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Pek Kio Hawker Centre has that old school charm that many other hawker centres don’t have. I spent a good 3 months exploring the hawker centre and its neighbourhood. I must say, I am charmed by the amazingly down to earth, simple and truly comforting hawker dishes (just be careful of the hungry pigeons). Here are 10 stalls to try at Pek Kio Hawker Centre

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Good Spice Carrot Cake
#01-20

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It’s so hard to eat a plate of carrot cake from Good Spice because by the time I reach the hawker centre for lunch, it’s always sold out. So one day, I woke up earlier and reached there at 9am JUST to eat this plate of carrot cake. I have tried three carrot cake stalls in Pek Kio. Of which, the other 2 weren’t impressive at all. To be honest, when I finally got hold of a plate of Good Spice Carrot Cake, I was a little disappointed because it doesn’t look fantastic at all. I was wondering,”Why would people even queue for this plate of carrot cake?” But as I slowly savour my $2 plate of black carrot cake, it slowly grows on me and I was even craving for it after one week!

This is a old school kind of carrot cake, so it may not suit everyone’s liking. Good Spice’s owner would fry plate by plate and you can see how he swirls his hands swiftly around the wok. Don’t expect crispy carrot cake. Here, it is soft and each plate comes with a generous portion of fried eggs that are fragrant and fluffy. Chai Poh is insignificant and you just want to focus your attention on the cake itself. It has been a long time since I last had such a rustic plate of carrot cake.

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Soon Kee Wanton Mee
#01-20

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What makes Soon Kee’s wanton mee outstanding? They roast their own char siew! The noodles are not the usual mee kia as it has a more springy texture. Unlike other stalls that rely on supplied char siew, Soon kee roasts its own. The chilli is quite punch and it gives the noodles more character.

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Pek Kio Seafood Delights
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Whenever I feel I need a healthy lunch, I would always queue for a bowl of fish soup at Pek Kio Seafodd Delights. The fish slices here are thicker and very fresh. It’s soup is more flavourful than the usual light fish soup, but it is comforting. I would usually have a bowl of yam rice and chap chye to go along.

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Tong Siew Fried Rice
#01-23

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On some days, I would purposely have a late lunch just so that I can have a plate of hor fun. This stall only sell 3 items – hor fun, fried rice and oyster omelette. They are only opened after 12.30pm and closed by midnight. They are very generous with their ingredients for a plate of $2.50 hor fun. The breath of wok is not very intense but it is a worthy lunch.

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Yean Heng Pancake
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I like my morning to be greeted by Yean Heng’s lady boss who never fails to smile. Been in the business for more than 20 years, their homemade pancake and fillings is very well done. The crust is slightly crispy while the inside of the pancake is soft and springy. On top of that, the filling given is very generous. I usually go for the peanut pancake. Every bite is a delightful bite of softness and crunchiness from peanut filling.

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Wah Kee Big Prawn Noodles
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Having been in this business for more than 50 years, Wah Kee only serves sea-caught prawns which the owner buys from Tekka market. Unlike many other prawn noodle stalls, his broth is cooked using seafood with no pork ribs added. It is super sweet with juicy prawns! Noodles wise, nothing much to shout about. You can choose from yellow noodles, mee kia or bee hoon. It is tossed with kang kong, chilli and lard.

Prices start from $5 but the grumpy aunty will only smile at you (and even offer you a packet of tissue paper) if you buy a $15 bowl of prawn noodles from her. Well, it’s just a matter of whether you can stand her bad attitude. I had the $5 before and a bowl of $20 one (yes I get fatter prawns and more tissue paper). I get three big fat prawns which are about the size of a large palm. I think the $10 is just nice lah. Anything more than that, is too extravagant.

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Tan Kee’s Roasted
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Sometimes, service plays an important part too (exception being Wah Kee). There are a few stalls in Pek Kio that sells duck rice and chicken rice. But we only visit Tan Kee because the uncle is really very friendly. Our roast duck is sereved with a genrous helping of rice, a bowl of peanut soup and a selection of ginger sauce, chicken rice chili, black soy and sambal. After being their regular customer, they remembers your order and is always smiley.

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Soon Lee Mushroom Minced Pork Noodle
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This is like a staple for me and I need to have a bowl of their BCM at least once a week. Really, it’s nothing fantastic and not anywhere near to Tai Hwa. But it’s just very down to earth. I would usually order a bowl of mee tai bak and it comes with ingredients like slices of fishcake and lean meat, minced meat, fishball and braised mushroom then garnished with coriander. Chilli and tomato sauce is added, with some vinegar which gives a balance of sweetness and tanginess. Just be prepared to be repeating your order and engage in a loud conversation with the Teochew Ah Hia.

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Sheng Seng Hokkien Mee
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There is always a queue at Sheng Seng Hokkien Mee. To be honest, I am not a fan but the makan buddy loves it. As with inflation, the plate of hokkien mee is no longer at $2. You will like it if you are a fan of wet hokkien mee, the noodles are soft and towards the soggy side (perhaps to cater to a large group of old folks in the area). You get a few pieces of thinly sliced prawns and sotong. A squeeze of lime and some kicking chilli make the dish even better

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Hong Kong Style Chee Cheong Fun
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It is not easy to find handmade chee cheong fun in Singapore now. Opposite Wah Kee is Hong Kong Style Chee Cheong Fun that offers freshly made to order rice rolls. Rice flour mixture is poured onto a cloth, ingredients are then added and steamed for a few minutes. They offer plain, scallop, prawn, charsiew and even abalone chee cheong fun. The rice rolls here are so smooth and slippery. It is served with a very light soy sauce gravy. In my opinion, it tastes so much better than many of the dim sum restaurants!

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Other stalls you should try:

Double Spring Teochew Braised Duck Kway Chap
Unit: #01-38

Pin Wei Big Chwee Kueh
Unit: #01-25

Soon Huat Teochew Porridge & Kway Chap
Unit: #01-48