Serangoon Gardens is one of the oldest estates in Singapore. It was built in the 1950s and the estate used to house British soldiers during the colonial days.
The estate was upgraded in 2001 as part of the Government's efforts to spruce up the older private housing estates in Singapore. Amenities are aplenty, and include two food centres, many small eateries, coffee shops, convenience stores, banks, etc.
It is a known fact that many people, including tourists, go there just to wine and dine. Some locals looking for breakfast or lunch also head for the Serangoon Gardens Way Food Centre for some local comfort food.
My dad used to cook braised duck when I was a kid. He still does it occasionally. There are few things my dad cooks and braised duck is one of them. Unfortunately, I never learnt how to prepare braised duck from him. Braised duck comes in two different styles. The Teochew style has a braising sauce which has the consistency of water, while the Hokkien style sauce is thick and gooey. As a Teochew, I guess I am obligated to say that I prefer the Teochew version. But gooey “loh” (sauce) does taste better with rice. If you are after a nice Teochew braised duck, then you would like this stall. The braising sauce was nice and the duck tender.
These days,it is uncommon to find stalls owned by more than one generation. But this stall is an exception, as the son took over the operations from his dad. So fortunately for us, we can enjoy the kway chap from this stall for one more generation.
I think this might be the most famous stall at this particular food centre. Perhaps it was the father's legendary status that made it attractive enough for the son to continue the family business. But I can only postulate.
Anyway, the kway chap here was very good, although I did not find it to be exceptional. Then again, I have not found any kway chap to be exceptional. The braising sauce was good, the kway was smooth, everything was above average. I wonder if the ‘six chopsticks’ awarded by Makansutra was given when the Dad was still selling the kway chap.
As with many things in life, the simple things are often the best. When it comes to buns, life has never been the same since the birth of Breadtalk. Before that, we were all quite happy with our curry buns, hot dog buns, coconut buns and luncheon meat buns. Since Breaktalk, we have buns of all kinds.
There is no secret to a satisfying soft bun experience. The buns have to be warm, velvety soft and sweet. When they are so, a simple slice of luncheon meat is all you need to put you in bread heaven. OK, that is a little too simple. You also need a cup of hot teh si or kopi si, depending on your preference.
There is no fancy stuff here at this traditional bakery, which has been around for the past 30 years. It has your classic curry buns, red bean buns and sausage buns, not to mention custard puffs. Of special mention are the curry buns which were quite generously packed with potato curry. The never-ending queue of people ensures that the buns are always fresh out of the oven and warm! The ham and cheese is another hot favourite here, but for me, buying a couple of luncheon meat buns from this stall is enough to make me really happy. Best of all, they are all less than a dollar each.
This was such an unexpected find. I could tell you about how the stall is three generations old, founded by the grandpa in 1966. I could tell you about how they remove the skin from the soy beans to make sure you don't get that waxy taste in your mouth. And I could tell you about how they use four ingredients to make the sugar syrup. But I don't need to. All I have to say is that this is the BEST bowl of bean curd I have eaten for a long while and it is only half the price compared to the other famous stalls which I have blogged about. The bean taste is evident and the texture is sublime. It is excellent and ironically one of the cheapest bowls of bean curd around!
If you’ve heard of Tan Soon Mei, you would probably know them as a manufacturer of chin chow. In fact, the owner has a factory which produces chin chow to supply to hawkers. However, if you want to eat some of the stall’s special $1 chin chow, it is only available at its very own stall here. The special characteristic of this chin chow is the texture, which is somewhere between the common chin chow and bean curd. I really enjoyed the texture, but I thought the taste wasn’t too distinct. Still, it was quite a refreshing bowl of dessert on a hot day in sunny Singapore, which is every day. I would rate the chin chow 4 out of 5.
Reproduced with permission from Dr Leslie Tay. He is the author of the popular food blog ieatishootipost.sg which chronicles his quest to eat, shoot and post Singapore's best eats.