Food Guide: Jalan Besar

By Gregory Leow
20 March 2013 10:45 AM Updated 02 Jun 2014

Food Guide: Jalan Besar

Cold shark meat at Lao Liang | Photo: Gregory Leow

For the first part of the Jalan Besar food guide, read here


Photo: Gregory Leow





Ye Zhi Mei Handmade Dim Sum
For Malaysia-style big buns
The "Amy Yip Pau" ($3) has been around for more than two decades and can be had at this corner coffeeshop off the main Jalan Besar. Named after the popular Hong Kong Category Three actress Amy Yip (Ye Zhi Mei) – popular in the 1990s and was known for her slim figure and large breasts – the 500g Malaysia-style is a complete meal in itself: it is filled with an assortment of ingredients like turnip, mushrooms, chicken, pork and a whole egg. Johor also adds Chinese sausage, which is unusual for big pau in Singapore. The slightly sweet marination is rich and dark and is not too oily, not when compared to the buns of other pau stalls. 
Ye Zi Mei 叶子楣手工包点 Handmade Dim Sum | Address: 208 Jalan Besar (at the corner of Maude Road) | Tel: 62942210 | Opening hours: Tue-Sun 24 hours


Lao Liang Cold Trotters & Shark’s Meat
For the whole shark, and other cold Teochew dishes
We’re not talking about the fin (that’s not the kind of boat we float on) – we prefer the whole shark, and we prefer them cold. Lao Liang Cold Trotters & Shark’s Meat is possibly the only stall left in Singapore selling boiled shark parts. For starters, $5 gets you a basic plate of boiled shark parts; ask also for the shark cartilage, skin and insides and the price bumps up to a whopping $20, but this plate is more impressive: fresh, lovely gelatinous bits and complex mix of textures, is served with homemade plum, chilli and peanut sauce. The plum sauce is made with preserved plums which take up to three years to make. Tip for the adventurous: if they have shark liver and shark head for sale, order them - these parts are available once in a very rare blue moon. And those, we know, are rare enough.
Lao Liang Cold Trotters & Shark's Meat
| Address: 166 Jln Besar #02-37 Berseh Food Centre | Opening hours: Tue-Sun 11am-3pm


Photo: Gregory Leow

Mei Xiang Black & White Fish Soup
For robust, cloudy fish soup

If you like your fish soup clear and unadulterated, skip this place. This stall makes a gutsy stock ($5), with added fried shallots and pickled vegetables. The soup comes with thick slices of fried or boiled fresh Spanish mackerel (or a mixture of both) whose taste only comes through when you eat the fish without the soup. Take note however, this stall draws a long queue during lunchtimes, usually selling out shortly after 1pm; takeaway is not allowed; and extra servings of their spicy chilli will cost you extra.
Mei Xiang Black & White Fish Soup
| Address: 166 Jalan Besar, #02-44, Berseh Food Centre | Opening hours: Mon-Fri, except public holidays 11am-2pm


Sungei Road Laksa
For laksa with a lot of “hum”

This stall’s headlining dish is one of the last few – if not the only – places in Singapore that still keeps their laksa gravy gently heated in an aluminium pot over charcoal fire. Some say this results in a smokier aroma; we reckon that the spread of charcoal results in more even heat. The laksa isn't visually impressive – it comes in a small bowl, with merely a few slices of fishcake, and isn't rich and creamy as there isn't much coconut milk. What it does have is a lovely fragrance and a generous amount of fresh hum (Chinese dialect for “blood cockles”). All of these for $2.
Sungei Road Laksa
| Address: Blk 27 Jln Berseh #01-100 Jin Shui Kopitiam | Opening hours: Daily 9am-6pm, except first & third Wednesdays of the month


turtlesoupPhoto: Gregory Leow

Very Lucky Turtle Soup
For ginger turtle soup

Yes, we know the ethics on turtle rearing for soup is fuzzy in Singapore, but that does not alter the fact that Berseh Food Centre has three turtle soup stalls and is known as the "turtle soup" hawker centre. Of the three, the portions at Very Lucky Turtle Soup are the smallest, but it stands out because it offers a version which is not the usual tonic-like soup: instead of packing it with herbs and brandy, this business of over 50 years do a Teochew version which is simply stock flavoured with ginger. The meat is soft and comes with the usual gelatinous insides and soft shell at $10-12 a bowl. 
Very Lucky Turtle Soup
| Address: 166 Jalan Besar, #02-38/49 Berseh Food Centre | Opening hours: Thu-Tue 11am-8.30pm


For the first part of the Jalan Besar food guide, read here

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