Downtown Line 2 Hawker Guide － Cheap & Good Eateries at the 12 new MRT Stations in DTL2
West-siders, time to rejoice! The new 12 Downtown Line 2 stations from Bukit Panjang to Rochor will open on 27 December 2015. Good news is, commuters will get to enjoy free rides on the entire Downtown Line from Sunday to 1 Jan 2016. Why not take this time to explore some food places around the stations? We have discovered a list of cheap and good hawker food near the 12 stations. Hope you will enjoy a hearty meal at any one of these eateries. Have a blast!
BUKIT PANJANG STATION
海鲜煮粥 (Koka Noodles)
Address: 163A Gangsa Road, Singapore 671163
Opening hours: 3am – 2pm daily. Closed on Thursdays.
It may look like a simple dish of instant noodle yet this particular Koka instant noodle is what makes this stall stand out! Koka instant noodle here is available in two flavours – the original and the seafood. With prices beginning from as low as $2.50, the ingredients that come with the Koka instant noodle soup are generous. We had the big size of the original flavour of Koka instant noodle with an egg ($3.50). The portion consists of liver, minced meat and vegetables. Their broth, which did not consist of MSG, has the sweetness that came naturally from the meat. This stall also sells porridge, crispy noodle, e-mee, mee sua, bee hoon and mee hoon kuey. Be prepared, the wait can be 30 minutes or more.
Chin Choon Prawn Noodle
Address: Chun Sheng Yuan Eating House, 826 Upper Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 678154
Opening hours: 6.30am – 2pm daily. Closed on Mondays.
How can you tell whether a prawn noodle is good? The secret lies with their broth! It’s sweet, fragrant and super wholesome. We love the dry prawn noodle ($4) which is tossed in black sauce and bits of fried garlic. You can choose your own ingredients from prawns to kidney, liver and intestine. Don’t worry about the soup because you can free refills! This stall also serves pork intestine noodle ($5), pork liver noodle ($5), pork kidney noodle ($5), as well as, pork tail noodle.
Beng’s Old School Bak Kut Teh
Address: Hup Choon Eating House, 794 Upper Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 678133
Opening hours: 7.30am – 1pm daily. Closed on Mondays.
We used to have a misconception that Cashew MRT Station is a very ‘ulu’ area with no eateries but stumbling upon this humble coffee shop changed our perspective. Beng’s Old School Bak Kut Teh is good at what they do. With more than three decades of experience in preparing this classic local dish, Beng prepares his food in the early hours of the morning before serving customers at 7.30am. We had our meal around 1pm so unfortunately for us, their prime ribs had run out. Beng’s did not disappoint with the normal ribs ($5). The meat were moist and fall-off-the-bone tender as well. On rainy day, you can expect a more peppery broth because Beng takes extra conscientious effort just to adjust the heat level of the broth in accordance to the weather.
Hup Choon Roast Meat
Address: Hup Choon Eating House, 794 Upper Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 678133
Opening hours: 7am – 1pm daily. Closed on alternate Wednesdays.
To be honest, initially when we started our “Downtown Line” food discovery journey, we did not hold high hopes for coming across any good food. However, at this dull looking coffeeshop, which also ‘houses’ Beng’s Bak Kut Teh, we stumbled across a gem – Hup Choon Roast Meat! We had Char Siew and Roast Duck platter ($5) for two and immediately fell in love with these succulent meat.
The duck used here is huge and fattier than most of the places that we have been to, making each bite more satisfying. The skin is crispy while the meat is tender and juicy. I love it when we get the savoury juices in our mouth after one bite. According to the owners, their roasted meats are so popular that they are sold out by 1pm on a usual Saturday. If you happen to be around the neighbourhood, do give this a go! We’re quite certain you won’t be disappointed!
New Teck Kee
Address: The Rail Mall, 450 Upper Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 678069
Opening hours: 8pm – 10pm (Mon-Thu), 8pm – 11pm (Fri, Sat & Sun)
Located just a stone’s throw away from Hillview MRT station, he Rail Mall is a food haven. We shared a chicken rice set ($7) from New Teck Kee which comes with steamed chicken, rice and a canned drink of your choice. The fragrant rice was not as fluffy but their steamed chicken was quite tender and succulent. We were surprised by their Curry Chicken Noodle ($5.50). Its base was thick, rich and aromatic. We love the tau pok and steamed white chicken soaked in the curry broth.
Pao Xiang Bak Kut Teh String Tied Meat
Address: The Rail Mall, 444 Upper Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 678066
Opening hours: 10am – 10pm daily
Pao Xiang Bak Kut Teh String Tied Meat created a brand new international franchise which has made Klang Herbal Bak Kut Teh well-known worldwide. After marinating, the meat is tied with a string so that extra fat is easily discarded and the natural taste is locked. High quality blend of special herbs and spices are simmered for hours together with the right selection of meat to extract the wonderful aroma. During this arduous cooking process, the broth thickens. The final product is an excellent tasting high quality cut of meat with the correct texture in a thick, slow flowing broth that one can only expect from Pao Xiang.
One signature dish is the Chew Pai Bak ($9.80), which refers to the pork shoulder. The cut, due to being an adequately exercised part, has a soft texture, balanced fat content and absorbs flavours easily, giving it a smooth, succulent yet non-greasy taste. You tiao ($1.60) here is not only homemade, yet also made and fried on demand, in order to ensure ultimate freshness and crispiness without an oily taste when served.
BEAUTY WORLD STATION
Top 1 Homemade Noodle
Address: Beauty World Food Centre, 144 Upper Bukit Timah Road #04-44, Singapore 588177
Opening hours: 9am – 8.30pm (Thu-Mon). Closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Beauty World may be an old but their food centre on the 4th floor has got lots of good food! Boosting this delectable homemade noodle with slurp-worthy soup, it’s hard to resist not returning after your first visit. We had the Fish Maw Mee Hoon Kway, Spicy Mala Ban Mian with Big Prawn and Homemade Yu Mian with Black sauce and meatballs. The homemade noodles were cooked to a nice bite. If you’re a lover of spicy food, come challenge yourself to this bowl of spicy goodness! We do enjoy the spicy kick which caused us to break out into a sweat. Simply delicious! Perfect, especially for the rainy season!
Address: Beauty World Centre, 144 Upper Bukit Timah Road #04-49, Singapore 588177
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun: 12pm – 8pm. Closed on Mon and even week of Tues.
Owned by a young couple, HamBaoBao is asian interpretation of burgers. The Ayam Buah Keluak Burger ($5) was impressive. The minced chicken patty is infused with the buah keluak. Pairing with homemade chilli paste and chap chye, it all works harmoniously for this delicious and unique burger. The stall currently the stall sells only 5 types of burgers only with adds on such as fries, cheese, bacon and additional patty.
SIXTH AVENUE STATION
6th Avenue Briyani (Nasi Briyani Specialist)
Address: 12 Sixth Avenue, Singapore 276475
Opening hours: 6.30am – 10pm daily (Nasi Briyani is only sold after 10.30am)
Fancy having a sinful meal to start your day? Bring on Nasi Briyani! We are not exaggerating but this has got to be one of the best Nasi Briyani in Singapore! We tried the chicken briyani ($6). The rice was flavourful as the spices were evenly distributed and almost each grain was close to uniform in colour. We really like that the rice was not oily at all. A mouthwatering chunk of super crisply deep fried chicken sat atop the fragrant rice. The chicken was covered with a crisp crust and the insides were so juicy and tender that we could not wait to get our hands on more! A pity we were too full to try their mutton briyani or prata, where we noticed most of the customers were having. Fret not as this is a stall that we’ll certainly return to! It’s definitely worth every count of calories!
Soon Huat Bak Kut Teh
Address: Good Good Eating House, 24 Sixth Avenue, Singapore 276481
Opening Hours: 1130am – 930pm daily
Soon Huat Bak Kut Teh is a business of second chance. It was started by Mr Jabez Tan, who spent 12 years in jail for drug and theft related offences. Embracing his passion for cooking, he created a unique bak kut the recipe for his shop and hired staff who were hard-core criminals. While the usual bak kut teh is served with a few pieces of pork ribs and soup, Soon Huat’s Bak Kut Teh comes with pig innards. Kinda similar to the Malaysian version of Klang bak kut teh, but Soon Huat’s one is milder to cater to local palate.
My favourite is the gooey thick gravy in Dried Bak Kut Teh ($6.90) is cooked by reducing bak kut teh soup, dark soya sauce, and enhanced with dried chili, dried cuttlefish and lady finger. What makes this dish stand out if the strips of dried cuttlefish that gave the depth and a lovely punchy flavour that pleases our palate. Order their Braised Tow Ki as well, featuring crispy tow ki drenched in braising sauce.
BOTANIC GARDEN STATION
Noo Cheng Adam Road Big Prawn Mee
Address: 2 Adam Road, Adam Food Centre Stall #27, Singapore 289876
Opening hours: 10.30am – 4pm daily. Closed on Mondays.
Speaking of Prawn Mee, it’s quite tough to beat the uniquely delicious one from Pek Kio Market and Food Centre but congrats Noo Cheng Adam Road Big Prawn Mee! You’ve made it into our Top 3 favourite prawn mee in Singapore! We were very impressed with the quality and size of the prawns. We learnt from the hospitable owner that these prawns are not the common pond bred tiger prawns that you get at most stalls. Instead, these are Wild Prawns harvested from the ocean. We really love the tender texture and sweetness of the flesh, what a treat! The soup was fantastic too – so rich in taste and bursting with flavours. It was impregnated with all the seafood sweetness from hours of simmering of the prawn shells. The combination of the soup and the noodle truly made our day. The good part is that you can go back and request for a refill anytime. The two hot favourites are their pork ribs big prawn noodle and sliced meat big prawn noodle, which starts at $5 per bowl and could go up to $15 per bowl. Note that their pork ribs sell out very quickly so be more kiasu and go earlier to chope your seat and start queuing to avoid disappointment.
Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak
Address: 2 Adam Road, Adam Food Centre Stall #02, Singapore 289876
Opening hours: 7am – 5pm daily. Closed on Fridays.
Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak at Adam Food Centre has been labelled as one of the best Nasi Lemak in Singapore. Food comes in sets, with prices ranging from $2.50 to $5.50, depending on the ingredients you order. We ordered their “Royal Rumble” ($5.50) which consisted of Potato Croquette, Fried Egg, Deep-fried fish, Ikan Bilis, Otah and Deep-fried chicken wing. Our verdict? We have to agree that the rice was fragrant and well-enriched by the coconut milk. They use Basmati Rice which gave it a lighter texture, better flavour and the grains are wonderfully separated. Expect a queue in this stall, but it’s worth the wait!
Hup Kee Fried Oyster Omelette
Address: 500 Clemenceau Avenue North, Newton Food Centre #01-73, Singapore 229495
Opening hours: 6pm – 1am daily. Closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Hup Kee Fried Oyster Omelette ($5 for the small portion) is an iconic stall here and so well-known that it has a perpetual queue outside on most nights. I liked the mixture of crispy eggs and sweet potato flour. The oysters were also quite plump and tasted relatively fresh.
Address: 500 Clemenceau Avenue North, Newton Food Centre #01-12, Singapore 229495
Opening hours: 12pm – 10.45pm daily. Closed on Mondays.
Another stall that can’t be missed will be Bee Heng’s popiah! We love that it’s healthier due to the amount of vegetables it consisted of, such as Chinese lettuce, chopped bamboo shoots, turnips and bean sprouts. These greens are mixed with shrimps and eggs and rolled into a layer of skin made of flour. This stall added crispy bits into their popiah, how can one not love this? When making your order, do remember to let them know whether you want chilli in it. Each popiah costs $2 and there is a minimum order of 2 popiahs here.
LITTLE INDIA STATION
Allauddin’s Briyani Pte Ltd
Address: 665 Buffalo Road, #01-297, Tekka Food Centre #01-232 and #01-229, Singapore 210665
Opening hours: 10am – 7pm daily
At Tekka Market, we are having nasi briyani by Allauddin’s Briyani. Their rice is stored in large aluminium pots. The worker will scoop the rice, top up the curry meat and cover with rice. The taste of their chicken briyani ($5) was excellent and the Dhalchat and the chicken curry complemented the rice really well. Personal preference but we really like that the Dhalchat was a little on the sweeter side. Having running the business for over 40 years, their fame is undisputed.
Heng Gi Goose and Duck Rice
Address: 665 Buffalo Road, #01-297, Tekka Food Centre #01-335, Singapore 210665
Opening hours: 8am – 3pm daily. Closed on Mondays.
Heng Gi Goose and Duck Rice was originally opened by Uncle Yang and the Teochew old man has been braising duck rice for 60 years since he was a kid! But Uncle Yang has left to set up a stall in Hong Lim called Ah Heng Duck Rice. The current stall in Tekka Centre is now operated by his disciples. Here, their dark sauce is very fragrant. The duck meat was rather tender and flavorful, it is still one of the best that i ever eaten. And their chilli is really good too. It is vinegar based with garlic, hence it is quite appetizing. At $3.50, you get a portion of braised duck rice for one person, accompanied by a piping hot bowl of herbal-based soup that is simmered with duck bones and does not contain MSG. I can easily finish 2 bowls of rice!
Photos & text by Alexis Toh Mu Qin, a fellow food writer for Miss Tam Chiak. Follow her at @tmooq on instagram for her latest food hunt.