I like Bedok North Hawker Centre quite a bit because while there’s plenty of good food, it’s also unpretentious and doesn’t have super long queues. I like the ban mian a few stalls down from Joo Chiat Chiap Kee. It has a clear, robust stock that tastes like there’s both pork bone and chicken in it. They use round spinach (bayam) in it, giving the soup a special fragrance. The noodles are decently chewy and don’t get too soggy after sitting for a while. I also like how the ikan bilis and onion bits taste like they’re fried in-house rather than taken from factory-made industrial-sized packs.
For dessert, I love the taufa quite a few stalls down. It’s soft and silky and slightly creamy at the same time. I couldn’t ask for more.
Bedok North Hawker Centre
Blk 216 Bedok North St 1
I’ve been a regular at Bedok South Hawker Cenre’s Opera for a long time. The auntie who took order would take one look at me and tell me my order immediately. It’s too bad she’s not there anymore, but the auntie who makes the noodles is still there.
What I love about this stall is how healthy and clean everything tastes. It’s not your usual fishball noodle nor bak chor mee. It’s invariably full of fresh ingredients like baby romaine lettuce (which other stall uses baby romain?), sprightly beansprouts and incredibly fat free minced pork. Coupled with homemade fried shallots, good chilli sauce and excellent vinegar, the dry version is heavenly. I could eat here every day. In fact, I see lots of old-timers order their daily fix from this stall. (For the record, it’s not the one with the queue, I personally can’t see why people like the famous fishball stall with the long queue.)
I also ask for extra vegetables for $0.50 more and they give me a much bigger bowl of soup plus extra fishballs and other ingredients. This is worth my while because it’s the only accompanying soup worth drinking. At other places I invariably leave the soup untouched because it’s just msg and water. Here, things are quite different and I always finish every drop of the soup. It’s fantastic.
What’s not so great about it? The meatballs are only a notch above run of the mill and the meepok can sometimes be soggy. Go for the meekia or meesua, both the dry version. Both are excellent.
Blk 16 Bedok South Road Hawker Centre
I like the ice jelly at Hollywood best. It’s got smooth, soft jelly that tastes fresh and non-synthetic (yes, ice jelly standards are currently at a low), it’s got tropical fruit cocktail with nata de coco and bits of (canned) papaya. Plus, it’s cheap and it’s consistent. Not much not to like here.
I went for breakfast at Simpang Bedok and was surprised to find Jalan Tua Kong’s Lau Lim opened a stall here. The story goes like this: the old man running 132 originally set up at Jalan Tua Kong. He had a helper, Lau Lim, who learned the trade from him. The old man had to retire due to health reasons and let Lau Lim take over the Jalan Tua Kong stall. Later, the old man got better and started up 132 again at Kembangan, which then moved to its current location opposite the petrol station. Lau Lim, on the other hand, moved out of Jalan Tua Kong because the rents increased and someone else now dishes out mediocre stuff at the Jalan Tua Kong stall. Incidentally, the mee pok tah at the coffeeshop next to the monsoon drain at Siglap Centre is a pretender too. It used to be good but is now awful. Don’t bother.
Back to Lau Lim’s mee pok tah. I was pretty sceptical as my experience at 132 wasn’t the best. To be fair, I ordered the wrong thing, so I’ll just have to go back and try again. The one here, a $4 portion with normal chilli, was very excellent. Noodle-wise, it’s the best so far! Better than Joo Chiat Chiap Kee, though the chilli sauce there still wins. I liked the texture of the noodles and how the chilli and lard bits worked very well together. The prawns weren’t the freshest, though they were springy and almost crunchy. 132 wins for prawn freshness even though theirs aren’t that fresh either. The fishballs were quite typical. Nothing to complain about. But the soup was awful. Don’t bother. It tasted of msg and dishwater. Yuck.
Jalan Tua Kong Lau Lim Mee Pok
308 Bedok Road (Simpang Bedok)
Bedok Shopping Complex
Sin Bedok North BBQ Chicken Wing is at the famous hawker centre at Blk 85 Bedok North. Each wing costs $1.10 and arrives very promptly.
These are great wings. Each bite gives lots of perfectly done, crispy skin and well-marinated meat. It’s even better with lime squeezed on top. The accompanying chilli sauce is quite good too. A great appetizer while waiting for your bah chor mee.
Joo Chiat Chiap Kee is great for meepok tah. It’s at the flower market at Bedok Central, also known as Bedok North hawker centre (though there are loads of hawker centres at Bedok North). It’s the one further down NTUC, towards ShopnSave.
This place usually has a queue which moves very fast. It’s a family business and run pretty efficiently. They also sell raw fishballs for takeaways ($1 for 7).
The best part of the MPT here lies in the sauce. The noodles, which are average, take in the spicy chilli, belachan, and whatever other secret ingredients very well. The now-rare addition of taugeh (beansprouts) add crunch and freshness to the dish. I always finish my noodles first here, the combination is that good.
This place is very generous with their fishballs. The $2.50 serving comes with five fishballs and one meatball. Count for yourself. The fishballs are homemade and very fresh. I like the fishy flavour and good bounce. The only downside is the very slight whiff of ammonia, probably added to give more bounce. The meatballs are pretty meaty and don’t have too much flour.
All things considered, this isn’t perfect but is my current favourite place.
Joo Chiat Chiap Kee #01-31
Bedok North Hawker Centre