Zion Riverside Food Centre is conveniently located near town and Great World City.
One of the very few food centres with a river view, it is frequented by residents staying nearby as well as the office crowd in the vicinity during lunch time. It underwent renovation a few years ago and it is now cleaner, better ventilated and more spacious.
Opening hours: Daily: 12pm-3pm; 6pm-11pm
If you want a taste of vintage, then you should check out this stall. This guy has been around since the days John Travolta had a really cool hairstyle and a sharper chin.I prefer char kway teow (CKT) with lots of bean sprouts and gu chai (Chinese Chives) as it gives it that special crunch and sweetness to balance out the rich savoury flavours of the lup cheong (Chinese sausage), lard and noodles. So when this plate of CKT came, I was pretty excited. It was one darn good looking, and dare I say, sexy plate of CKT.
The kway teow was slippery and lively and it seemed to be fried in a 30-year old wok However, my two makan kakis who went with me that day said that it used to taste even better. So even though it was a good plate of CKT, I was given room to imagine that it could be even better. For me, a dash more dark sauce might have pushed it up a quarter of a point.
Opening hours: Daily: 11am-11pm
This stall is a branch of the one at Adam Road. The dry version over there was much better than the soup one as I felt the soup lacked oomph. When I mentioned this to the stall owner, he smiled and assured me that the soup here would definitely knock my socks off. Man, he was right. The soup here really did beat the one over at Adam Road! Those looking for an umami rush would be very pleased.
I must admit that after blogging about so many different prawn mee stalls, my taste for prawn mee has become more ‘upmarket’. After eating the XL sea prawns, it is very hard to go back to the scrawny little ones. A freshly blanched sea prawn has that special sweetness and texture about it that is hard to beat! This stall has a long queue during peak hours so be prepared to wait. Otherwise, go during off-peak hours.
Opening hours: 12pm-10pm; closed on Mon
Unlike the Thais and Vietnamese, we Singaporeans don't really eat a lot of salads. In fact, the only local salad that we eat is rojak. There is, of course, lou hei, (raw fish salad) eaten during Chinese New Year but that is really a festive dish rather than a regular one.
If there is one dish that I am usually very apprehensive about taking photos of, it is rojak. I find it very difficult to make the dish appealing. It is just a mess of different items all mixed up with this gooey dark sauce and peanuts on top. It is, as its name implies... rojak. But while the dish may not look good, a plate of rojak consisting of crispy you char kway (fried fritters), really flavoursome prawn paste and freshly roasted and ground peanuts, is just heavenly. This stall proudly shows off its Penang hei gor (prawn paste) with the words "best quality". Well, the rojak sauce here was good, but I didn’t like the peanuts, which were bought – it was too dry. The you char kway were toasted and let to stand for too long so they were not crispy. Overall, the rojak was just better than average, it’s worth eating when you are at this food centre.
Opening hours: 11.30am-10.30pm
This braised duck was tasty but somehow had a “clinical” (clean and sterile) quality to it. Just three years old and run by a young lady, this stall owner got the recipe from the internet, books and through experimentation.
You won’t get that rustic taste in the food here, after all, the dishes weren’t cooked in a 40-year-old wok and fried by 60-year-old arms. However, this stall has earned many accolades and visits from the usual Mediacorp artistes during this short period of time. The braising sauce was thick and tasty and the meat and bean curd were well executed. However, I could detect that “modern air-con food court taste” in the dishes. It may well be that the new generation of Singaporeans who would prefer this version of lor bak (braised meat).
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.