The Margaret Drive Food Centre. A drab looking place where time stands still and the government has forgotten to upgrade. It is here that I watch many of the hawkers grow up or old in some cases like the 2 sugar cane brothers at the corner stall. They started helping out when they were kids and continued to sell the sugar cane even after they grow up. However, the stall seemed to have closed the last time I was there.
My favourite stall is of course the Char Kway Teow. A nondescript one man show, long queues formed every evening to get a taste of the char kway teow which he cooks individually plate by plate. I liked to joke that the CKT taste so good because he perspires a lot and all that sweat goes into the CKT to give it that extra favour. He will be moving to Telok Blangah soon so catch him before he goes off.
Another stall that I remember fondly is the Laksa Yong Tau Foo stall. It was my first experience of eating Laksa yong tau foo and I absolutely went crazy over it although true be told, it wasn’t really that great. Today, the Uncle is still hemming the stall.(clap).
One of the more famous stall there must be the you-tiao stall. It used to open only in the evening and was the most favourite snack for many of the punters who gather there to place there stakes with the illegal bookies. But seriously, they have one of the better you tiao around.
On the 2nd floor is probably Singapore’s first Shanghai cuisine in a food centre and people used to come from all over Singapore to buy the fried dumplings. Later, they added a hot and spicy soup to the menu but to this day, their specialty is still the dumplings.Also on the 2nd floor but on the other side of the centre is Sin Kee Chicken rice. There is a clone of it in Mei Ling Street and exactly which is the better one – well the verdict is still out but go take a look at the people eating away at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon. It has to be good right?
One other stall that survives but will soon be moving to Mei Ling street is this fish ball noodle stall.There used to be another stall facing them and both sell equally bouncy delicious fish ball but that one is no more and soon this will be gone too. Maybe back in those days I haven’t tried any other version else where but I swear this stall had the best fish ball.
Finally, the popiah stall – one of the few places where one can get ingredients and popiah skins for a popiah party. The popiah skin here is hand made and taste great even on its own. From one stall at the market and one at the former market, the owner now has 2 stalls at the food centre, one downstair and one upstair. The stall will be around until the place is eventually torn down so there is still some time to go to order your popiah party.
Sadly the food centre will be closing – exactly when – even the stall holders doesn’t know. The closing has been postponed a few times already but while I will miss the food, I think looking at the pathetic crowd, I think the stall holders will be better off somewhere else. Just let me know where!