What's the next best thing if you can't meet the famous American Foodie, Anthony Bourdain? Go visit all the places he ate at while he was in Singapore, that's what!
OK, I'll admit it! I am one of the minions of foodies who envy what Anthony Bourdain actually does - travel and eat. What else can you ask for in life?
'Nuff said. A little stall in the middle of a food centre in HDB heartland seems an unlikely place for a MakanSutra Legend. But there he was, a feisty old man bent over the wok frying kway teow with an enthusiasm that betrays his 44 years of frying experience. You should look at how this Teochew Ah Chik (Uncle) swirls the kway teow around the work with ladle in the right hand and chopsticks in the left! Most Char Kway Teow Ah Chik's left hands are resting on their hips! No wonder he complains to me about his sore shoulder.
Let me share with you a few secrets about good Char Kway Teow. First, you must have good lard. No point eating Chay Kway Teow without lard. You are still getting calories from carbohydrate and oil, albeit without the cholesterol. But if you want good Char Kway Teow, you MUST have crispy, crunchy and oh so savoury lard bits. Second, the wok fire must be well controlled. This is the reason his Kway Teow comes out with just the right texture every time. Thirdly (and this is the little secret he shared with me after much persuasion and my free medical consultation), his Sweet Black Sauce has undergone a bit of modification. Ha! That one caught me by surprise! Oh yes, a bit of pandan leaves, a bit of this and a bit of that goes into the Secret Black Sauce of unrevealed origins. (I could tell you, but then he wouldn't be very nice to me the next time)
This Char Kway Teow is the real deal. The texture and taste of the Kway Teow is absolutely fabulous. Plus, he uses a liberal amount of crunchy sweet towgay (bean sprouts) and Gu Chai (chives) which combine together to culminate in an explosion of taste and texture in your mouth. Notice the attention to detail - each towgay has got the head and the tail removed so you only get the nice middle bit, and the towgay is of exceptional quality such that it is so subtly sweet. If you never liked towgay, this is your chance to learn how to appreciate it.
See, he's still enjoying his job, nay, his PASSION after 44 years. All I can say is that I am really blessed to have met this really humble and down-to-earth Hawker Legend. Unfortunately, his sons do not want to take over the business, so this famous Char Kway Teow recipe will be lost once he retires. Sigh.
No wonder he is the Hawker Legend. Is this as good as Char Kway Teow gets? So far, for me at least, it sure is. 4.75/5
Hill Street Fried Kway Teow
Blk 16, Bedok South Road, #01-187
Open for lunch till about 4pm. Then around 6pm till all he runs out of food. Closed on Mondays
|Leslie Tay is a guest contributor to AsiaOne Wine, Dine and Unwind. A self-professed foodie and amateur photographer, he has made it his personal mission to compile a picture archive of Singapore's culinary heritage. His blog, ieatishootipost, features many established hawker favourites which define Singaporean food culture. When he is not blogging he spends his time treating families in his clinic at Tampines Central Community Complex.
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