DC sniffed out this place. We whizzed by for some takeaway milkshake and ice cream. Though I didn’t try the ice cream, I’m already a fan! We had the Agent Strawberry flavour, a straight-up strawberry flavoured milkshake.
Check out how thick the milkshake is. I’m not normally a fan of milkshake as I really couldn’t stand the ghastly over-sweet synthetic stuff McDonald’s used to hawk. This one made a convert out of me. The strawberry flavour shone through with clear flavours of sweet yet tart strawberry. It tasted almost like my weekend breakfast smoothies (just that homemade is always better) and was very very smooth. I really liked how the shake didn’t separate as it gets drunk. Some just turn into ice as you suck away the sweet milky part, but this one was pure strawberry goodness all the way to the last drop. Go try it, it’s very very good.
While I ate a disappointing curry puff at Maxwell Hawker Centre’s Tanglin Curry Puff, I spotted the friendly aunties at Hong Jia Oyster Pancake chatting animately with a customer. Such friendly people had to make good food, so I asked for a $2 pancake (with oyster). I got chatting with them and the younger auntie has been making this for over 20 years after taking over from her mother’s itinerant stall.
These little babies are pretty expensive considering that it’s just a snack, but you pay for the labour involved. It’s basically crispy batter studded with crunchy peanuts encasing a filling of chopped vegetables, minced pork and prawn. That’s the $1.50 version. If you shell out for the $2 version, you get an oyster inside too.
It’s quite special and yummy with lots of contrasting texture and taste. The older auntie who helps out likes it so much she eats at least one a day! Just be warned, it’s a tad on the oily side.
Hong Jia Oyster Pancake
Same row as Tian Tian, next to Tanglin Curry Puff
Maxwell Hawker Centre
Zhen Zhen Porridge and Maxwell Hawker Centre are perhaps more famous for the long queues than the great award-winning porridge. I made the fatal mistake of meeting a friend there for lunch at 12.30 pm. Patting myself on the back for arriving early at 12.15, I put down my tissue paper and book bag on two seats in the classic CBD Tissue Paper Chope and went off to queue. As I’d not queued longer than 25 minutes before, I figured it’d only be a 10 minute wait by the time said friend arrived.
Boy was I wrong. When she showed up, I hardly moved from my original spot. Apparently some unmentionables in front had ordered takeaway porridge for their entire building. There was no choice but to wait. And wait. And wait. I finally made my order at 1 pm and collected 10 minutes later. It was almost an hour’s wait! By then my friend had finished her fishball noodles (no queue, not nice) and was eyeing dessert.
The chicken porridge was good as always, smooth and thick with ghosts of rice grains, generous portions of chicken thigh chunks and loads of toppings. They’d obviously spent ages boiling the grains off the rice. There’s plenty of spring onion, fried shallots, dong choi (preserved Tianjin vegetable) and sesame oil. It all comes together in a surprisingly crunchy and textured whole. Very yummy. I also like waiting for the egg to set a bit so I get swirls of soft just-set egg white and rich streaks of runny yolk, then as a prize I sometimes get a bit of yielding solid yolk. Mmm.
I always have the yu-sheng as a side. No other stall I’ve tried makes it this way. Again, the theme is generous servings and toppings. I can barely finish the small portion. It’s made of slices of raw fish topped with ginger matchsticks, spring onion, fried shallots, toasted black and white sesame and sesame oil. Top it all off with a sprinkling of lime juice and some cut red chilli and the flavour combination is phenomenal. It’s almost the entire reason why I keep coming back for more.
$4.50 for a chicken porridge with egg and a small yu-sheng. Go early or on an especially hot day where there’s less of a queue. Don’t dither with your order because the lady can be quite curt. Be brave!
This stall at Maxwell Hawker Centre sells what a lot of people consider the best fish soup in Singapore. It’s very decent because of the thick deep-fried sangyu (snakehead) pieces and rich soup. While I’m not the biggest fan of the Cantonese style (my Cantonese ancestors must be turning in the grave), I think this is probably the best bet to get your milky fish beehoon fix.
Note that it’s not always consistent and definitely not perfect. My beehoon was clumpy and I felt that the soup had a bit too much evaporated milk in it. Will report back the next time I try this without milk.
Jin Hua Sliced Fish Bee Hoon
Maxwell Hawker Centre