Hill Street Char Kway Teow vs Hill Street Char Kway Teow

Most of us who loves Char Kway Teow will know about Hill Street Char Kway Teow at Bedok South. But how many know that there is another Hill Char Kway Teow in the Smith Street Food Centre in Chinatown?

And unlike my previous piece on copycat stalls cashing in on a famous name, the latter is not a copy cat. In fact, it is as original as the Hill Street Char Kway Teow at Bedok South (HSCKT@BS). Both stalls originated from the old Hill Street Food Centre which is now a vacant plot of land between the Hill Street Fire Station and the MICA building. In those days, there were 2 char kway teow stall there. One facing the road next to the famous Sng Buay drink stall and the other tucked away on the inside. I don’t know which is which now but only that both serves great char kway teow.

HSCKT@BS is now helmed by the son and another lady (presumably the wife) but Hill Street Char Kway Teow at Chinatown (HSCKT@CT) is still helmed by the original stall owner. This is a simple comparison of both.

HSCKT@CT. Short queue even during weekday lunch time. The stall is neat and simple with a display of some giant cockles. Unfortunately they were just for display only and not for adding to the CKT. Each plate cost $3 – $4. CKT is fried individually. This is the drier version but is still full of wok hei.

HSCKT@BS. Perpetually long queue. The lady can be fierce and downright rude at times. Fortunately the son has managed to inherit the father’s cooking skill and the CKT is still as robust and good. It is slightly wet and oily the way I like it.

Hill Street CKT

Question is which is the best? Personally I still like HSCKT@BS. But if in the Chinatown area and hungry for a bit, I will rather have HSCKT@CT rather than join the queue at Hong Lim for the Outram Park Char Kway Teow.

The Great Char Kway Teow Makanthon

In 2014, a group of us did a Prawn Noodle shootout or a makathon as we runners liked to call it. It comprise of us going all over Singapore within a day to sample the dish from different stalls. It took that long for me to digest the food but after  26 months, I am back with a Char Kway Teow shooutout/makathon!

Why Char Kway Teow (CKT)? For one, there is now a barrage of blog posts on the top CKT in Singapore and most importantly, next to Chicken Rice, CKT is probably the next most iconic food in Singapore.

CKT is generally considered a unhealthy food filled with deathly stuff like pork lard, cockles and infused with cholesterol inducting vegetable oil. So to avoid overloading our poor heart, we wisely decided to narrow down the list to 7 stalls to be consumed over ¾ of the day.

After much deliberation over Whatsapp, we narrowed down the list to these 7. Dropped from the list were the usual suspects like Outram Park, too long queue;  Zion Road, ate too often;  Heng Huat at Pasir Panjang –out of the way and Marine Parade, too wet. Also dropped were the halal version. What is CKT without pork lard?

Before I go on further, note that I am not going to talk about wok hei and all the mysterious mishy mashy terms about the dish that most food bloggers love to use in their review. Instead I will summarize the main things about the dish and the stall and our personal rating on a scale of 1 – 10 and I will leave it you guys to go down to the stall and try it and see whether you agree with our rating. J

First on the list and on our first stop – the ever popular Hill Street CKT at Bedok South. There is another Hill Street CKT at the Chinatown Food Street but these 2 are totally unrelated and not to be confused.

This is one CKT that I have eaten many times and like a lot. The old uncle has handled the wok over to his son and nowadays it is the son and a lady who does the frying just like this time when we went there.

We reached at around 11.05 am and they were not ready yet but there was already a small queue. After 10 minutes of waiting, we got our CKT. Standard has obviously dropped a fair bit now that someone else is doing the frying but it was still a great plate of CKT. All 3 of us like it a lot.

Hill Street CKT

Prices: $3.50 & $4.00 Generous portion. No option to have no taugey (bean sprout). Very small cockles.

Very fierce lady helper. Scold anyone who too slow to place order or have confusing orders. But shown her softer side when she ordered an elderly customer to sit down and she brought the plate over to him personally instead of making him queue up like us mere mortal.

Our score: 9:8:8 Total 25

From Bedok, we went to Old Airport Food Centre. There are 3 weil known 3 CKT stalls at Old Airport., Lao Fu Zhi; Lucky and Dong Ji. We skipped Lao Fu Zhi because all 3 of us agreed that the standard has dropped so much that it was no longer worthy of eating although by virtue of its past reputation, it still has a long queue. Lucky opens only in the evening and so we were left with Dong Ji which was the one we came here for.  Now this is one CKT that I had never tried before. My past 2 attempts there were unsuccessful-  both time sold out!

There wasn’t much of a queue even though it was already lunch time. It took us minutes to get our plates of CKT and when it came, we were very surprised. This isn’t the usual slightly wet, oily CKT. It was in fact quite dry and it does not have cockles! Instead it comes with a mid size prawn and for $4, one can get cuttlefish as well!

Dong Ji CKT

Prices: $3.00 & $4.00 No cockles but got prawn and cuttlefish. Very small portion.

Sold out pretty early.

Our score: 4.5; 5.5; 5 Total 15

Next stop a trip up North East to Sengkang, Anchorvale for another old stall, Armeniam Street CKT. Despite it being lunch time, there were no queue and we got our CKT in double quick time. This is another ckt that all 3 of us have not tried before despite it being one of the old names from days of old. The stall also sells hokkien mee and carrot cake which wasn’t very encouraging as I generally don’t think of multi-dish stalls of these nature.

However and surprisingly, our plate of CKT turned out better than expected. Maybe it because it has a lot of lards and it was spicy.

Armeniam St CKT

Prices: $3.00 & $4.00 Lots of lard. Very spicy even for default spicy level. Small cockles. Fairly decent portion. .

No queue probably due to its obscure location in Anchorvale.

Our score: 7; 7; 6 Total 20

Our next stop was Lai Heng at Shunfu but unfortunately the food centre was closed for cleaning when we reached so after some deliberation we went over to Ang Mo Kio Central. The stall is simply named Ang Mo Kio Fried Kway Teow.

I was glad to see that the chef was an old man. Usually that means experience and good food and we were not disappointed. This is one very traditional CKT. A bit on the wet side, oily and greasy in fact with lot of cockles and lard. Just the way I like it! But then in this age and time, this is really unhealthy, the type of cholesterol overload food that should be avoided.

AMK CKT

Price: $3 $3.50 Old style CKT oily and wet. Generous portion.

Our score: 6.5; 6;  5 Total 17.5

By now we were getting a bit “jaded” and the 3 of us shared 2 plates. Still we bravely soldier on to our 5th stop – Stall no 91 at Beach Road  food centre. To my horror, the first thing I saw was the word – “No pork no lard”. Now what kind of CKT can that be? But since we were there, we have to give it a try. The consolation was that the plate came with a lot of vegetables and fried silver fish sprinkled generously on top. Actually it wasn’t too bad but lose points for using disposal plates and utensils.

91 CKT

Price $3 $ 4.50 $5 No pork no lard. Plenty of vegetables. Silver fish added.

Our score: 6.5; 6; 6 Total 18.5

By now despite 2 bowl of ginger soup and 1 bowl of grass jelly to wash away the oil, we were getting “jelek”. And it looks like the sky was going to open up and so we decided to surrender/DNF rather than push on for no 6 & 7. Give us the excuse to repeat this another day J

So anyway, after 5 plates of CKT, the clear winner was Hill Street CKT followed by Armeniam; Ang Mo Kio and 91 Fried Kway Teow Mee. Dong Ji came in last not because it is no good but what we were looking for was the traditional type of CKT not this type of hybrid between the morning breakfast type of kway teow and fried prawn noodle. But hey, don’t take my words for it. Go and try out all these stalls yourself!

Happy eating!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hai Kee Teochew Char Kway Teow

I have been eating char kway teow since young and my absolute favourite is Hai Kee Char Kway Teow. This stall used to be at Margaret Drive and my family used to patronise the stall when we were staying in the area. Thus I can safely said I seen the young man grew old and he seen me grew old as well! But then again, he still looks younger than me! Must be the secret ingredients that he put into his CKT!

Anyway, with the closure of the Margaret Drive Hawker Centre, he has now moved to Telok Blangah Crescent. Since the move late last year, I have not been there and so I was all excited when a friend invited us there to sample his father’s Char Kway Teow and it turns out his father is the famous Hai Kee Char Kway Teow!

So a big group of us gathered for a Char Kway Teow feast and we had CKT with hum (cockles), more chilli, less chilli, no hum etc. After a rather lengthy wait, (son also got to queue up), we finally got our order.

Photo by Francis Chia

A lot of time, after a stall has been relocated or even the hawker centre upgraded, for some reasons or other, the taste change. Or maybe due to a change in the ingredients, (like trying to do a healthier version), the taste change and most time for the worst. Did the taste changed in this case?

Thank goodness it did not! It still taste the same, not too wet and not too dry and comes with a generous heap of cockles. Mind you, this is sinful food and not for the health conscious but I enjoyed every single bit of it and slurped down every single morsel even before the rest of the noodles came for the other people in the group! At $3.00 a plate, (I think price has increased), it is still worth every single cents if you don’t mind the cholesterol inducing oil and lard!

Photo by Jancy Yap

Hai Kee Teochew Char Kway Teow is now at Blk 11 Telok Blangah Crescent Hawker Centre opposite Safra Mount Faber. They also have a facebook page and a blog.

Char Kway Teow at Beo Crescent

While out on an errand, dropped by Beo Crescent for lunch and at this small little coffeeshop, saw many people were eating char kway teow.  Now CKT being one of my fave food, I couldn’t resist even though I know it would not be enough to tahan me for the rest of the afternoon. But the temptation was too great. It’s look so good that I simply must try.

Went up to the stall and ordered the $3 version, cholestrol be dammed! I don’t eat CKT often nowadays and if it is good, I am willing to sacrific the calories and other unhealthy concerns. Surprisingly, despite the number of people eating it, there was no queue and I could get my CKT
almost immediately.
This version is the wet type. Not as wet as the Marine Parade one but still wet and a tad oily. The cockles were almost raw – cold in fact just the way I liked it. The CKT was good – not as good as Hill Street but certainly many time better than those combi stalls where they sell both CKT and Hokkien noodles and definitely worth the cholestrol and calories overload!  
Didn’t take any photo but here one from the Food Doctor and his review:
 Photo lifted from ieatishootipost

The good and bad CKT

Jialat, nowadays seem to have a lot of sudden craving for certain food. Last month, it was durian. This time round it is char kway teow. On Friday night after run suddenly had this urging to eat CKT. Unfortunately, the stall at the East Coast Lagoon had already closed by then. The next day lunch time went to Bedok South and had the super shiok and sinful Hill St CKT. Mmmmm the crunchy bits of lard… Monday on the way to work saw this guy carried a plate of CKT from the corner stall at Amoy. Nearly stopped to buy it as well. Control…control!

So far had tried the 4 heavenly kings of CKT –

Hill Street at Bedok South
Outram at Hong Lim
Newton at Serangoon Garden and
Zion at Zion (the only one that is still in its original location).

So far my fav is still Hill St. Hope the daughter will mastered the art of frying it like the old man otherwise when the old man croaks….. Outram is okay may be a bit too much cockles but not as bad as when they were at Outram. Just can’t stand the heat at Hong Lim and the long waiting time. Newton – can’t really remember how it tasted like now. Zion? standard like drop after they went ‘healthier choice’.

Of course, the other shiok CKT is my absolute favourite at Margaret Dr (hope he won’t move too far away when the food centre close for renovation). Grew up with him in the same neighourhood and have been eating the CKT for the longest time and still don’t sick of it. Maybe it is the sweat dripping down from his head that make it so shiok:) The most yucky must be Marine Parade – can’t tahan the wet soggy noodle. Amoy St is not bad – just don’t let me see the butch dig her nose and than handle the plate and chopstick immediately after that! Pasir Panjang other than the vegetable is really nothing special. I don’t fancy those CKT from those 3 in 1 stall (ie stall that sell CKT, hokkien noodle, fried oyster/carrot cake).

Anybody got any good CKT stall to recommend?