Anyone living in the north would be well-acquainted with this household name. Heck, any Har Cheong Gai fanatic worth his salt would have made the travels to Ah Tan’s Wings, often touted as one of the best in Singapore. There, the menu is short and pared-back, only four items, something that either a deranged proprietor would allow, or a business so confident in its signatures that it didn’t feel the need to fluff up the menu with fillers. Deceptively simple looking, Ah Tan’s Wings were every bit as good as promised by the internet, and we don’t say this often.
For ($5.20) you are guaranteed plump, incredibly well-marinated chicken that has been double-fried, with a skin so crisp it is blistered. Most importantly, said skin is hemmed in with the unmistakable savouriness of the fermented prawn paste. The recipe is part quality ingredients, and mostly sheer effort. Imagine, drizzling HCG-infused batter first under gentle heat; and then, again under high heat to remove the excess water. That, is dedication to the crunch you get in few generalists tzechar stalls. Get cracking like a HCG connoisseur, with your bare hands of course; and definitely soak up the more-ish chili sauce that we had seconds of. We came, we ate and we swooned.
Ah Tan’s soft launch in the CBD was this week, in Maxwell that to some, remains a tourist hotspot. Indeed a timely much-needed injection of good food. You needn’t be traveling up North for your HCG fix anymore. In the long languid noons, if you’re sick of eating healthy, and feel a bit naughty, make a short jaunt to Maxwell Food Centre. Or heck, tea time snack works great too.
Portions are huge and price points reasonable—($5.20) for the Atas Wing Meal that comes with two HCG deftly cut and separated so you don’t need incredibly motor skills, nor look like an ass struggling with chicken—an egg and rice; and the Atas Cutlet Meal ($6.80) that, like its namesake, is a har cheong cutlet. Those on the fence about fermented shrimp paste can opt for Set C, which is the basic set, with just a wing and rice, and courtesy cucumber slices ($3.50). Preparation starts at 8.30 am, first orders come in at 11 am, stall remains open till sells out, which is parlance for you snooze you lose.
Psst: third branch coming up in Ayer Rajah, yes you heard it here first.
All photo credits: XINDOTS
Maxwell Hawker Centre #01-03.