Hokkien Prawn Rolls & Fried Pig's Intestines @ Old Airport Road Market
This stall caught my eye because it seemed out of place in a hawker centre. I've always bought Bak Kwa (Chinese-style Barbequed Pork, ie. Chinese Pork Jerky) from standalone shops or shophouses but never from a stall in a hawker centre. Plus, it had a little pile of Ngoh Hiang on display! I love Ngoh Hiang and so do my family members so I bought some for all to share. While taking my order, the stallkeeper corrected me and told me that they were Hae Cho (Hokkien name for Prawn & Pork Rolls).
Hmm, but Ngoh Hiang are also Prawn & Pork Rolls. I always get confused between the 2 names. From my experience, Ngoh Hiang usually has a slightly softer roll and is sliced after deep-frying whilst Hae Cho usually has a slightly harder crust and is cut into sections before deep-frying. It doesn't help that some places use the names interchangeably.
In a nation where the mix of cultures and dialects has created a highly adulterated form of the English language, affectionately known as Singlish, could this be another Singaporean conundrum?
My parents looked apprehensive about trying Ngoh Hiang from a stall that didn't specialise in it. The stall sold Bak Kwa (Barbequed Pork), Satay (Skewered Meats dish of Malay origins), Fried Pig's Intestines and Hae Cho / Ngoh Hiang. If you've ever had a lousy Ngoh Hiang, you would understand their reservations. Fortunately (though sometimes unfortunately) for them, one of my mottos is: "If you've never tried, you'll never know."
It was a good thing we did because now my entire family (including my grandma and aunt) love it! The Ngoh Hiang (I'm just going to stick to calling it Ngoh Hiang!) was slightly sweet with the freshness of the prawns, pork and water chestnut chunks. The usage of 5 Spice Powder was not excessive, thus the sweet flavours of the ingredients were not overpowered by the spices. The stallkeeper fries the rolls to order so they're sold crisp and hot.
If you're intending to bring them home to reheat them, he will tell you to take them home as they are and fry them just before serving. Don't worry, they're already fully cooked, you just need to fry them again to get the crisp skin and to warm up the interior. I like it that he's so particular about how his Hae Cho (ok, I concede just this once) is consumed. I think it shows that he takes alot of pride in the food that he prepares. The prawn & pork rolls here are a MUST-TRY!