Saturday, 11 April 2009

Hawker Centres Singapore

Visit to Singapore
8th to 11th April 2009

A few days in Singapore is always fun and this trip seemed to be packed with action. Visits to the Zoo (think white tigers), Sentosa Island (beach, aquarium, monkeys) and Clarke Quay (beer) were all highlights, as of course was the tasty food offered at Singapore's many hawker centres...
Maxwell Food Centre, China Town
I couldn't find the Maxwell Food Centre publicised in any guidebooks, but I quite like the simple honesty of this hawker market that's found opposite the Buddha's Tooth Relic Temple on South Bridge Road. With its close proximity to China Town regional Chinese cuisine is of course the mainstay with plenty of tasting looking dim sum on offer. I've recently been converted to the joys of Fuzhou fishballs so I couldn't resist ordering a serve of these tasty treats that came floating in noodle soup. My mate grabbed some decent steamed dumplings and we both enjoyed cool glasses of refreshing (and hangover curing) sugarcane and lime juice. While it may not be the most glamorous, cleanest or stylish joint in town, I like the rough and ready style of the Maxwell Food Centre.

Lau Pa Sat Festival Market, Raffles Place
This central hawker market is located within a beautiful Victoria cast iron structure which was apparently built in Glasgow in 1894 and shipped to Singapore in pieces. The market is a popular stop with office workers mid-week and I'm pretty sure that a mate of mine eats here nearly every evening. The selection of food stalls covers an array of different cuisines and styles from hotdogs to curries, and ice-cream to fried-rice. We munched on my friend's favourite popiah rolls. These thin pancakes filled with radish, salad, chilli and egg were an extremely tasty snack. For me Lau Pa Sat is Singapore's quintessential hawker centre; imagine exotic flavours and charming colonial building.

Newton Food Centre, Newton Circus
Newton Food Centre, an established favourite with tourists, just happened to be a short wander from where I was staying near Orchard Rd. While this hawker centre technically opens for lunch it doesn't really seem to fire up until the evenings and when I visited mid-afternoon was just stirring. There's a decent range of food with plenty of Malay style seafood on display, however I was just after a snack and ended up ordering fried rice and a strange grilled sandwich filled with a carrot omelette and smothered in a sweet red sauce. Topped with crisp whitebait the rice was tasty, while the sandwich was just downright weird. The prices at Newton Food Centre seem a tad higher than other markets around town and with its isolated setting its popularity seems somewhat unjustified. Unless you're staying up the road I can't see how a visit to the Newton Hawker Centre is worth it.

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