Best of Kebun Baru Food Centre
Kebun Baru Mall is a place filled with many memories. It is my neighbourhood. I spent my 28 years of life (and counting) here, going to the same market to buy grocery everyday, going to the same bakery to buy bread everyday, going to the same hawker centre for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Kebun Baru Mall is actually the first neighbourhood in the town to be fully developed. The first residential blocks in Ang Mo Kio is Blk 213 to 216 and they were completed at the end of 1975. The town’s first market and hawker centre (Blk 226) is opened in 1976 to serve the residents here.
The food centre underwent a massive renovation in 2004 and now it has 29 hawker stalls. But most of the stalls here have been around since the opening and have gathered many fans. Here’s a tip, most of the stalls are only opened for breakfast and lunch, so be sure to go there early!
It has been my dream to actually blog about the hawker food here. Because I eat here for so many years, I kind of forget its existence when it comes to blogging. And it definitely feels weird carrying my camera to the hawker centre because everyone knows me! But well, one week before my dental surgery, I decided to do it! Every morning, I brought my camera along to have breakfast and truly taste and enjoy every single stall. On evenings when there is no dinner at home, I would drag my Grandpa to the hawker centre to see what’s there to eat. 29 stalls in total, not very difficult to conquer!
So here, I have compiled some of the best hawker food I have been eating in Kebun Baru Food Centre for over 20 years. Still not the most extensive list but this will come in handy if you ever want to try a different hawker centre in Ang Mo Kio. Who will know these hawkers’ gossips more than I do? Enjoy reading!
1. Hong Heng Beef Noodle Soup & Laksa（宏兴牛肉粉·叻沙）
Opening Hours: 7.30am – 3.30pm, closed on Monday
Previously located in Blk 233, the stall has shifted here last July after Wee Nam Kee bought over the whole coffee shop there. The owner Mr Lim, who was known to be Beef Noodle King, unfortunately passed away before they moved to this new shop. So now, the wife cooks and manages the stall with two other female helpers. Unfortunately, the standard dropped after Mr Lim’s passing.
The Mixed Beef Noodles (from $4) has Mixed Beef Soup fresh beef, beef stomach, beef tendon, beef tripe, beef balls. There is generous topping of preserved vegetables, and it goes well with the homemade chilli sauce that comes with chinchalok. They also sell Laksa (from $4) which is a favourite during my secondary school days. To have the best of both worlds, try the Beef Laksa (from $4), which is the special creation of this stall, and I guess you can’t find it anywhere else!
2. Sin Kian Heng (新建兴) —– CLOSED
Opening Hours: 7am – 2pm, closed on Tuesday
Xiao Ping Jie Jie took over the stall from her mother a few years back when the mum decided to stay at home to take care of the grandchildren. Her mum is a Thai, and she has a beautiful complexion and cooks very well.
I can’t really categorize their noodles. It is not fishball noodles, and it is also not the typical minced meat noodles. Their ingredients are all cooked with the soup. Their soup is boiled with red dates, carrots etc and cooked for many hours. The noodles is mixed with homemade chilli sauce, tomato sauce, PORK LARD and a superb mushroom stock. No vinegar is added.
I literally grew up with the stall. They already sell this 20 years ago, and i grew up eating their noodles selling from $2, to $2.50 and now to $3 per bowl. If you want clams or extra ingredients, it will be $4. Frankly speaking, their $3 noodle portion damn little, so usually I buy $4 bowl.
Here’s a warning for you: Xiao Ping Jie Jie is real fierce, so make sure you say your order loud and clear.
3. Huang Jin You Tiao (黄金油条)
Opening Hours: 7am – 2pm, Closed on Monday
If you want to eat you tiao from this stall, the best time is during weekday because the queue is simply too long and confusing during the weekends. All the you tiao, ham chi peng and butterfly is handmade by the owner every day. They uses clean oil so the fried you tiao appears really golden brown and crispy.
They also sell homemade soya milk and beancurd. 2 types of sugar option: you can choose to add the normal sugar water or the brown sugar water. You Tiao / Ham Chi Peng / Butterfly $0.70, Soya Milk / Beancurd $0.60 or $0.80.
4. Seletar Sheng Mian & Mian Fen Guo (实里达生面·面粉粿)
Opening hours: 6am – 2.30pm (irregular rest day)
This stall was in Seletar for 15 years and they just moved here in late 2011. My grandfather and I would eat this every week. It is also very popular among the elderly as they are cheap and delicious!
The soup is boiled with pork bones and ikan bilis, which is very sweet. For a $2.50 bowl of Sheng Mian Soup, you can one super fresh prawns (used to have 2 prawns), minced meat, pork, vegetables and egg! When cooked together, the flour from the Sheng Mian actually makes the soup thicker. If you like dry version ($3), they will mix with their homemade chilli sauce and fried shallot oil.
5. Le An (乐安)
Opening Hours: 7am – 12pm, closed on Monday
Le An started about 50 years ago, when Mr Sun’s grandma started this street stall selling traditional teochew kuehs. Now, Mr Sun wakes up at 3am everyday to make all the kuehs. Their signature item is the soon kueh, and as early as 7am, you can start seeing queues forming in front of this stall. By the time I wake up, the soon kueh is most probably sold out.
On the day when I shoot this photo, they had a special item for that day, which is the pumpkin kueh. It tasted just like those traditional yam cake. Garnished with dried shrimp and spring onion, you can actually taste pumpkin bits every mouthful.
Their fried carrot cake is also my favourite. Sometimes, I will be able to catch Mr Sun making and frying the fried carrot cake in the stall. Oh, not forgetting their fried bee hoon. Don’t be cheated by the look of the bee hoon. Although no soy sauce has been added to the bee hoon, but it is very delicious! All their kuehs start from $0.50. So cheap!
6. Qi Xiang (奇香)
Opening Hours: 7am – 2pm, closed on Thursday
The english translation for this stall means “unique fragrance”, and true enough, their noodles are real fragrant. There are two stalls in the hawker centre selling fried noodles, but this stall is always long queue, be it during weekdays or weekends.
Try their fried bee hoon, rice noodle (bee tai bak) or kway teow (forget about their black fried noodles though). Every mouthful has a very fragrant wok hei. And if they have the egg omelette, be sure to order it because it is well executed. Sometimes if you are lucky, you will also have a chance to try their fried chicken / fish with thai sauce. Not only that, they also sell very yummy nasi lemak set from $2.50!
7. Teck Kee Cooked Food (德记熟食)
Opening Hours: 7am – 2.30pm, closed on Thursday
(deliver to your table)
My parents love this stall and during the weekends, they don’t mind waiting for 45 mins for their bowl of noodles. I am also quite close with Mr Loh and family because I used to teach their daughter primary school maths. This is how close I am with the hawkers! Haha!
Anyway, I realised my hawker centre loves to cook sheng mian. Sin Kian Heng cooks sheng mian, Seletar stall also cooks sheng mian. But the sheng mian from De Ji Cooked Food is abit different because they specially order their sheng mian from factory, so it is definitely more springy.
Mr Loh’s father started selling noodles on the streets 40 years back. Now, Mr Loh comes to the stall at 4am everyday to cook the soup. Their chilli goes very well with the sheng mian, the noodles won’t stick together even after some time. And the pork lard is wicked. Each bowl of noodle starts from $3. They also sell pork porridge, starting from $3.
Note: They will add pork liver into the soup, so if you are not a fan, please let them know when ordering.
8. Huang Fu Duck Rice (黄富鸭饭)
Opening Hours: 7.30am – 4.30pm, closed on alternate Friday
I never know cooking duck rice has to be that precise till I eat Huang Fu Duck Rice. Having been around for 30 years, the stall owner makes sure that each duck is approximately 2.7-2.8kg. Because if the duck is too heavy, the meat will be old and tough. Likewise, if the duck is too skinny, there will not be enough fats in the meat.
Each duck is braised with star anise, dang hui, cinnamon stick, chuan xiong and 10 other herbs, hence leaving the duck meat juicy and tender. They also sell kway chap and porridge. If you decide to have lunch, I suggest you come earlier because the queue can get very long. Duck rice / noodles cost $3, duck porridge costs $2.50.
9. Pin’s Kitchen (阿宾煮炒)
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 2.30pm, 5-10pm, closed on Tuesday
(deliver to your table)
If you are here for dinner, try Pin’s Kitchen. The chef and his wife are from Malaysia, and have 4 kids, the chief have 23 years of experience for cooking.
Their specialty is Curry Fish Head, jade bean curd and Foil-Wrapped Herbal Chicken. The lady boss said, the herbal chicken is available on Saturday and Sunday only, because they need the chicken to be of a certain weight. And if it is available, it will be sold out pretty fast. When we slowly opened up the foil, the aroma of the herbs will subtly enter our nose.
As for the curry fish head, knowing that the cook comes from Malaysia makes me look forward to the dish. And true enough, it did not disappoint. The curry has a rich and smooth texture with spicy and sour taste. The stall also sells individual meals such as kong bao chicken rice, assam curry chicken rice, sweet and sour pork rice etc.
10. Guangdong Claypot Rice, Steamed Rice, Stewed Soup (廣東砂煲飯.盅仔飯,炖湯)
Opening hours: 12pm – 7.30pm, closed on Wednesday
Frankly, this stall has changed hands so many times that I lost count already. It was once selling fishball noodles, then change to malay stall, then change again to mee siam stall. We always say it has bad fengshui HAHA! But I think Guangdong Claypot Rice may be here to stay for long.
They started operation on 1 Dec 2013, and the owner cum cook used to be working in Marriott Hotel overseas. Grandpa and I very supportive one, first day of operation we were already there for lunch. And subsequently went back there many times the following week. I love their Claypot Chicken Rice ($3.80) and Claypot Pork Ribs Rice ($3.80). It will take a while for your claypot rice to be ready because the owner will cook the rice in the claypot. But the wait it worth it because it arrives on our table with some smoky aroma, and crusted burned rice. Super shiok! We also love pairing our claypot rice with Cordyceps Flower stewed chicken soup ($5).
Other stalls worth recommending:
– Guan Yin Vegetarian Food (#01-19)
– Natural Yong Tau Fu (#01-17)
– Gao Yuan Dessert (#01-14)
– Eddy Otah Stick (#01-09)
Kebun Baru Food Centre
Blk 226H Ang Mo Kio Street 22
Nearest MRT: Ang Mo Kio