Market Street Interim Food Centre
A great case of lost-and-found happened when the famed Golden Shoe shuttered, leaving long-time patrons utterly lost—for months. Hearts ached and stomachs growled. But as they say, you lose some, you gain some; and the CBD-nites gained, big time.
Here, you’ll re-discover old favourites. Although be warned, that heavy foot traffic, the solid congregation of office buildings and the lack of veritable alternatives all contribute to queues and crowds here.
Address: 5 Cross St, Singapore 048418
Nearest MRT: Telok Ayer (Exit C)
Unfortunately, Market Street Interim appears to be the most crowded amongst all CBD hawker centres.
*Stalls you can find on XINDOTS app
Ah Liang Ipoh Hor Fun, #01-35*
Proffering a selection of 10 types of Ipoh Hor Fun—from shredded chicken to mushroom—Ah Liang admitted that the ultimate crowd-pleaser is the Fried Fish Dumpling one ($3.50). Ipoh Fun noodles are thinner, slurpier and usually souped up. It’s a great in-betweener of a Hor Fun and a Lor Mee. At Ah Liang, the broth is a savoury chicken stock with dang gui and goji berries. The dish has a ever so slight herbal tinge to it and is favoured by people with lighter palettes.
Be snappy with your order or you may hold up the queue; or simply save yourself some grief and order from XINDOTS.
** Ah Liang Ipoh Hor Fun can also be found in Market Street Food Centre; Amoy Food Centre
Opening hours: Daily, 11am – 2pm
Up for a truly fantastic, sinful lemak biryani? Try Golden Nur. Seemingly nondescript, the queue here moves fast because makcik keeps a watchful eye and the boss himself, a no-nonsense character and a force to be reckoned with. The name of the game is the glorious red flecks of crispy cornflour bits. Regulars com here for their fix of juicy fried ayam (request they cut out the breast portion that can be slightly dry); and the sweet, slightly tangy chili. Even the long-grained basmati nasi is kept exceedingly fluffy, delicately flavoured with the right kind of spices. What kind of spices? We didn’t think to ask. We marvelled at the serving size and proceeded to stuffed our faces.
Opening hours: Mon – Fri, 11am – 8pm
Market Street Nasi Lemak, #01-24*
If you’re done with all that soup saucey food stuff or if you’re wearing white, #CBDwoes, the Market St. Nasi Lemak is a no brainer. Added to that, ($3.50) gets you a solid dish of homey food—pandan-flavoured rice, a drumstick, a wedge of otak and a modest version of veg. Feel free to add an egg if you must, but experience tells us that even the most modest nasi lemak will lead to a post-lunch food coma.
Opening hours: Mon – Fri, 8.30am – 5pm; Ph Eve 8am – 10pm
Yet another stalwart of Market St Interim market, Tiong Bahru Wanton Mee will do you a solid, if you want value-for-money, and a filling meal. Wantons here are old-school, massive and encased in pillowy skin. Rest assured that you not taste the offensive kee (alkaline) aftertaste of a frozen wanton skin. The team of three workers move fast behind the counter, so does the queue, but this is the 11.15am scene which frankly, speaks for itself. Our tip for a more-ish meal: grab a good douse of green chili.
Opening hours: Mon – Fri, 7am – 3pm; Sat, Sun, PH Eve 8am – 10pm
Wei Nan Wang Hock Kian Lor Mee, #01-46
Wei Nan Wang Hock Kian Lor Mee is manned by a cutesy, 80-something year-old couple. Everything about this lor mee is much. Think carb and starch overload, incredibly fatty pork slices, more-ish fried fish, extra sauces and minced garlic. When the Mrs. saw us photographing the food, she insisted on adding on more toppings (you’ll be eating this after anyway right?). Hawkers are generally affable and giving when they’re not flustered by the lunch bunch. This was slightly more gooey than what I’m used to and it sent me into a sleepy stupor right after.
Opening hours: Mon – Fri, 10:30am – 2pm
Zhong Hua Liao Li 1995 although possibly the youngest stall at Market Street Interim, is possibly also one of the anchor stalls there and a force to be reckoned with. The crowd favorite is obviously the curry pork chop horfun ($4.50) with an alternative staple base of rice). Frankly, this dish is a well-married irony. Firstly, the curry is more creamy than spicy, secondly, that a thinner variant of noodles is used instead of the wider horfun noods, lastly, the dish is more soupy than charred. despite certain expectations, giving credit where it is due, the noodles are well-soaked in the broth; and accompanying plump mushrooms lend an earthy taste to the dish. Toggle around the app to discover the add-ons—a serving of potatoes ($0.50), vegetables ($0.50), mushrooms ($1) fish/ meat ($2)—although we suggest you don’t, because serving sizes are huge enough as it is.
Opening hours: Mon – Fri only, 10am – 2pm
Maxwell Road Hawker Centre
Maxwell needs no introduction here, or even abroad. Ever since Anthony Bourdain famously put Tian Tian Chicken Rice on the map, there has been no shortage of tourists and locals alike, flocking there for a taste. It can all be exasperating for us CBD-ers beating off the crowd. Don’t quote us, but that hallmark moment may have cemented our pride for Hainanese Chicken Rice, and began the parading of said chicken rice as one of our “national dishes”.
In all, Maxwell does not see as heavy a foot traffic as the other CBD hawker centres, only because it is not as strategically located, being somewhat perched on an incline, requiring some uphill walk.
Nearest MRT: NONE
*Stalls you can find on XINDOTS app
The (horror) stories are real, Tian Tian enjoys queues that average 45 minutes on a good day and more than an hour otherwise. You can also find everybody’s favourite chicken rice in Bedok and Clementi.Simply put, Tian Tian checks all the boxes of a solid Hainanese Chicken Rice dish, from silky chicken to the fragrant rice. Size up to make the queue worth it. Mostly, you’ll be hard pressed to find a group of five people in Singapore simultaneously agreeing on a favourite and this holds true for Tian Tian, despite Bourdain’s stamp of approval.
Opening hours: Daily, 10am – 8pm, closed on Mon
Another one of CBD old guards, find Ah Tai brazenly located beside Tian Tian Chicken Rice. This stall is quiet, proud and serves only Hainanese white chicken. Similarly, the chicken is poached then kept in cold water to prevent overcooking. That they have survived thusfar is testament to their quality. Definitely request for your chicken to be deboned. If you’re gunning for “healthy” or living out your “less is more” principle, the breast portion is ($3.50) and you can add beansprouts ($2). Alternatively, get the ($5) set that comes with a standard and no less delicious dish of vegetables with oyster sauce. Feeding friends? The whole chicken is ($24); if your friends are non-squirmish, ($2) gives them a sampling of visceral organs. This shop is for the purist and you will not be disappointed.
The Singaporean answer to KFC fried chicken—oysters, grease and shrimps. Find that goodness within this crispy wedge of oyster cake ($2). This is one of the last few surviving stalls in Singapore proffering the Fuzhou delicacy. Preparation starts at 4 in the wee morning and by mid-morning, batches of freshly fried pancakes are ready to be sold. In place of flour rice grains—soaked overnight, then ground— is the main ingredient of the pancake paste. If you’re raring for a sinful morning indulgence, grab one, or a few—we won’t judge, but definitely load it up with chili.
Opening hours: Mon – Sat, 9am – 8pm
Veritable mention: PAN CAKE, #01-026*
Possibly one of the best Mee Jian Kueh (pancakes) in all of CBD, Pan Cake has a mostly lower-profile because everything sells out by noon. Each treat is ($0.70) and they include you tiao, butterfly, sesame balls, and MJK, of course. Their MJK is something else—pandan-flavoured dough well-kneaded, with the consistency of a muachee, soft and chewy. They never skimp on ingredients, and our personal favourite of the three fillings—peanut, coconut and red bean—is the peanut one.
Opening hours: Mon – Fri 11am – 2pm; Sat 8am – 10pm
Where to get some when you want dimsum, Shanghainese style? Despite the pared-down menu, these Shanghainese dumplings (not to be confused with soupy xiao long baos) are juicy to a fault, wrapped in hand-made, hand-kneaded skin and bursting with minced pork. ($4) for 8 pieces of incredibly plump dumplings that more than make up a meal—sign us up. If your appetite needs whetting, the hot and sour soup ($3) does the trick.
Opening hours: Daily, 12pm – 8pm or sold out, usually 3.30pm, closed Mon and Weds
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