Hi Makan Kakis, Talking Point’s Steven Chia is back with another recommendation and this time it’s where he’s been enjoying the delights of zi char staple, fried hor fun. This place may be all about specialising in one noodle dish, but it’s also all about variety, so whether you like surf or turf or both, Hin Fried Hor Fun delivers! Theirs is the “dry” version, blanketed in a thick gravy for maximum coverage. The starchy sauce clings lovingly to every curled, broad flat noodle piece that has first been tossed in a screamingly hot wok, for that distinct breath of smoke (wok hei).
Hi Makan Kakis! This week, we welcome a new Foodie Friend, whose Modern European restaurant on Dempsey Hill features lots of Asian touches and beautiful ceramics designed and created by the chef himself, Heman Tan. The co-owner and chef of Moonbow has an interesting story to tell, in the beautiful plates of food he creates and also on a personal level. His is a story of overcoming dyslexia and other obstacles in life to get where he is today – doting family man, triathlete, ceramics artist, celebrated chef and mentor to his team in the Moonbow kitchen. He shares a little bit of that story in our 2-part podcast and also recommends a delicious hawker favourite of his.
Chef Heman’s recommendation is part nostalgia, part pragmatic and AAAALL delicious! He loves prawn noodles, especially if there’s the added bonus of pork ribs. His go-to place for his bakut hae mee fix? A stall he’s been patronising since his younger days spent hanging out in the Tiong Bahru & Redhill areas.
Located in the now-famous Tiong Bahru Market & Food Centre, Min Nan Pork Ribs Prawn Noodle has been there for many years and Chef Heman has seen how they’ve evolved. He recalls buying satay from them back in the day, but now their focus is on prawn noodles, with the very welcome addition of pork ribs. And for Chef Heman, it always has to be the dry version. For one, it’s absolutely delicious but his main reason was of a more pragmatic nature.
Hey Makan Kakis! Look who we have as this week’s guest? Fresh from his triumph at MasterChef Singapore Season 2, Winner Derek Cheong joins Denise online & on-air to chat about his journey to being Singapore’s new MasterChef.
Click to listen/ download podcast (Part 1) – Derek talking about his reaction to his win in the MasterChef kitchen, his thoughts on the judges, the biggest lessons he’s learnt along the way and what he’s doing with his $15,000 cash prize (only what a “mad scientist” would buy!).
Click to listen/ download podcast (Part 2)– How Derek put his 3rd year engineering studies on hold to join MasterChef, who his culinary hero is, which culinary books have inspired him, the first dish he ever cooked and his ideal dinner party guest/ meal.
Despite his reputation as a fine-dining chef and “mad scientist” with a penchant for molecular gastronomy, MasterChef Derek Cheong maintains that he’s still a “Hawker Boy” at heart. So when he’s in need of a bowl of coconutty comfort, this famous Laksa brand is his absolute go-to. 328 Katong Laksa is one of the handful of Katong rivals for good reason. It really is very, very good.
Today, our Makan Kaki is Host of Talking Point, Steven Chia, who has previously regaled us with tales of his investigations into bread, instant noodles and bubble tea. This time, he joins us to talk about FRIED CHICKEN!
Why can’t Singaporeans get enough of it? Just how many varieties are out there in the market? Is there such a thing as healthy fried chicken? And what happened to Steven when he subjected himself to a Talking Point experiment to eat fried chicken everyday for 2 weeks straight?
Steve gives us a little taster of what to expect in his 2-part Talking Point special – catch it this week (15 April) & next (Thurs 22 April), 9.30pm on Channel 5 or via CNA!
And with all his food adventures, we had to ask him – where he goes for his favourite foods. Keep reading for his makan recommendation!
One of Steve’s family favourites is a Malaysian-Chinese restaurant in the West Coast area that serves up classic Penang-style dishes. In particular, Steve loves Penang Island Kitchen’s char kway teow ($12). It’s not too oily nor sweet, has lots of wok hei and is fried with lots of egg and bean sprouts, just the way Steve likes it. Packed with a generous poriton of lup cheong (chinese sausage), sliced fish cake and prawns, this noodle dish really hits the spot!
This week, we welcome Hotel Operator Melissa Lim, who most recently exited the MasterChef Singapore competition. She tells us about that fateful episode, gives us insights into the MasterChef experience and also recommends her favourite wanton mee in Singapore.
SEE: Passionate about French Patisserie & Japanese Cuisine, Melissa is usually based in Manila (The Philippines), where she is a hotel manager. But when she’s back in Singapore, it’s all about all the local hawker favourites she misses when she’s away. She loves this East-side stall for their unique wanton noodles.
Mel swears by Bei-Ing Wanton Noodles at Roxy Square, which offers up delicious and affordable options like Chicken Katsu noodles, Katong Otah and more. But the most outstanding of all is their insta-worthy, artistically-presented wanton mee. Each serving is presented with a stylish swoosh of dark sauce painted on the side of the bowl. Such flair, Mel observes, is worthy of a Michelin-starred restaurant.
Hey Makan Kakis! Our foodie friend Lyn Lee of Awfully Chocolate & Sinpopo Brand joins us to recommend an incredible accompaniament to awesome Fried Hokkien Mee – SATAY. Not just your regular grilled meats on a stick, but luscious, decadent, chargoal-grilled PORK BELLY SATAY! Served side-by-side to the folks behind the famous Geylang Lorong 29 Hokkien Mee, which we’ve previously featured here.
Said Hokkien Mee is charcoal-fried for that deliciously smoky wok hei and the same charcoal-smokiness is front and centre in the pork belly satay, which comes with gorgeous charred marks seared in stripes across the succulent meat.
Our Makan Kaki, Chef Anthony Yeoh of Summer Hill French Bistro is back to share another late night discovery near his restaurant at Sunset Way. Just a short drive in the direction of Beauty World, you’ll find Mong Kok Dim Sum at Cheong Chin Nam Road, the famous stretch of eateries that open late. There, you’ll find decent dim sum and other zichar favourites available till 1.30am.
A branch of the 24-hour Geylang restaurant, Mong Kok Dim Sum opposite Beauty World serves up a mean “Geylang Lorong 9 style” beef hor fun that’s savoury, umami and full of legit smoky wok hei.
The sauce is glossy, not goopy; intensely flavoured with red chillies and fermented black beans; and the flat rice noodles have a delicious char from being tossed in a searingly hot wok. Large slices of tender beef and a few stalks of leafy green bok choy complete the dish, along with tangy pickled green chilli to cut through all the richness.
Our hawker culture has officially been added to the Unesco list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity! In celebration, let’s go back and explore some of our best-loved hawker dishes, as voted by GOLD 905 listeners earlier this year. Simply scroll through & click on the list I’ve conveniently compiled for you below.
With sincere thanks to all the hawkers past, present and future, for all your hard work, expertise and contributions to Singapore’s unique food heritage. We salute you!
For more, come back often and explore my entire archive of delicious Makan Kakis recommendations!