(Chinatown Complex Food Centre: Part I)
The food centre was closed for renovations in March and has reopened.
The Chinese New Year is a great period to visit Chinatown. Shops and stalls are dressed up in a slightly crazed combination of yellow, orange and red hues, and everyone seems to be in a jovialer mood than usual.
Hui Min Chinese Herbal Tea 惠民好涼茶, #02-143
I’m not really one for herbal teas, so I was more interested in the flasks the stall had. Sarah had a lohan chrysanthemum tea at S$1.20. It went pretty quickly. Other than herbal teas, organic soya milk is also available.
Ann Chin 安珍手工薄餅 (Since 1958), #02-112
I don’t go out of my way to find good popiahs, but I get suitably depressed when I order one and it turns out dismal. I didn’t harbour high expectations for this when we ordered, but this is hands down, one of the better popiahs I’ve eaten in years. Their popiah skins are handmade on the spot and the filling is a generous portion of turnip (mang kwang), bean sprouts, peanuts and minced hard-boiled egg. We especially loved the fried (flour? turnip?) bits.
Terry Katong Laksa 達利加東叻沙, #02-094
After eating something nice, the appetite seeks more food. So we got ourselves some laksa.
It is hard to find a Katong Laksa place outside of the east. Most places sell the spicier, redder, too-many-tau-pok variant of the dish. I was a regular-enough parton of this stall when I was working in the area, and I liked how much liao (ingredients) they add to even the smallest/cheapest bowl. The famous Katong shops charge S$4 for a laughable portion. A S$3 bowl here will fill you properly. If you’re health-conscious, you’ll be glad to know that the stall uses no preservatives, no added sugar and no evaporated creamer.
And no, laksa is not laksa if you don’t take cockles.
Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre
336 Smith Street
Open daily; operating hours may differ from stall to stall
#reclaimingsg is our series about all things related to our memories of and how we feel about Singapore.
We’re also hoping to do a series of different hawker centres in Singapore. This marks the second entry for Chinatown Complex Food Centre. If you would like to contribute, contact us!