It's been said that if there's a queue, Singaporeans will just join it, sometimes even without knowing what it's for. But as many of us have found out, a line isn't always a guarantee of something good.
And even if it's something really tasty, we may not have the time or energy to stand in line for 45 minutes just for a meal. My friends and family members who work long hours do not have the patience for queues, no matter how famous the eatery is. If only everything was as easy to get as a can of Coke. Ice-cold Coke zero makes my family happy.
So along the way, I have found 10 hidden gems with almost instant gratification - NO QUEUES! Here they are in no particular order:
1. Jin Ji Teochew Braised Duck
Lots of people miss this excellent braised duck and kway chap in busy Chinatown Complex, likely because it's tucked all the way at the side. Young hawker Melvin Chew has also come up with a mega bento featuring duck and kway chap ingredients on a pretty platter (first photo). The hefty portion is pretty good value at S$8. Don't miss the kickass tangy chili dip too; it's got dried shrimp in it too.
Smith Street Food Centre #02-156, 335 Smith Street, Singapore 050335.
Open daily 10am to 7pm
2. Meng Kee Char Kway Teow
I almost missed this stall myself - it's in a dark kopitiam - but it's worth seeking out because of this plate of wok hei. This char kway teow is da bomb (greasebomb too). Just tuck into the slippery yet springy noodles laden with fragrant garlic and cockles, and say a prayer of gratitude.
Wei Xuan Eating House Block 22, Havelock Road Singapore 160022
Open 10.30am to 7pm (till 4pm on Saturday, closed on Sunday)
3. Masala Tandoor
Also tucked away in a nondescript corner of a coffeeshop is Masala Tandoor with some of the best fluffy and non-greasy briyani I have had. The owner was formerly a chef at Omar Khayyam, so you can expect a pretty wide repertoire of North Indian fare.
Block 81, Marine Parade Central (facing Marine Drive), #01-654, Singapore 440081.
Open daily 7am to 10pm
4. Soon Heng Noodles at Pepys Rd
Next to the famous Tong Lok Kway Chap is this little wanton noodle stall that also sells homemade yong taufoo. The noodles are delightfully springy even if char siew is a tad lean and dry. Nice touch with the dark sauce in the seasoning too.
Eng Lock Koo Coffee Shop, 114 Pasir Panjang Road (corner with Pepys Road), Singapore 118539
Open 5:30am to 2:45pm; Closed Sun & PH
5. Mamu's Kitchen
Mamu serves an awesome Kachang Phool, with thick gravy made from ground fava beans. They also do a great rendition of Mee Kuah, served in a folded opeh leaf boat. Lots of seafood in that one, in a slightly spicy mutton-seafood stock.
Block 1 Bedok Road, No.25 at Bedok Food Centre, Singapore 469572
Open 3pm til 10pm
6. Richie's Curry Puff
It's handmade goodness here at this halal 24-hour stall. They go wild with flavours - curry chicken, sardine, lemon tuna, Thai spicy crab, mutton curry, black pepper chicken/beef, vegetarian curry and even durian puffs! When I first blogged about them, they were two outlets in Jurong. Now they have 5 outlets.
Blk 349 Jurong East Ave 1, #01-1201 Singapore 600349
Blk 498 Jurong West St 41, #01-444 Singapore 640498
Blk 47 Tanglin Halt Road, #01-325 Singapore 141047
Blk 137 Potong Pasir Ave 3, #01-144 Singapore 350137
Blk 84 Redhill Lane, #01-372 Singapore 150084
7. Yang Zhou Fried Hokkien Mee
This fried Hokkien Mee is skilfully fried with lard (oh yes, lard -- now one of the healthier fats to cook with, by the way). The noodles are steeped in flavoursome stock but finish off dry and fragrant.
Blk 40 Beo Crescent #01-16 Singapore 160040
Open: 11am – 8pm (closed on Friday)
8. Soon Lee Rojak at 59 Marine Terrace
This small stall inside the same kopitiam where the famous 132 Meepok resides. They sell a variety of items but the main attraction is Chinese style rojak. Slices of green mango really perk up the sweetly savoury salad, and they are generous with the rojak dressing.
Blk 59 Marine Terrace, #01-01 MP 59 Food House, Singapore 440059
Open daily with irregular starting hours (anything from 10am to noon) til 8.30pm
9. Soon Heng Roast Chicken and Duck
Another Soon Heng but this time it's roast meats. Glorious roast pork belly, juicy roast duck and chicken all doused with an aromatic gravy. The chili sauce is kickass too.
Block 22A/B Havelock Road Stall 3 Havelock Road Cooked Food Centre Singapore 162022
Open 9am til 6-7pm (closed Sundays and public holidays)
10. Yong's Teochew Kueh
This business has been around for quite a while, and I know of people who live in the West who come here and buy the nicely made glutinous rice kueh and soon kueh. Bonus - they also have Teochew desserts like orh nee (yam paste)!
1022 Upper Serangoon Road, Singapore 534760
150 East Coast Road, Singapore 4288837
Open 7am to 7pm (or whenever they are sold out)
Note: The East Coast branch seems less crowded; I'm not too sure about the Uppers Serangoon one.
It's pretty hard to find local food especially hawker fare that doesn't involve a queue. If you know of some hidden gems yourself, please share!
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