Hawker guide: 13 must-try stalls at Maxwell Food Centre – Lifestyle Asia Singapore

Maxwell Food Centre joins the list of hawker centres that now allow groups of five people to dine together, making it a good time to revisit one of the more popular eateries in Singapore. Here’s a guide to some of the better Maxwell food hawker stalls.
The food centre originally started in 1929 as a wet market built on top of Chinese burial grounds. It lasted through the Japanese Occupation and housed a community kitchen that fed the poor and displaced after the war. It was renovated into its current form and opened in 1987.
Today, the hawker centre is home to numerous popular stalls, some who have been there for decades. There is Hup Kee, which serves the Fujian dish of wu xiang, and Fu Shun Shao La Mian Jia offers Cantonese roast meats. Look for bowls of fragrant laksa from Old Nyonya, or join the queue for Jin Hua’s creamy fish soup.
Tian Tian’s renowned chicken rice also sees a line of locals and tourists, while Famous Queens’ fluffy briyani is underrated. Smooth, saucy rice rolls can be found at Chee Cheong Fun Club, and Tong Xin Ju steams up juicy xiao long bao.
Fuzhou oyster cake is a fried snack that is slowly disappearing from Singapore’s food scene, so try one from Maxwell Fuzhou Oyster Cake before it’s gone. China Street serves ham chin peng, another culinary art that’s being dying out, while Heng Heng does tapioca cake, ondeh ondeh and other kueh the traditional way.
For something more international, Ramen Taisho offers the Japanese noodle dish but with local twists. And to pair alongside all these food, Welcome Ren Min serves local and foreign craft beer from smooth lagers to dark, brooding stouts.
Maxwell Food Centre is located at 1 Kadayanallur St, Singapore 069184
Chee cheong fun is a rice noodle roll typically found in Cantonese cuisine. This stall makes it from scratch and dresses it either with the traditional black or red sauces, to curry, laksa or sesame. Add ons include crispy beancurd skin and fish ball for an array of textures.
S$2.50 to S$4
Tuesdays to Saturdays, 7.30am to 2pm
Sundays, 8.30am to 2pm
Hum jin pang, sometimes spelled ham chim peng, is a fried dough fritter of Cantonese origin. You can see them bobbing in oil as the second generation owner cooks them with a pair of long chopsticks; customers used to be able to fry their orders themselves until Covid put a stop to it. Hum Jin Pang offers one with red bean paste and powdered sugar, and another with sesame seeds and five spice powder. Both are equally crispy and airy.
S$1 for six
Tuesdays to Fridays, 3pm to 8pm
Saturdays, 4pm to 8pm
Sundays, 3:30pm to 8pm
Famous Queens Briyani whips up an exemplary take of the popular Indian dish. The rice is fluffy and aromatic, and we particularly like the spicy curry chicken version. Other options include mutton and fried chicken. All briyani come with vegetables, pappadam and curry.
S$10 to $12
Mondays to Saturdays, 11am to 10pm
For classic Cantonese roast meats, Fu Shun Shao La Mian Jia should be your destination. Their pork belly is satisfyingly meaty, while the char siu is smoky and sweet. Also unmissable is the roast duck, with a crispy skin wrapped around juicy meat. You can have all three over rice or egg noodles, but be prepared to wait.
S$3 to S$6
Mondays to Sundays, 10.30am to 8pm
Heng Heng is run by a hawker who learned the craft of making Nyonya style kueh in the 1960s, and has been operating at this location since 1986. Handmade daily, the signature kueh ubi kayu and kueh kosui (darker in colour from the palm sugar) is soft and moist, with the coconut shaving offering a nutty note.
S$3 to S$6
Mondays to Saturdays, 7am to 1pm
This third generation hawker sells the Hokkien speciality of wu xiang, or five flavours. Typically consisting of meats and vegetables like ngoh hiang (meat stuffed beancurd skin roll), sausage, pork liver roll, egg, fish cake and tofu, it’s meant to be eaten with bee hoon and a side of chilli sauce. Best enjoyed between two people or more.
S$10 to S$25
Thursdays to Tuesdays, 11.30am to 6pm
Look for the red and gold signboard, and the long line outside of Jin Hua, which is famous for their fish soup. Their rendition comes with thick slices of batang, fresh bak choy, silky noodles and a creamy broth. For more variety, opt for the version with fresh and fried fish, or the fish head for a glutinous chew.
S$4.50 to S$12 
Fridays to Wednesdays, 11.30am to 8.30pm
Fuzhou oyster cake is a savoury, disc-shaped fritter from the capital of China’s Fujian province. The stall was started on Tras Street by Pang Siew Ting in 1962, who sold her hometown snack to support her five children. Now run by one of her daughters, she stuffs it with pork, oyster and vegetables, and fries it into a crispy and juicy snack.
S$2 to S$3
Mondays to Saturdays, 9am to 8pm
Old Nyonya offers an elevated take on the classic laksa with meaty crayfish and fresh scallops. The traditional version is just as a good, with thick rice vermicelli noodles soaking in a spicy prawn and coconut broth. The dry curry chicken, which is simmered with a homemade spice paste and coconut milk, is also sublime.
S$5 to S$10
Thursdays to Tuesdays, 10.30am to 8.30pm
Ramen Taisho is run by a hawker who spent years dedicating himself to making the Japanese noodle dish. His wife works with him at the stall, and they make the classic tonkotsu ramen to a local version with sambal. Other options include tsukemen, karaage, gyoza and korokke, which are freshly made every day.
S$10 to S$12
Thursdays to Saturdays, 11.30am to 8.30pm
Tong Xin Ju was established at Margaret Drive Hawker Centre in 1972 before moving to its current location. They serve the classic Shanghainese dish of xiao long bao, which is meaty and deeply umami. Other dishes include fried pot stickers (guo tie), Shanghai-style rice cakes as well as sour and spicy soup (suan la tang).
S$4 to S$5
Tuesdays, Thursdays to Sundays, 11.30am to 8.30pm
Tian Tian has come a long way since it was just a chicken rice stall at Maxwell in 1987. The brand is now listed in tourist guide books, received a Michelin Bib Gourmand recommendation, was part of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants ceremony, and featured on Anthony Bourdain’s TV series. The hype, though, hasn’t affected them. The glistening meat is juicy and flavourful, and the rice is addictively luscious and aromatic.
S$3.50 to S$24
Tuesdays to Sundays, 10am to 7.30pm
Ren Min is a taproom in Maxwell Food Centre serving both packaged and draft beer. The drinks all hail from local and international craft breweries, and the line up changes regularly. Ren Min also started brewing their own beer, and their range currently consists of a mango smoothie IPA and a chocolate porter.
S$11 to S$17
Tuesdays to Thursdays, 5.30pm to 10.30pm
Fridays, 4.30pm to 10.30pm
Saturdays, 12pm to 10.30pm
Sundays, 12pm to 9.30pm

Jethro enjoys wine, biking, and climbing, and he’s terrible at all three. In between them, he drinks commercial lagers, and eats dumplings and gelati.
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