SINGAPORE: If you are looking for Biryani, Tekka Centre Food Centre must be a stop you have to make. I believe this hawker centre has one of the largest, if not the largest, concentration of Indian Muslim stalls selling Biryani. Whenever I go there, I will go straight to the famous one.
Stepping into the hawker centre, you will be immediately hit by the strong sight and smell commonly associated with spices and chilis. Besides Biryani, you will get all sorts of Indian Muslim food such as Mutton Soup, Mee Goreng, Naan, Thoisai and many more.
There are also some well-known non-Indian Muslim food and hidden gems. There is life beyond biryani.
1) 545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles
Featured in Belly of A Nation on CNA, this stall was started by a young hawker who mastered her skill through her grandfather. After working in the corporate world, she decided that it is not the life she wanted and embarked on being a hawker. Looking at the queue, I think she has succeeded.
Standing in the queue, I was patiently waiting in anticipation. I was wondering whether I will regret having this instead of my usual biryani. When it was my turn, my instincts told me to order the large bowl, and I loved it!
Making a good bowl of prawn noodles requires a few elements. Firstly, having good size prawns as it is supposed to be the star of the show. Secondly, you must be able to brew a good pot of prawn broth as it will be the soul of the dish. If you like your noodles dry, then it needs to be tossed nicely with shallot, lard and good chilli. When the noodle is served, dust it with chilli flakes for the extra kick. 545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles is making every bowl right. Now I have a problem...Is it possible to have both this and a biryani? LOL...
2) Haji Johan Indian Muslim Food - Temasek Indian Rojak
When I first tried this, it immediately reminded me of a stall I used to visit in Geylang for 30-plus years ago. "Rojak" literally means "mixture" in Malay. There are many rojak dishes all across South East Asia. There are Chinese rojak, Malay rojak and of course, Indian rojak.
You get to pick your fritters, and each has a different filling. There are also seafood fritters, with prawns and ikan bilis. Bright red cuttlefish, potato, fish cake and tofu too. All will be deep-fried and serve to you crisp. Dip it into the sauce made from sweet potato, peanut, pineapple...etc. Eat it with lots of onions...Ah...I just cannot get enough of this. My favourite is the tiny prawn fritters, the cuttlefish and the potato.
3) Heng Gi Goose and Duck Rice
I think the first thing people will ask when they see this stall is "Goose? Can get goose in Singapore meh?" The short answer is "It depends".
Heng Gi Goose and Duck Rice stall have been selling their famous Teochew Style braised duck for more than 60 years. Recommended by Michelin Guide, their duck is drenched in the flavorful braised sauce, loaded with umami. You can’t really get a goose, as the stall name implies. However, the stall owner said he could get it for you if you order ahead of time. He did say it’s $100 for a bird. Nah...Duck works just fine with me.
Click here to check out other duck rice we love. Best Duck Rice - 6 places to check out (burgernbacon.com)
4) Kekka Hathija Mee Goreng
There are many Indian Muslim stalls selling Mee Goreng around Singapore. Unfortunately, most of them are mediocre. They don't spend time frying the noodles properly. There is no char or smokiness, which is supposed to be the sole of this dish. They cut down on the ingredients, skipping the mutton and potatoes, with only egg and cabbage in it.
Don’t be scared by the red! A good Mee Goreng should have mutton, potato, egg and sometimes tofu and/or cabbage. Can you imagine the fragrance of the noodles from the blend of spice and smokiness? This is carbohydrate heaven! I am pretty sure there are other good Mee Goreng stalls in this market and I can't wait to head back to try others.
5) RB Dum Briyani
To be honest, I didn't come to Tekka Centre for PB Dum Briyani. In fact, I didn't even know about it. But, their sign caught my attention. "The one & Only Dum Briyani Cooked in Olive Oil" Ok, I am sold. I don't want to add more bodyweight by having ghee filled biryani. I guess olive oil will make it healthier. (I am delusional)
It might not be the best, but it is definitely above average. This biryani stall definitely deserves a shout out. It does taste lighter, but it is not necessarily a bad thing. I love how the light and fluffy basmati rice goes so well with the mutton.
However, I have 2 very critical kid nephews (10 years and 13 years old) who will rate this as average. Maybe as you grew older, you will prefer lighter flavours.
1) Generation Coffee
Amazing coffee! I will usually beeline to the biryani stalls or the prawn noodle stall, completely missing this great coffee stall. Generation Coffee is the only place I know you can get a long black for S$2.80 or a latte for S$3.20. Perfect to finish the heavy meal I just had.
Address: 665 Buffalo Road, Singapore 210665