SINGAPORE: Tampines Round Market & Food Centre is opened in 1983, serving the residents for almost 40 years, and many times, it is underrated and overshadowed by the large malls at Tampines central. Located at Tampines St 11, it is also the endpoint for Tampines Heritage Trail - Tampines Town Trail. It will be perfect for filling your stomach after the morning walk. Most of the stalls listed here are for the morning, which they serve breakfast and lunch, with the exception of Hai Chang Fishhead Steamboat. They are all popular and expect to see a queue during peak hours.
Nasi Lemak Specialist: Basmati Rice
This might be the best Nasi Lemak around the area. Using premium basmati rice, every whiff is the fragrance of coconut and pandan from the nasi lemak. This place truly takes pride in what they do, and you can tell by how meticulous they are in plating or packing the food. Each plate or pack is nicely plated, which is a feast to the eyes before you even taste it. It took me 30 mins wait for it to get to my turn, and while waiting, I had a chat with a grandma queuing behind me. I will not bore you with the conversation, but I can tell you what she said in one sentence. "Everything from this stall is good lah", said the grandma.
With prices for Nasi Lemak starts from S$2.50 and goes up to S$5. At S$2.50, you will get the pain set with egg and ikan bilis (Anchovies), and for S$5, you will get the beef rendang and begedil. This is definitely a lot more economical than a lot of hype up Nasi Lemak you get in shopping malls, yet it is as good if not better.
They have Longton, Mee Siam and Mee Rubus too. These start at S$3.
As the grandma said, "Everything from this stall is good lah" I am not going to disagree.
Xing Ji Wanton Mee (Wonton Mee)
I wrote about Xing Ji Wanton Mee in Local Delight: 5 Wanton Mee you should give it a try! (burgernbacon.com). This old school wanton mee is just popular looking at the queue. They have no fancy char siew, just good old school noodles. They are only open in the morning and tend to sell out by lunchtime. They are closed on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
Be prepared for a crazy queue, but it does move. This is a good wanton mee. It is above average. However, I will only be willing to go for it if the line is short. Nevertheless, it is a gem at Tampines Round Market.
Song Han Carrot Cake
I am a sucker for Fried Carrot Cake, and I just got to try. At Tampines Round Market, there are actually 4 carrot cake stalls, and this is likely to be the most popular. However, it doesn't mean the rest are bad.
Usually, you have a carrot cake stall amp up their carrot cake with prawns or other expensive seafood to make their dish unique. However, what makes Song Han Carrot Cake unique is curry powder. Yes...you read correctly. The curry adds a hint of smokiness, turning this traditional carrot cake to be not so traditional. The taste of curry is less obvious in the black carrot cake. This might not be for everyone, but I can see why you can get used to the taste and be back for more.
Do check out my blog on carrot cake too. Local Delight: Top 5 picks Fried Carrot Cake, either Black or White (burgernbacon.com)
Yummy Sarawak Kolo Mee 砂勞越哥撈麵
Sarawak Kolo Mee has gotten some limelight recently. Sometimes, it is easily confused with wanton mee. However, Kolo mee is distinguished from other noodle dishes. Unlike Wanton Mee, Kolo Mee is not drenched in dark soy sauce. In Singapore, you are more likely to see curly noodles being used, although it can be straight noodles too. The curly noodles remind you of instant noodle. Kolo mee is basically a combination of springy egg noodles tossed in a light, savoury mixed and topped with minced meat, char siew, braised meat, wanton and so on.
Yummy Sarawak Kolo Mee does have its own tweak to the dish. I got the special which is basically with everything. It has the usual wanton, char siew, braised pork ribs with their very spicy chillis. I do find the noodles too soft to my liking. It will be perfect if the noodle is cooked a tad shorter.
Yummy Sarawak also sells wonton mee, chicken feet noodles, braised mushroom noodles etc. They even have green spinach noodles if you don't fancy the usual yellow egg noodle. There are plenty of choices.
Hai Chang Fishhead Steamboat
Well, I actually don't eat Fishhead Steamboat (Hot Pot) because I'm not too fond of fish with bones. So technically, this should be called sliced fish steamboat. But for namesake, we are going to call this dish fishhead steamboat. The art of a good fish head steamboat is really the broth and the fish. Everything else is about the ingredients such as dried seaweed, fried yam and loaded with cabbage.
Hai Chang Fishhead Steamboat is one of a few stalls opened at night at Tampines Round Market. The common tables are now dedicated to all the hungry fans of Hai Chang.
Hai Chang Fish Head Steamboat started in 2006, serving traditional charcoal steamboat with other zi char dishes on the side. Prices for the steamboat start from S$20 up to S$60, and you have the choice of Red Snapper, Red Grouper and Pomfret. They come in small, medium and large portions.
Pick your fish, the size you want (with the option to pay for extra fish) and the side dishes you will like. Please sit back and wait for them to bring the food to you. The first thing you will see is the chef start preparing the soup over the stove. He will pre-cook the different ingredients. At the side, you will see another chap using a blower to fire up the hot charcoal. Placing the red hot charcoal through the funnel of the flimsy metal pot. Next, is to pour all the precook broth/ingredients into the steamboat. The fish is sliced and brought to you at the side.
Put the fish into the hot boiling soup and blench it lightly. Don't overcook it and "wala!", nice piece of fish. This is definitely a worthy fishhead steamboat in the east.
I am not a Thosai person. However, if I do get the chance, I will not miss Rajarani Thosai. You must have masala, and you must have butter. Occasionally, I will add an egg to reward myself. At first glance, this looks like an ordinary thosai. However, if you like I do and love your thosai nicely browned and with a generous amount of butter, this is it! The chef is not shy about putting a big heap of butter while having the batter cooked over the hot pan. She finished it up by scooping up a big scoop of Masala potatoes with sweet onions onto the thosai, fold it nicely. Eat it with spicy chilli chutney.
Tiong Bahru Fried Fish Ball
Who doesn't like fishballs? Especially when it is freshly fried. Just join in the queue. You can get 6 fishballs for $1.20. Don't forget to try their otah balls too. This is a great snack to end a hawker centre feast!
Address: 137 Tampines St. 11, Singapore 522137