We roll on with our guide to hawker centres where you can dine with up to five people. Next up, Hong Lim Food Centre.
Opened in 1978, Hong Lim is one of the earliest hawker centres built in the city. It was constructed to house food vendors on Hokkien Street, some who eventually set up iconic stalls now run by their descendants.
One of them is Tang Kay Kee Fish Head Bee Hoon, a fourth-generation hawker who sells Japanese-inspired lunch bowls by day and zi char by night. Tanglin Crispy Curry Puff has also been in the family for two generations, and they continue to serve piping hot pastries filled with meat and potato.
Many diners flock to the centre for one of two stalls selling curry chicken noodles, Cantonese Delights and Heng Kee. For duck rice and kway chap, head to Ah Heng, then Morning Bak Kut Teh for the soy sauce-based broth.
Eddy’s is the namesake stall of an owner who sells Western fusion meals like duck confit and laksa spaghetti, and Hiong Kee Dumplings wraps bak zhang all year round. In the evening, Woh Hup fires up the wok for its Cantonese style zi char.
Hong Lim Market & Food Centre is located at 531A Upper Cross St, Singapore 051531.
(Hero and featured image credit: Tang Kay Kee/Facebook and @tangkaykee)
Below, 9 best stalls at Singapore’s Hong Lim Food Centre to visit this week:
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Ah Heng was started in 2012 by a couple who learned how to cook their signature from Heng Gi, a renowned duck rice stall at Tekka Centre. Recommended by the Michelin Guide in 2021, their tender duck comes with savoury and fragrant dark soy sauce, while the kway chap offers tenderly braised innards and tofu.
S$3 to S$6
Tuesdays to Sundays, 6.30am to 4pm
(Image credit: @yum_seng)
Join the line of people queuing for Cantonese Delights’ Curry Fried Chicken Cutlet noodles. It’s a worthwhile wait; the noodles are springy, the chicken is crunchy and juicy, and the gravy is headily aromatic. While you’re there, the lean and flavourful Char Siu Wanton noodles is another winning option.
S$4 to S$5
Mondays to Fridays, 10.30am to 2pm
(Image credit: @msginginly)
This stall is run by Eddy Wan, who worked as a private chef onboard a super yacht and the head chef of a soba restaurant chain in Singapore. He now runs his own business where he serves modern Western fusion fare such as duck confit and mala shrimp spaghetti. He also cooked a mean beef burger with truffle fries, mashed potatoes and rice bowls.
S$7.50 to S$10
Mondays to Fridays, 10.30am to 3pm
(Image credit: @cxyxcc)
Slinging Teochew style curry chicken noodles is Heng Kee. They cook the breast meat until it’s juicy and tender, then add it to a silky broth with airy fried tofu and chewy vermicelli.
S$5.50 to S$8
Mondays to Saturdays, 10.30am to 3.30pm
(Image credit: Heng Kee Curry Chicken Noodles/Facebook)
Hiong Kee only does dumplings of the bak zhang kind. Also known as zong zi, it consists of stuffed glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves, and traditionally eaten during Dragon Boat Festival. If you need a year-round fix, Hiong Kee’s pork version with mushroom, salted egg and chestnut surely satisfies, as will its sweeter Nyonya option with winter melon.
S$1.70 to S$4.20
Mondays to Saturdays, 9am to 6pm
(Image credit: @onekueh_at_atime)
Start your day with Morning Bak Kut Teh, which dishes out a lesser known variant made with dark soy sauce. The broth is both sweet and salty, and the pork ribs come off the bone with little effort. Their preserved vegetables and pork trotter are enjoyable too.
S$6 to S$8
Daily, 6am to 8pm
(Image credit: @joscotham)
Tang Kay Kee is run by a fourth-generation hawker who took over her great grandfather’s stall. She modernised it to offer rice bowls during lunch, a highlight among them is the Cze Char Bowl with Har Cheong Gai Bites, a local take on Japanese karaage. Dinner is more old school, with traditional zi char dishes like black bean bittergourd and assam fish head curry.
S$6 to S$26
Mondays to Fridays, 11am to 2.30pm
Zi Char Dinner
Tuesdays to Sundays, 5pm to 10pm
(Image credit: @tangkaykee)
Helming Tanglin Curry Puff is a second-generation family member of the founder. Their version boasts a shatteringly flaky pastry that’s filled with creamy potato and generous chicken pieces surrounded by smooth curry paste. For more curry puff recommendations, read here.
S$1.80 to S$1.90
Mondays to Saturdays, 8am to 3pm
(Image credit: @maikeru55san)
This Cantonese style zi char stall started on Chin Chew Street alongside famed fish head bee hoon brand Swee Kee. Now at Hong Lim, their impressively large menu offers gems such as sambal kang kong, har lok or dried-fried prawns, steamed chicken in black bean sauce and salted fish, and fried chicken.
S$ to S$
Thursdays to Tuedays, 5pm to 10pm