We came here on Wednesday night, thinking we’d have a quick dinner after work, but it didn’t turn out that quick after all, because the traffic from A’s office at Tanjong Pagar to the Esplanade was ridiculous. Anyway, the last time we were here was on a Friday night, and I definitely recommend coming here on a weekday night instead. The place is pleasantly filled – not crowded so no long queues at any of the stalls, yet not deserted enough to make you feel uncomfortable.
I’ve been meaning to come here because I’ve been craving some good hawker centre chicken wings for a while. The ones from Huat Huat (Stall F) are great – perfectly barbequed, still juicy and not overcooked, with a sweet honey glaze and slightly garlicky seasoning. Perfect when dipped into the essential tangy chilli sauce that accompanies the wings.
When we were last here, I remembered thinking that I had to have the Thye Hong Fried Hokkien Mee on our next visit. Alas, the stall has changed to Hup Kee – apparently they’re from the original Gluttons Square in Orchard Road. They still serve the noodles on opeh leaves, just like Thye Hong, but somehow the hokkien mee didn’t have much oomph. It was certainly no where near the standard of Nam Sing – the stock wasn’t as rich and hearty, and there wasn’t enough wok hei aroma. And I now understand what Nam Sing are getting at when they insist on not serving sambal chilli with their noodles. The Hup Kee one came with a huge dollop of sambal, and while it was very good sambal (quite spicy, not overly sweet), somehow it adulterated the pure taste of the noodles.
A had the char kuay teow, also from Hup Kee, because for some reason there isn’t anything that he seriously craves at this place. The char kuay teow was pretty good - quite spicy but also pretty oily. At least the cockles were fresh and cooked perfectly (I can’t stand cockles that are too raw), but they weren’t so cooked that they were rubbery.
I noticed a few other tables ordering from the zi char stall (Sew An Seafood Cze Char, Stall H), so maybe the food there is good too. For me, I’ll just stick to having the chicken wings here – lots and lots of them.
My advice is to go on a weekday so it’s easy to get a good table and there aren’t really queues. Parking at Esplanade is easy as well.
The food is good but expensive as hawker fare goes. It’s probably worth it if you’re coming all the way here though. And they have good teh-cino at the makansutra drink stall as well. I’ll probably try the mee goreng or kaya fondue on my next visit.
Hup Kee (Orchard Road) Char Kuay Teow and Fried Prawn Noodles
Huat Huat Chicken Wings/Carrot Cake