Sunday, December 06, 2009

Cravings for the East (Cheng Tng, Hokkien Mee, Ayam Penyet, Mee Kuah) @ Bedok Corner Food Centre

The east area of Singapore has always been touted as the "happening" place and with good food in so much abundance, it's impossible to keep track. In Bedok town alone, i can tick off quite a few good stalls.

This time, my view is focused on the Bedok Corner Food Centre, a place i found out just a few years ago. Full of Halal food, this is a great place for many of our Muslim friends.

Located in an inconspicuous location hidden in the midst of private housing plus a relatively small area compared to other hawker centres, this food centre kicks a really heavy punch to its fellow mates. The proportion of good food is surprisingly high, directly explaining the heavy traffic around the area during makan time! 

Ye Lai Xiang Cheng Tng

Cheng Tng is one of the more popular desserts in Singapore...... besides the Ice Kacang of course. In the past, every cheng tng tasted the same to me; every single one of them.

The only difference? Whether one was sweeter than the other. The usual ingredients include lotus seed, honey dates, dried longan, Chinese barley, white fungus, red dates, rock sugar etc. 

The veteran of this centre and the one i MUST patronize everytime i am here, however, has a slight variation; he adds in dried winter melon strips, dried pessimons and even tau suan (split green bean). And instead of using shaved ice for cold cheng tng, he uses crushed ice.

Now, this is unique!

The additional ingredients contribute to a stronger flavoured soup and the crushed ice complements by slowing down the dilution of this flavour compared to shaved ice. 

And one last thing that lightens up my day whenever i am there; the affable persona of the stall owner.

No, his name is not like Lai Xiang. That's a woman's name.

Price: S$2.00

Saimah Ayam Penyet

My first ayam penyet (literally means smashed chicken in malay) was in Hougang Plaza, in a seemingly make shift stall (it is permanent though) and i was blown away by the thin, hot & crispy chicken skin covering the tumeric-marinated whitish meat and the chilli that was so hot but so taste-buds tempting!

I try to seek the ultimate in Singapre with the special factor that differentiates many of the good ones (including the ones i tried in Indonesia, supposedly the birth country) but so far, nothing THAT outstanding.

On the same note, this ayam penyet was good and one key factor that stands out from the rest was the chilli!

Was it hot? Yes. Was it very hot? No!
(the one in NUS Science canteen wins hands-down for its hotness)

I am not really a "chilli" person and i find most chilli for ayam penyet too hot! The chilli padi seeds were distributed so generously i wondered if the stall owners hate the customers. 

The chilli for this ayam penyet in Bedok was so so right. Hot but not overpowering for my tender taste buds.

Price: S$4.00

Bedok Corner Hokkien Prawn Mee

This is such a common dish in Singapore that competition is intense (like chicken rice). Privately, i have two preferred stalls and one of them is this one in Bedok.

Instead of the heavily used yellow noodles for hokkien mee, they used bee hoon; allowing a smooth delivery to your stomach.

The stock for frying the carbos (and of course the prawns, sotongs etc) was also laden with delectable sensation. If only fried pork lard was available to enhance it further. 

Price: S$3.00.

Mee Kuah

I am ashamed.

Over a quarter of a century had passed and it was the first time i tried this common malay (or was it indian) dish. The visual exhibition of the dish initially caught our attention; the shape of a square-like sampan.

The taste test at the very beginning was a bit disappointing. It had a very complicated flavour, like chilli crabs with tomato, mee goreng and even minestrone soup. But as i pushed further, the "dishes" merged and created a heavy, savoury flavour that got better and better.

Everything was good until i found a beetle drowned amidst the thick, reddish sauce.

Price: S$6.00

1, Bedok Road (please visit StreetDirectory and key in accordingly)

Additional Information:
Try to reach before 6pm.

You will not find a table easily if you come after that and food items like cheng tng could be sold out after 9pm.

Motorists beware! The "aunties" check rather frequently on your existence and validity of parking coupons. 

It was horrendous to find a vacant lot after 6pm!

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