When it comes to hawker food, I usually stick with specialists (those who have mastered and sell only one dish) and steer clear of generalists (those who are masters of none).
Char kway teow and carrot cake are surely from different ends of a culinary spectrum, for instance. One is typically a hot wet mess and the other is ideally neat and crisp. Is it reasonable to expect one hawker to get both right?
Qiu Ji Fried Hokkien Noodle is an unusual stall that pulls this off. Its owner, a former restaurant cook, whips up food in varying and satisfying degrees of wetness and dryness, from char kway teow (from $3) to carrot cake (from $2.50).
The char kway teow is skilfully modulated. The grease, sweetness of dark soya sauce and fishiness of fresh cockles come out evenly and I empty the plate before I know it.
The fried Hokkien noodles (from $3) is respectable. It is a bit too clean for me - I like the dish oilier and with a stickier sauce of prawn and pork - but if you like your food mild, it should go down well.
The carrot cake comes in egg-coated, crispy-edged pieces. Like several of the stall's other dishes, it easily makes the grade.
QIU JI FRIED HOKKIEN NOODLE
Meng Soon Huat Food Centre, 01-401, Block 359 Bukit Batok Street 31 Open: 9am to 9pm daily, usually closed on alternate Tuesday
This article was first published on April 12, 2015.
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