Maxwell Food Centre named favourite for third year running in City Hawker Food Hunt

PHOTO: Lianhe Zaobao

SINGAPORE - Fancy some freshly made chee cheong fun, or rice noodle rolls, with generous, yet unusual, fillings of flying fish roe or smoked salmon?

At a hawker stall in Holland Drive Market and Food Centre, the humble traditional Chinese snack has been given a tweak to spark a bit of curiosity in foodies here.

Madam Yeo Geok Lan, the stall owner of Da Chang Jin Handmade Chee Cheong Fun, said the tastebuds of Singaporeans have evolved over the years.

"We wanted to experiment and create new flavours for our customers to try," said the 65-year-old, adding that she is hoping to introduce other unique fillings like Japanese eel (unagi) in future.

For the creativity, her stall was among the two winners of the innovative hawker stall award at the City Hawker Food Hunt yesterday.

A total of 37 hawker stalls and one hawker centre were recognised at the awards presentation ceremony at Ayer Rajah Food Centre.

Stefanie Sun and Christopher Lee love this ngoh hiang stall at Maxwell

  • Actor Christopher Lee orders all the items, while singer Stefanie Sun loves the egg slice at this ngoh hiang stall in Maxwell Road Food Centre.
  • The variety at China Street Fritters may be small, but it's apparently good enough to attract even celebrities and politicians.
  • There are only seven items on top of fried bee hoon on the menu.
  • All of them continue to be handmade since close to 70 years ago.
  • The stall's more famous four items are: the egg slice,
  • the liver roll,
  • the sausage, also known as guan chang,
  • and the ngoh hiang (five spice pork rolls).
  • Owner Mr Ng Kok Hua said that their variety was small but "it's good enough".
  • It's not uncommon to see local celebrities and even politicians patronising China Street Fritters.
  • SPH Razor recently visited the stall to find out how shiok its "Four Heavenly Kings" are.
  • The sausage, which is basically lean meat stuffed into intestines.
  • Multimedia journalist Low Yi Qian says it is very lightly seasoned.
  • His co-host Olivia Chang agrees, saying that the pork flavour is more subtle.
  • "It doesn't reek of intestines, it has no smell at all which means they really wash it cleanly," Chang says.
  • Next up is the liver roll, which owner Mr Ng Kok Hua says you won't find in other stalls.
  • Indeed, chunky pieces of liver are used, along with chives and pork lard, to make the roll.
  • In comparison, other liver rolls consist of mashed liver, Low notes.
  • Moving on to Stefanie Sun's favourite item at the stall: the egg slice.
  • Chang says it's like a lighter version of tamago that's slightly fried and slightly crispy.
  • "It's just eggs, flour and a lot of skill and effort," Low says.
  • The last of the "Four Heavenly Kings" is the ngoh hiang, which is essentially meat roll with spring onions and five spice.
  • Between the two condiments served, Low prefers the chilli.
  • Chang says she'd usually go for the chilli as well, but over here, she's more impressed by the sweet sauce.
  • The sweet sauce is made from the owners' very own secret recipe.
  • "The fried bee hoon is not spectacular, but it's good enough to go with the spectacular ngoh hiang," Low says.
  • Chang says that the fried bee hoon is "very sweet", which makes it different from others.
  • Both multimedia journalists give China Street Fritters a Very Shiok verdict, but Low, who admits that he's missing his prawn crackers, hopes to see more variety.
  • Owner Mr Ng Kok Hua shared with SPH Razor that he was having difficulty finding someone younger to hand down their recipes to.
  • Mr Richard Ng (right), the co-owner of China Street Fritters.

Madam Yeo, a former production supervisor who came out of retirement three years ago to open the stall, said: "The award is an encouragement for us, and a recognition of the hard work we have put in."

The annual food hunt, organised by piped-gas supplier City Gas and Chinese evening daily Shin Min Daily News to promote and preserve Singapore's rich and unique hawker heritage, is now in its ninth edition.

For the third year running, Maxwell Food Centre was voted by members of the public as their favourite hawker centre.

A drinks stall, Ho Peng Coffee Stall, received the green hawker stall award for recycling milk tin cans, using them as a takeaway option for the past few decades.

Mr See Cheng Ho, 59, owner of the stall in the Maxwell Food Centre, said instead of styrofoam cups, the use of tin cans reduces cost and is better for the environment.

Parliamentary Secretary for Education, and Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling, guest of honour at the event, said the awards recognise some of Singapore's best hawkers.

"Hawker food is part of our Singapore culture and DNA," she added. "Hawkers play a huge role in our vibrant and dynamic food culture and we want to salute their hard work, creativity and passion in creating the most delicious and enjoyable culinary dishes.

"Without hawkers, our Singapore culinary scene would be without a soul because they form the foundation of our food paradise."


This article was first published on Nov 6, 2016.
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