Newton Food Centre gets a bit of a bad rap for pricey food and pushy touts (and its cameo in Crazy Rich Asians didn't help its case much). But that doesn't mean this iconic hawker hub doesn't have its share of good local grub.
On a balmy evening, you'll find few better spots to chill out in the open air while tucking into sizzling plates of satay, chili crab, and other sinful Singaporean favourites. Here're the stalls to hit up for your fix of crazy rich food.
XO MINCED MEAT NOODLES
Most locals have a bak chor mee stall they swear by, but XO Minced Meat Noodles might just topple your favourite contender from the ranks. Their signature XO Minced Pork Noodles ($4.50) is fully-loaded with juicy sliced pork and fishcakes, along with crisp beancurd skin, Fuzhou fishballs, and plump fishballs.
All that comes nestled atop a heap of smooth, springy mee kia. For the spice fiends, their chili also packs quite the mean zing.
XO Minced Meat Noodles is located at #01-10, Newton Food Centre, 500 Clemenceau Avenue North, Newton Food Centre, Singapore 229495. Open 24 hours daily.
Newton Circus famously teems with stalls touting chili crab and sambal stingray, but Alliance Seafood is arguably top of the seafood chain. Besides their indulgent Chili Crab (seasonal price), this Michelin Bib Gourmand stall also does an excellent BBQ Stingray ($12/15/20).
This thick, smoky slab of fish falls apart beautifully on the fork, though the sweet sambal sauce it comes slathered in could use a little more sting.
Alliance Seafood is located at #01-27, Newton Food Centre, 500 Clemenceau Avenue North, Newton Food Centre, Singapore 229495. Open Thurs-Tues 11.30am-11.30pm. Closed Wed.
Another stall that made the ranks of Michelin Bib Gourmand last year, Heng (興) has been whipping up fragrant plates of Carrot Cake ($4 onwards) for a good 50 years. Both their black and white versions are scrumptious in their own right, and we recommend opting for a mixed plate ($6 onwards).
Fried with sweet dark sauce, the black carrot cake is nicely charred on the outside and deliciously soft on the inside. Its savoury white counterpart packs a little more spring, and comes well covered with eggy goodness.
Heng (興) is located at #01-28, Newton Food Centre, 500 Clemenceau Avenue North, Newton Food Centre, Singapore 229495. Open daily 6pm-2am.
SOON WAH FISHBALL KWAY TEOW MEE
The humble fishball bounces to new heights at Soon Wah, where all fishballs and fish dumplings are lovingly handmade daily. Our bowl of Fishball Mee Soup ($5) featured seven plump, golf-ball-sized spheres, each noticeably sweeter and more tender than your typical machine-made fare.
While the soup might be a tad bland for some, we loved how clean and light it was - a refreshing foil if you're planning to feast on heavier fare as well.
Soon Wah Fishball Kway Teow Mee is located at #01-69, Newton Food Centre, 500 Clemenceau Avenue North, Newton Food Centre, Singapore 229495. Open Mon-Tues and Thurs-Sat 5.30pm-1am. Closed Wed and Sun.
Newton Circus may sound like a strange spot for your Thai food fix, but hear us out. Run by a pair of Thai hawkers, Bangkok Express dishes up an extensive range of Thai staples, from Seafood Tom Yum ($6) to Pineapple Rice ($5).
You can't go wrong with their classic Basil Chicken Set ($5), featuring a hearty mound of spicy-sweet chicken that'll have you reaching for more iced drinks.
It's the Mango Salad ($4.50), though, that really steals the show - a vibrant burst of fruity, savoury, and tangy flavours, accented with peanut dressing.
Bangkok Express is located at #01-04, Newton Food Centre, 500 Clemenceau Avenue North, Newton Food Centre, Singapore 229495. Open daily 11am-10pm.
HUP KEE FRIED OYSTER OMELETTE
If you like your orh luak eggy and dense, Hup Kee's Fried Oyster Omelette ($6/8/10) is calling your name. The oysters here kiss the skillet for barely a few seconds, resulting in gems that're creamy to the point of being oozy - a luscious contrast with the crisp-edged egg.
Each bite is best dunked into the sharp, piquant chili sauce, which is perfect for cutting through all that sinful grease.
Hup Kee Fried Oyster Omelette is located at #01-73, Newton Food Centre, 500 Clemenceau Avenue North, Newton Food Centre, Singapore 229495. Open Tues-Sat 6pm-12am.
BEE HENG POPIAH
This granddaddy of popiah stalls has been in business since 1930, and it's now in the capable hands of third-generation owner Gary Tan. Bee Heng's longevity might seem a mystery, until you bite into a piping hot roll of popiah ($2.20, min. order of two rolls).
Think fragrant turnip filling that's been simmered for hours in seafood stock, along with shallots, crunchy beansprouts, and diced egg - all loosely wrapped in a soft, paper-thin skin. Add chili sauce for an extra earthy punch.
Bee Heng Popiah is located at #01-12, Newton Food Centre, 500 Clemenceau Avenue North, Newton Food Centre, Singapore 229495. Open Tues-Sun 11.45am-11pm. Closed Mon.
CHONG PANG HUAT
No trip to Newton Food Centre is complete without satay (best paired with an ice-cold pint, we reckon). Satay stalls are a dime a dozen here, but you can count on Chong Pang Huat to deliver a pretty mean skewer.
This grilled meat chain offers a range of chicken, pork, and mutton satay (70 cents per stick, min. order of 10 sticks), each charred to golden-brown tastiness. It's worth getting your fingers greasy for their crackly, meaty BBQ chicken wings ($1.40 each) too.
Chong Pang Huat is located at #01-60, Newton Food Centre, 500 Clemenceau Avenue North, Newton Food Centre, Singapore 229495. Open 5pm-1am daily.
This article was first published in City Nomads.