This is a great place for good hawker food under one (metaphorical) roof, haha. This is Makansutra guru KF Seetoh’s project of trying to recreate the Gluttons’ Square food haven that was set up in the Orchard Road car park a year or two ago. It’s located along the Esplanade promenade, facing Marina Bay.
There are about 12 stalls all in a row, featuring some pretty famous hawkers including Thye Hong Fried Hokkien Mee, which consistently draws insane queues at its outlet in Food Republic at Wisma Atria. It’s not very much better here; it was the one stall that had the longest queue. Although I quite like their hokkien mee, I decided to try the other stalls instead.
We shared the Hup Kee Or Luak, Huat Huat BBQ chicken wings and carrot cake, and 10 sticks of satay from Alhambra Padang satay. The satay was so-so, but we didn’t get their special gravy of black sauce with chilli padi; we only got the usual peanut sauce. I wouldn’t mind ordering it again just to try the different sauce. The or luak was pretty good, as far as or luak goes, but it got pretty gelak after a while and left me with nasty-smelling burps the rest of the night.
Definite repeat orders next time are the carrot cake and the chicken wings. The wings are perfectly barbequed yet not dried out, and with a squeeze of lime and dipped into the special chilli sauce, they’re as good as it gets. Definitely on par with the Newton and Chomp Chomp chicken wings. The same stall also sells carrot cake, and while it didn’t look very promising, it was surprisingly very good. It was quite well fried, and there was lots of chai poh to give it lots of flavour. Most importantly, the carrot cake pieces were still firm, unlike the ‘famous’ Clementi carrot cake which I’m not too keen on because the carrot cake pieces are all mushy and broken up.
Some of the other stalls look promising too, like the BBQ seafood and chicken rice. This definitely has Friday night dinner potential; if we get there early enough I might try my luck at the Thye Hong hokkien mee.
Atmosphere was very nice since we went on a cool night and it wasn’t too hazy. And it’s a good thing we went early (around 7.30pm) when there were still plenty of tables available. Halfway through our meal, the place started to get packed with people vulturing for tables and long queues forming at the more popular stalls.
Surprising thing for me was how curt – almost to the point of being rude – a few of the hawkers were, especially to blur tourists. Maybe you can blame the tourist for holding up the queues with questions like, “What’s in the satay?” But being a touristy kind of area, you’d expect the stall holders to give some consideration for visitors.
Anyway, the satay was good, but not the best I’ve had. Peanut sauce was interesting, but I much prefer the chunky peanut kind I get from my usual place at West Coast. Teh Tarik rawked though. Nice portion, plenty of foam, sweet but not too sweet. The rest was good, but once again, I’m not really into that Asian thang.