ABC market and food centre is known within the foodie circle for having fantastic food stalls at reasonable prices. I am extremely lucky since this market is near my hood and I visit them quite frequently. I have been visiting them even before their renovations. The lucky things is that some stalls still remained after the renovation. There are many stalls offering great food and personally, I have 5 stalls I would recommend having the Best food in the food centre. There are some stalls not on my list as I either find better ones elsewhere or I have introduced them in another food centre.
- Tiong Bahru Yi Sheng Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee
This is one of the stalls with the craziest longest queue in the entire food market. The stall only opens from 3 pm and that is in fact the best timing to visit the stall. The queue starts from 5 pm onwards and the average waiting time is 30 mins. This stall has a long history where the stall owner’s father used to peddle the noodles at Tiong Bahru since my father’s time. The son took over the stall and now he is almost 70 years old. The sad news is once this uncle decides to retire, Yi Sheng will be gone for good as non of his children are interested in the business.
I would always order a $5 or $6 plate as it definitely comes with more prawns and more squids. The style here is more wet where you have a noodles cooked in chicken and prawn stock. Each plate will have a slight wet gravy to it and this is what I liked about the noodles. Each mouthful of the noodles has just the right amount of gravy stuck on the noodles so it glides smoothly down your throat as you chomp down the plate of umami goodness. One thing worth mentioning is the chilli, it is packed with great sambal kick and fragrance of dried anchovies as you chew on chunks of dried anchovies incorporated in the sambal.
2) Wow Wow West
My next favourite stall comes with a nice story. The boss of this stall Eric is a ex- chef with one of the famous hotel in Singapore and his specialty was fish and chip. After leaving the hotel, he came out and set up his own stall selling Western food. As a Christian with strong faith, he strongly believed in giving people a 2nd chance in life so he started to employ ex-convicts in his stall and started training them in the business. His first stall was in Henderson food centre. Subsequently, when he found them capable of running the business, he gave away the entire stall ( including all the equipment invested ) without charging them. He then moved on to his 2nd stall here in ABC market. The Henderson stall has since gained fame and following and changed their name. We have known the owners since Henderson days and chat with them occasionally. These days, the owner is seldom at the stove although his wife ( in yellow) do occasionally still help out at the store.
Not wanting to eat at the food centre in this weather, I packed the signature dish back home. The fish and chip is huge and is almost half the length of my arm to my elbow. I noticed that they changed the fries to chunky straight fries. They used to be crissed cross cut fries and much more crispy. Each set comes with fries, baked beans and salad. The fish is nicely fried and the meat is juicy and fresh with no muddy taste like many others. The breaded crust is light and thin without any extra flour. The only disappointment for me this round was the fries could have been better.
The chicken cutlet was equally huge and even though I had packed the food back home with a journey time of 20 mins, both the fish and chicken was still crispy and bites with great crunch. The chicken meat is tender and still filled with meat juice. One other thing worth mentioning is that the salad is out of this world. It has the right amount of mayonnaise coating each thinly slices cabbage and the cabbage were still very fresh and crunchy. There were many times people asking to buy the salad on it’s own. The average waiting time for Wow Wow West is about 20mins and they have already implemented the buzzer system so you can wait at the comfort of your table.
3) Jin Jin Dessert
This is the next stall with crazy queues and is located just opposite of the Yi Sheng Stall. As it is dessert, the waiting time is faster at about 10 – 15 mins on average. There are tonnes of choices in terms of hot and cold desserts and one of the most famous one they have and what most people order is the power chendol.
The chendol comes in a nicely shaped ball with generous servings of toppings like red beans and green jelly. What makes the chendol pop is the generous scoop of gula melaka that colors the entire ball in brown sweetness. Unlike some other stalls who only drizzle a small amount of gula melaka, this stall gives you all you need with fresh coconut milk. This will greatly remind you of the ones you have in Penang.
4) Yuan Yuan Claypot Rice
This is one of the stalls that survived the renovation. It has a huge following even before the renovations. The average waiting time is around 20 – 30 mins as there is a standard waiting time for all clay pot dish to cook. The stall also sells broiled soup to go with the rice. The smallest serving is from $10 and for take away they will mix in the dark sauce and oil for you. The recommendation is to have it there with the clay pot as it would generally taste better.
The rice is very well cooked with the slight charred areas at the bottom of the pot which is something I simply love for clay pot rice. There is generous servings of Chinese sausage and just the right bites of salted fish mixed throughout the rice. Most of the chicken is boneless which makes it easy to consume. The meat is well tenderised and is very soft to eat. There were also blanched vegetables given to make it a more balanced meal.
5) Bao Zai
Last but not least, this bao stall churns out fresh handmade baos in the most traditional way. You can see the uncles at work in the stalls mixing the dough and wrapping the baos and putting them in huge steamers. The uncle has been making bao for 30 years and can make these little delights with his eye’s closed.
Like bread, all handmade baos taste better in my opinion as the stealth hands of the masters put in the right amount of folds or rubs in the dough to create the right texture for the bao. The baos are all bite sized and can be very addictive since each bao can be gone in seconds.
While the handmade baos looks uglier than the machine ones, the texture and flavour of the bao is unbeatable. The bao comes with a generous amount of filling and the meat baos are seasoned wonderfully. A another item to try is the glutinous chicken which is steamed in metal bowls, one spoon into it and you will feel like a kid all over again. The taste is full of nostalgia.
Address: 6 Jalan Bukit Merah, Singapore 150006
1)Yi Sheng #01-13 – 3 pm to 10.45 pm. Closed on Wednesday
2)Wow Wow West #01-133 – 10.30 am to 8 pm Tuesday to Friday, 10.30 to 2.30 pm , 5 pm to 8 pm Saturdays. Closed on Mondays and Sunday
3)Jin Jin Dessert #01-21- 12.30 pm to 10 pm, closed on Wednesday
4)Yuan Yuan Clay pot #01-38 – 4 pm to 11 pm closed on Wednesday
5) Bao Zai #01-135 – 10 am to 10 pm closed on Thursday