The factor about zi char stall Hao Kee, which I name “the magic kitchen” for the way it churns out all method of scrumptious meals, is that to style its greatest dishes, you have to be within the know.
This is as a result of hardly any of its specialities are showcased on the menu, which lists solely the workaday choices reminiscent of fried rice and noodles.
But there’s a approach to be part of the insiders’ membership – ask the stall-owner’s spouse for suggestions and she’s going to gladly oblige. Which is how my colleagues and I found many secret gems from this stall reverse our workplace in Toa Payoh North.
There is mee suah gor ($5), as an example, which I have not heard of earlier than discovering it right here. It is a straightforward dish of mee suah in a thick soup, however the style of the soup is strikingly just like that of the shark’s fin soup served at Chinese banquets.
Eating a whole bowl of mee suah could also be fairly a carb-fest, however it’s, nonetheless, a deeply satisfying carb-fest.
An try to search out out extra on-line about mee suah gor led largely to Malaysian meals bloggers, who say the dish is conventional Penang hawker fare. However, Hao Kee’s proprietor and prepare dinner, Mr Jeremy Tan, 37, says he learnt to prepare dinner this hard-to-find dish from somebody in Singapore after which tweaked the recipe himself.
HAO KEE SEAFOOD DELUXE
Block 203 Toa Payoh North 01-1097; tel: 8688-1382; open: 11am to 2pm, 5 to 10.30pm every day. Closed sometimes. Check its Facebook web page for updates
Whatever its origins, I liked the mee suah gor a lot that it was all I ate from this stall, till the day my colleagues wished a family-style lunch there to have fun chap goh mei. We ordered a wide range of dishes to share, and let’s simply say that it was an excellent approach to mark the top of Chinese New Year.
There was the chao tah bee hoon ($6), seafood bee hoon so skilfully charred that it exudes a heady aroma not in contrast to that of freshly toasted bread. (This requires a ready time of 15 minutes, however good issues come to all who wait.)
And then there was the garlic hen ($13), succulent chunks of hen coated in a tangy plum sauce and fried with so many entire cloves of garlic, it’ll simply repel a vampire. While the hen is the star of the present, the garlic is fairly tasty too, cooked over such excessive warmth that its chunk is tamed right into a mellow nutty flavour.
Other noteworthy dishes are the fried chye poh hor enjoyable ($5) and pan-fried chye poh tofu ($12) – commonplace dishes given a twist with preserved radish – and deep-fried kailan ($12) served with a beneficiant lashing of pork floss.
Mr Tan introduces new dishes when inspiration strikes, so comply with the stall’s Facebook web page for updates.
Or simply ask his spouse for suggestions.