Mr Appam – An Appam Wonderland of Flavours (Plus Putu Mayam) in Maxwell Food Centre!
The stall might be called Mr Appam, but it’s singlehandedly helmed by a female Vietnamese hawker, Nguyen Thi Kieu Hanh, who sells a variety of innovative appam along with putu mayam. As for the story behind how she came to sell the popular South Indian snack? It all began with an accidental hawker bid which flourished into a learning journey on how to make appam.
Having previously worked at Vietnamese chain restaurant Nam Nam, Kieu Hanh initially planned to break into the hawker life with Vietnamese food. That all changed when it came to the hawker bidding process and she mistakenly won a bid for an Indian food stall in Maxwell Food Centre instead (even I didn’t know hawker bidding was so specific).
Rather than giving up, the plucky chef decided to stick to her guns and sought advice from a friend on what she should sell. Appam emerged as the winner and she spent months training with another chef, crafting an array of flavours for her menu, and the rest is history.
The process of making appam is quite a delicate one and Kieu Hanh was constantly flitting from one appachatti – a small pan that is completely rounded at the sides – to the next to ensure the batter doesn’t get burnt.
Flavours to look forward to include a mix of classic and funky options — thinkPeanut Sugar ($2.30), Pandan Brown Sugar Coconut ($2.80), Banana ($3.30), Chocolate ($3.30), Egg, Ham and Cheese ($3.30), and Durian ($3.30). In addition, there’s also putu mayam in original ($2.80) and pandan ($3) versions.
It’s always good start with the basics so we began with the Original Appam ($3). The beautiful, pillowy-looking kueh-like centre fanned up to form a crispy crust that broke off with a clean snap. Kieu Hanh ferments her house-made batter for 24 hours, which results in a much more sour tang in her appam. Pair the chewy rice cake with the orange palm sugar and grated coconut, and voila!
The Princess Appam ($3.30) was definitely a mouthwatering sight to behold; it comprises egg, melted cheese, and brown sugar. A pat of butter was liberally smeared along the sides of the appam while it was cooking. I loved how the tanginess of the appam worked in tandem with the more savoury toppings here.
We ended our little appam feast with an Ice Cream Appam ($3.30). Gracing the top of the appam was a combination of coconut ice cream, sliced banana and peanuts that was put together by Kieu Hanh herself. It was further topped with another scoop of ice cream(your choice of chocolate, vanilla or strawberry).
The ice-cream made by Kieu Hanh held its shape impressively well throughout our shoot and the mix of the melted strawberry ice cream together with it was absolutely yummy.
I couldn’t resist getting the Original Putu Mayam as well and was satisfied with the pleasantly soft steamed rice noodles. The sweetness of the orange palm sugar and refreshing taste of the grated coconut that added texture made this a snack that you can never tire of.
Mr Appam is undoubtedly a fantastic and welcome addition to Maxwell Food Centre. Every appam is made to order and there are so many flavours to explore!
Address: #01-99, Maxwell Food Centre, 1 Kadayanallur Street, Singapore 069184
Opening Hours: 8am to 8pm, Monday, Wednesday to Sunday.
MissTamChiak.com made an anonymous visit and paid its own meal at the stall featured here.
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