles. The chili sauce is spicy and not too sweet. This has to be the best Hokkien Mee I've had in a while.

Soya Bean Curd - Makansutra Street Food Masters 2008

Soya Bean Curd
Rochor Beancurd House, 745 Geylang Road
Mr Koh Koon Meng : 6748-3989
Open: 24 hours daily (except Chinese New Year)

Now for my favourite soya beancurd! I love the silky smooth texture of the soya beancurd sold at Rochor Beancurd House. My entire family is a fan of this stall. Over the years, I've jumped through various hoops to overcome traffic "inconveniences" just to get my paws on packets of beancurd! This is definitely a MUST-TRY!

Makansutra Singapore 2009

Guests were given a mystery gift at the end of the event. I was grinning from ear-to-ear when I unwrapped mine and realised that it was the latest edition of the Makansutra. Time to start marking my new hitlist with Post-It flags. Thank you, Makansutra!