City Energy, Singapore’s town gas and natural gas utilities provider, is proud to support the fifth edition of the annual Hawker Spotlight, a staple event held in conjunction with the annual Singapore Food Festival (SFF). This year’s showcase will be held at Golden Mile Food Centre on 25 July 2019 and hosted by celebrity food connoisseur, Moses Lim. The multi-storey hawker centre has 13 hawker stalls crowned with the prestigious City Hawker Food Hunt accolade, Singapore’s longest-running hawker food award.
The 6 featured hawker stall each had a moment in the spotlight as Moses shared the colourful history behind each stall and their secrets to whipping up delicious local fare at affordable prices – Ah Xiao Teochew Braised Duck, Da Po Hainanese Chicken Rice & Curry Chicken Noodles, Golden Mile Fish Porridge and Seafood Soup, Golden Mile Special Yong Tau Foo, Wedang and Zhao An Granny Grass Jelly.
Ah Xiao Teochew Braised Duck, #B1-43
Speciality: Traditional Braised Duck
Nestled in the basement, Ah Xiao Teochew Braised Duck is one of the best food options in Golden Mile Food Centre. Run by second-generation hawker Rui Hai, the young entrepreneur took over his parents’ business a decade ago and it was not a smooth-sailing path for this young man who took 3 years to build up the business. He could only rely on word-of-mouth before the advent of social media.The business was founded more than 30 years ago by his father, who used to be a chef at a traditional Teochew restaurant before they opened their first hawker stall at Ellenborough Market in 1988. It has moved many times before settling down at Golden Mile Food Centre for the past 11 years.
When asked about the secret recipe to this plate of delicious Teochew Braised Duck Rice, Rui Hai humbly replied that there is no secret recipe, and the family’s recipe is perfected through constant trials and experiments. He owns a 220-liter pot which he uses to make the sauce, and this has not changed for the last 30 years. The duck is doused with a braising sauce that has been boiled for a long time, and made according to a traditional recipe. Its sauce has mild accents of herb that accentuates its flavour. The texture is slightly viscous and runs smoothly down the throat. The duck is sliced uniformly and is incredibly tender. A handful of coriander adds just the right amount of fragrance to this traditional dish. Many of his regulars like its traditional taste, as it brings back fond memories of their grandparents cooking the same dish for them. You can find other dishes, such as braised pork belly, braised eggs, tau kwa and tau pok to go along with the braised duck rice.
The stall opens for lunch and dinner, from 9am to 7,30pm daily except Thursdays.
Da Po Hainanese Chicken Rice & Curry Chicken Noodles, #B1-53
Speciality: Curry Chicken Noodles and Chicken Rice
Da Po Hainanese Chicken Rice & Curry Chicken Noodle is run by second-generation hawker, Tony Tay, who inherited the business from his parents 4 years ago. The stall first started in Golden Mile Food Centre and has not moved since then. However his parents sold Satay Beehoon and Curry Chicken Noodles, before expanding their menu to include Hainanese Chicken Rice as many Thais who frequent the area prefer rice dishes.
What sets its award-winning Curry Chicken Noodles apart from others, is that they are very particular about using only fresh ingredients, and uses freshly grinded coconut to prepare their curry daily. The curry is made from various ingredients, such as southern ginger, onions, garlic, lemongrass and shrimps, therefore giving it a vibrant orange colour with a rich flavour. There are other sides such as potato, tau pok, beansprouts and fish cake to go along with the noodles. For those who want more richness and more punch to the flavour, you can also add in rich sambal on the side. Another local favourite is the Hainanese Chicken Rice where they serve both white poached and roasted chicken rice options.
The stall opens for lunch and dinner, from 10.30am to 5.30pm daily.
Golden Mile Fish Porridge and Seafood Soup, #B1-40
Speciality: Double Fish Soup, Yam Rice and Pumpkin Rice
Golden Mile Fish Porridge & Seafood Soup is run by second-generation hawker, Alice Chew who inherited the business from her parents 30 years ago. Her parents started their F&B business as peddling hawkers at UOB Plaza 35 years ago, selling Cheng Teng dessert and Char Kway Teow before selling Fish Soup. They relocated a few times before finally settling down at Golden Mile Food Centre in 1975.
What makes her fish soup unique is that she uses only fresh ingredients, and her fish supply is delivered directly from Jurong Fishery Port. Instead of the typical white rice, she offers yam and pumpkin rice and cabbage rice made from assorted vegetables such as carrots and mixed beans (every Thursday) to complement the fish soup. Her signature dish is the double fish soup, where the broth is brewed for 1.5 hours daily until it gives off a thick and rich flavour. You can find other ingredients, such as seaweed, bitter gourd and bok choy to go with the soup. Aside from the ubiquitous sliced chili padi in soya sauce, this stall offers a dip of puréed raw garlic and chilli as well.
The stall opens for lunch and dinner, from 9.30am to 8.30pm daily, except Wednesdays.
Golden Mile Special Young Tau Foo, #B1-44
Speciality: Hand-made Yong Tau Foo
Fang Khiang is a second-generation hawker who inherited the business with his elder sister, from their father more than 30 years ago. His father first started in 1958 as a trishaw hawker and moved to Golden Mile Food Centre in 1975. What makes his Yong Tau Foo unique is that not only does he use only fresh and quality produce, he also uses healthier ingredients, such as fish, soy-based ingredients and vegetables to prepare his food.
Being a passionate hawker who is extremely proud of his heritage and cooking, he insists on having the best ingredients to prepare them from scratch. For example, he only uses traditional hang zse her (yellow tail) fish to make fish paste. The fish paste is then used to fill capsicum, brinjal, tau pok and okra. The water that the fish paste is soaked in is also used to boil the soup. The kang kong is also tied in a handmade roll which is rarely found nowadays. You can find many old-time family customers spanning 3 generations who visit his stall regularly.
The stall opens for lunch, from 9.45am to 2pm daily, except Sundays.
Speciality: Satay, Tauhu Goreng and Mee Rebus
Award-winning Wedang was opened by Azman Kamis in 2004 shortly after he was retrenched. Since young, he has always been fond of cooking, and would cook his own meals after school. After retrenchment, he decided to enter the F&B industry, learning to satay gravy from his cousin. He first started his stall in Golden Mile Food Centre, but was forced to relocate to Aljunied for 6 months, due to renovations before moving back. Azman and his wife went for cooking classes and explored newspaper recipes where they continuously fine tune these recipes in their home kitchen to create the perfect recipe. For example, one of his signature dishes, Taohu Goreng, was an improved version from a newspaper recipe.
When asked about his recommended dishes, he was unable to name one, as his customers love all his dishes, such as Taohu Goreng, Mee Rebus, Mee Soto, Gado Gado and Satay. He does not have any secret recipe and always strives to maintain consistency in his food. He assures you that his food tastes the same at any time you visit!
The stall opens for lunch and dinner from 12pm to 3.30pm and 5pm to 7pm daily, except Mondays.
Zhao An Granny Grass Jelly, #01-58
Speciality: Grass jelly with various toppings
Do not be fooled by the stall’s name because there is no granny behind the stall at Zhao An Granny Grass Jelly. Instead, it is granny’s grandson, Mr Yeo, serving you chin chow (grass jelly) based on her recipe. Born in Fu Jian, China, Mr Yeo’s granny began selling glass jelly on the streets after the war to support her family until she retired in 1974. In 1996, Mr Yeo learned the ropes from his granny and started his dessert stall at Golden Mile Food Centre after leaving his electronics job. His recipe is an improved version from his granny, with a larger serving of grass jelly that makes the dessert thicker and more fragrant.
From boiling the herbs to straining it and turning it into jelly, every step is handmade by Mr Yeo himself. The grass jelly has a smooth and bouncy texture that slides down the throat easily. With shaved ice, it is simply refreshing to enjoy this dessert in Singapore’s hot and humid climate. You can choose to have a bowl of grass jelly with a variety of toppings, such as sweet honey sea coconut, attap seed, nata jelly or canned longan. Unlike the typical cold grass jelly, he also sells hot grass jelly which is popular among the older generations. He hopes that the younger generation would learn to appreciate hot grass jelly which is more traditional and flavourful.
The stall opens from 11.30am to 7.30pm daily, except for Tuesdays and Sundays, where it closes at 6.30pm