A hawker centre is a sum of independent traders selling often delicious, inexpensive food items alfresco style and are typically found near public housing estates in Singapore. Hawker centres were the spawn of outdoor mobile street-side stalls and due to sanitary regulations most trade out of indoor booths now. Tanglin Halt which is as old as its country it belongs in is a prime example of one.
Wei Yi Laksa & Prawn Noodle (#01-20 Tanglin Halt Market, 48 Tanglin Halt Road, 142048) seemed like a really popular stand with queues a plenty so we grabbed a bowl of the Peranakan staple. The thick vermicelli noodles were slickened with spicy coconut broth, came with butterflied prawns, slithers of chicken and spongy tofu, ripe for soaking flavour. It’s hearty stuff and that will fuel you for a cold winter’s night, so I’m not sure how people eat it here daily in the Singaporean humidity! Delicious nonetheless. Grubstance rating 3.5/5
Han Lin Dim Sum (Tanglin Halt Market, 48A Tanglin Halt Road, #01-12, 148813). How can I resist glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves? (Bak chang). I am a carb-fiend at the best of times and seeing bak chang dangling from this specialist dim sum place’s door I had to have some. They were darker (perhaps soy based) than the ones I have had in the past but in no way shape or form less deletable or fragrant. Some ubiquitous steamed pork buns were also picked up and they were pillowy fresh. Grubstance rating 4/5
Tanglin Halt original Peanut Pancake (Tanglin Halt Market Tanglin 48A Tanglin Halt Road, #01-16). This is a legendary place run by a legendary husband and wife team that specialise in, yeah you guessed it – peanut pancakes. It’s a stable breakfast item and punters come from afar to eat it. It had a gummy consistency and forget about being graceful when you eat this as you’ll be covered in roasted peanut bits and sugar. It’s only $60 and they still use the mother dough from the 1960’s to kick off the fermentation process of their batter. I over killed it and bought a whole pancake to take away with me – seriously I was eating it for days so just buy a slice on the proviso if you have more space to eat more after. Grubstance rating 5/5
It was really good fun hanging with the locals, eat off the beaten track and experiencing authentic Singaporean food. The bak chang and peanut pancakes were better than good and worth the trip alone which I’d come back for!