17 MUST Try Stalls at Ci Yuan Hawker Centre
Housing 40 stalls and 640 seats, Ci Yuan Hawker Centre is the first hawker in Singapore to be located in a community club. Managed by Fei Siong Food Management Pte Ltd, the hawker has a mixture of established F&B operators, as well as young hawkers, who went through Fei Siong’s entrepreneurship program.
This two-month training programme pairs retiring hawkers with budding entrepreneurs, teaching them how to cook and manage business. As we combed through the hawker centre finding for good food, we also spoke to a few successful young hawkers who are now running stalls in Ci Yuan Hawker Centre.
With the recent talks on sustaining Singapore’s hawker culture, there were suggestions on improving hawker centre environments and providing hawker courses. I am happy to know that the government is finding ways to preserve our hawker heritage.
Ci Yuan Hawker Centre was built with a high ceiling and installed with giant fans for better ventilation. With the new self-payment kiosk, we won’t have to worry about hawkers touching our food and handling money with the same hand! There is a range of food stalls from local to international cuisine, and they are priced from as low as $2.80, so that it can be affordable to all.
Here is a list of 17 Must Try Stalls at Ci Yuan Hawker Centre.
Mei Shi Quan
Opening Hours: 11am – 11pm
Formerly from Orchard Carpark, they had moved to Gluttons by the Bay, and now finally, at Ci Yuan Hawker Centre. The wife started off learning from the husband’s family, and now she works hand in hand with her husband to bring us delicious food. The oysters from Oyster Omelette ($5) were shipped from Korea and instead of frying together with the egg and corn starch, it left to cook at the side of the pan. After plating the omelette, the oysters were then scooped up to top the dish. This allows customers to taste the freshness of the oyster. On the other hand, the Fried Kway Teow ($3.80) has the wok hei fragrance as well as the sweetness from the dark soy sauce; making it a very tasty and addictive dish.
Mei Xi Yong Tau Foo
Opening hours: 7am – 11pm (once manpower issues are settled, it will be 24 hours)
Being a Hakka herself, Mei Xi’s owner brings about Hakka style Yong Tau Foo to the residents of Hougang. She marinates the fish paste with her own seasoning, and also comes up with different types of Yong Tau Foo ingredients. Besides the usual dou gan, bittergourd and eggplant, the more unique items that we don’t often see in other yong tau foo stalls are fried bean roll, deep fried yam strings and egg roll. In addition, soy beans were also boiled for long hours to make the tasty soup. For $3.60, you could choose up to 5 ingredients and it comes along with noodles.
Teochew Fish Soup
Opening Hours: 7am till sold out (usually 9pm)
When it comes to fish soup, we’re all wary about the fish, wondering if it’s fresh or will there be a fishy taste. At Teochew Fish Soup, they used Batang Fish or Spanish Mackeral as their sliced fish. The soup, though flavorful, was very light and the sliced fish was very fresh. You could even taste the sweetness of the fish. It would make a great meal on a rainy day!
Teochew Handmade Fishball Noodle
Opening Hours: 24hrs, Daily
Although there were only 3 main items on their menu, there was still a queue that never seems to go away. So what is so special about this Fishball Noodle ($2.80)? Taking a first glance into the bowl, one will see three fairly big handmade fishballs and one odd-looking meatball, made from a combination of fish and meat. Savory and rich in flavors, it is comforting and satisfying. The handmade fishballs were also very tasty and bouncy!
Opening Hours: 8.30am – 10pm
Previously studied Pharmaceutical Science at Republic Polytechnic, 23-year-old Aericurl saw the entrepreneurship program as an opportunity and decided to give it a try. She felt that hawkers are usually owned by elderly who will one day retire, hence it was necessary for the younger generation to take over this responsibility. Being a lover of traditional dessert, Aericurl took up the challenge to open a dessert stall. Working alongside with her is her mother who willingly gave up her job to assist her daughter. Together, they came up with traditional desserts such as bubur hitam, tau suan and chendol. Aericurl said the toughest dessert was the Tow Suan ($1.50), as it is difficult to get the right consistency, making sure that the soup is not too thick or too watery. Aericurl’s favourite dessert and also the bestseller is the Chendol ($1.80), which is served with big red beans and drizzled with freshly squeezed coconut milk. For such a low price, it was quite impressive for the quality that was served.
Teochew Mushroom Minced Meat Noodle
Opening hours: 7am – 11pm
Served in a mini hotpot, the Mini Pot Noodles ($3.80) consists of crabsticks, minced meat, egg and meatballs. The soup was savory, and the ingredients were fresh. The dried mee kia was tossed in chili and pork lard which enhances the flavors. Other than Mini Pot Noodles, there are also Mushroom Minced Meat Noodle ($2.80) and Teochew Handmade Fish Dumpling Noodle ($3.80).
Fatty Fried Hokkien Prawn Noodle
Opening Hours: 11am – 9.30pm (Tues to Thurs); 10am – 9.30pm (Fri to Sun). Closed on Mondays
The famed Simon Road Hokkien Prawn Mee is now relocated to this very hawker! This plate of Hokkien Mee ($4) consists of noodles, bee hoon, squid, and prawn. The noodles, though fried, were served with a bit of gravy, keeping this dish slightly moist. The noodles were infused with prawn stock with mild smoky fragrance. Nevertheless, for those who like spicy food, their chilli is definitely something for you to look forward to.
HK Wanton Noodle
Opening Hours: 7am – 12am
HK Wanton Noodle has a variety of noodle dish for you to be spoilt for. The usual Wanton Noodle ($2.80) has got lean char siew meat, which is suitable for people who don’t like the fats. You could also try the Braised Soft Pork Ribs Noodles ($4) or Mushroom Chicken Feet Noodles ($2.80) for a change. There’s also Dumpling Soup ($3) which you could get to be shared amongst your families and friends.
Ah Kun Chicken Rice
Opening Hours: 7am – 11pm
Derek, NUS Business graduate, was formerly doing operations in the oil and gas industry, but found the pay to be too low. He saw the opportunity in the entrepreneurship program and decided to learn more about the F&B industry. Determined to serve up a good plate of chicken rice, Derek underwent training with Ah Kun from Old Airport Road. He shared that the uniqueness of his Chicken Rice ($2.80) is in the rice, where wild rice grains were cooked, along with ginger, garlic and chicken broth. For the aroma to emit from the ingredients, it was first stir fried in the rice cooker and subsequently, leaving it in the rice cooker to cook. Not only were there fragrant rice, there were also soft and tender chicken that complements the rice.
Hong Kong Chef’s Kitchen
Opening Hours: 11.30am to 2pm, 5pm to 11pm
Who would have known that a former Hong Kong chef from Crystal Jade would be here cooking at a heartland area? One of the bestseller and a must try would be their Salted Egg Prawn Ball ($18). This tasty and addictive dish has got 10 jumbo de-shelled prawn that was stir fried along with salted egg, curry leaves and chili. The aromatic salted egg that coats around the prawn is fried to crispiness, making this dish crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Another bestseller here would be the Double Taste with Shrimp ($10), a dish that stir fries eggplant and lady’s finger with hei bi hiam. For healthier option, there’s the Home Style Beancurd with Mushroom ($10). Unlike other zi char stalls, they make their own beancurd by using gypsum powder to coagulate the soy milk. It was very soft and smooth, like you could just slurp it up!
Opening Hours: 3pm – 10.30pm (Mon to Fri); 3pm – 11pm (Sat, Sun & PH)
Nowadays, it is hard to come by good and cheap satay. First started off as a supplier, Leo Satay has now opened a stall at Ci Yuan Hawker Centre. Although limited by choices, they are selling their chicken and pork satay at $0.50 per stick. For the convenience of their customers, Leo Satay also sells Satay Cup Set ($2.80) which consists of five satay sticks and one ketupat. Their thick peanut sauce is also mixed with pineapple puree, which gives you a tinge of sweet and sour. Slightly unique about this stall is their Durian Mochi ($3.20), where their mocha is filled with D24 durian puree and freshly made upon order.
Mee Hoon Kueh
Opening Hours: 7am – 11pm
A graduate from NTU, Yi Jie decided to venture into online business, selling pet supplies for 2 years before taking up the opportunity with the Entrepreneurship Program. After 3 months of in-house training, Yi Jie went under Turf City’s Nam Kee to learn more about making Mee Hoon Kueh. He chose to use handmade noodles and to break the dough upon each order of Mee Hoon Kueh. He felt that the traditional way is slower, but it allows him to provide tastier Mee Hoon Kueh for his customers. With such effort on his noodles, Yi Jie does not forget about the importance of the broth. Using pig’s bone, the broth is cooked over long hours, giving it the natural sweetness. Other than Mee Hoon Kueh ($2.80), there are also Koka Noodles ($2.80) and Pork Porridge ($2.80)
Kitchen @ Work
Opening Hours: 11am – 9.30pm (Tues to Sun) (Closed on Monday)
Who said that you can only find Japanese cuisine in foodcourt and restaurants? Kitchen @ Work, is the hawker version that serves a variety of Japanese food, ranging from Donburi (rice bowl dish), to Fried Udon; all of which are tagged with an affordable price. The Yaki Niku Don ($6) is a rice dish topped with sliced beef, shredded onions and capsicums. It was a rather impressive dish, as the ingredients were slightly torched, giving it a tad burnt taste. Despite being in a hawker, Kitchen @ Work has definitely shown quality in the food that they prepare.
Teochew Satay Bee Hoon
Opening hours: 8am – 10pm
Satay Bee Hoon ($3.50) is like a fusion of Malay and Chinese cuisine. It is literally a combination of bee hoon, or rice vermicelli, with satay sauce. The sauce is similar to the peanut sauce that we have when we eat satay. This Satay Bee Hoon also has other ingredients such as cuttlefish, kang kong, bean sprouts, cockles and thin slices of tau pok. Other than Satay Bee Hoon, this stall also has Laksa ($2.80).
The Pasta Stop
Opening Hours: 10am – 9.30pm (Weekdays); 8am – 9.30pm (Weekends)
Venturing out from Restaurant Valentino, The Pasta Stop is the hawker version with food sold at a more affordable price. The recipes are similar to the restaurant, and even some handmade ingredients like the pasta was brought over from the restaurant. The Chicken Pasta ($7.50) is a great dish for cheese lovers. The tangy tomato base compliments well with the cheesy pasta, hence you won’t feel too overwhelmed by the cheese. The Grilled Spicy Chicken Chop Combo ($9) comes with Aglio Olio and Chicken Chop. The grilled garlic in the Aglio Olio has a tad sweetness to it, which was very unique. The grilled Chicken Chop was marinated with a tinge of sourness, which gives it a refreshing taste. This dish also has the localized feel to it as the chicken is accompanied by our well loved chicken rice chili.
To-Ricos Guo Shi
Opening hours: 12pm – 9.30pm (Weekdays); 11am – 9.30pm (Weekends). Closed on Mondays
Now we don’t have to travel to Old Airport, the famed Blanco Court Food Centre Kway Chap has now opened another stall at Ci Yuan Hawker Centre. Their second generation son has taken over the stall, using the same recipe as his Dad! The flavorful braising gravy makes the Kway Chap Platter ($4) very savory. There are also pig’s trotters and other parts like the large intestine and pork belly that you could order separately based on your preference.
Zhen Hao Lor Mee
Opening Hours: 7.30am – 9.30pm
The North Bridge Road Market, Zhen Hao Lor Mee, has been around for more than a decade. With the younger brother and sister-in-law manning the stall there, the elder brother brought this famous Lor Mee into the heartland of Singapore. The Lor is very tasty and they are also very generous in the toppings, where you’ll have fried fish slice, braised pork, and braised egg. Other than Lor Mee, there’s also Cod Fish Hor Fun ($4), Yam Roll Hor Fun ($2.80) and Chicken Cutlet Hor Fun ($2.80).
Ci Yuan Hawker Centre
Address: 51 Hougang Avenue 9, Singapore 530917
Compiled by Miss Tam Chiak & Aileen Lim.