The humble Maxwell Food Centre is particularly unique in the sense that it welcomes tourists, white collar workers from the CBD, and the city’s elderly population alike. Home to the famous Tian Tian Chicken Rice, this treasured food spot will spoil you with its variety of affordable and genuine local eats – and here are 12 of our top picks!
Hup Kee Wu Xiang Guan Chang
This Hokkien fried snacks stall is no stranger to the hawker scene, having moved six times over several decades. The main draws here: fresh guan chang (pink sausages) made with lean pork ($0.70), chive-stuffed liver meat rolls ($0.80), crispy egg lard cakes flavoured with fish sauce ($0.70), and our favourite, the ngoh hiang ($0.80) – savoury five spice pork rolls wrapped in tofu skin. While good enough on their own, you won’t go wrong with an accompanying plate of fried bee hoon.
Hup Kee Wu Xiang Guan Chang is located at #01-97, Maxwell Food Centre. Open Tue-Sun 11.30am – 8pm.
Maxwell Fuzhou Oyster Cake
Oyster cakes are a rarity in Singapore, and the best ones are those from Maxwell Fuzhou Oyster Cake. In fact, these scrumptious fritters ($2) are practically the only thing available on the menu. With a crisp skin on the outside, bite in to find a chewy batter loaded with succulent minced meat, sweet prawns, celery, and yes, wonderful chopped oysters. Do yourself a favour and eat this with the sweet chilli sauce on the side.
Maxwell Fuzhou Oyster Cake is located at #01-05 Maxwell Food Centre. Open daily 9am – 6pm.
Lad & Dad
A pioneer of the hawkerpreneur generation, Lad & Dad is run by, well, a young fellow and his father. First opened in 2014 at Serangoon Gardens Hawker Centre, they’ve since moved to Maxwell early last year with their brand of classic British comfort fare. Highlights include the Bangers & Mash ($8), Bacon & Chip Butty ($4), and if you’re bored of kaya toast for breakfast, the English Fry-Up Platter ($12).
Lad & Dad is located at Maxwell Food Centre, Stall #01-79. Open Mon-Fri 11.30am – 2.30pm, 6.30pm – 9pm, Sat 11.30am – 2.30pm. Closed Sun.
Popo and Nana’s
Also launching into operation around the same time is this humble Peranakan joint. Here, Chef Grace Chin offers a mix of Peranakan and Eurasian food honed over several decades, featuring a menu of four rice set (usually around $6) that rotates daily. You might find the intensely spicy Devil’s Curry one day, Beef Smore the next, and if you’re lucky, her spectacular Ayam Buah Keluak.
Popo and Nana’s Delight is located at Maxwell Food Centre, Stall #01-70. Open Mon-Fri 11.30am – 3.30pm.
Tong Fatt Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice
Yep, we’re skipping Tian Tian in favour of Tong Fatt a few stalls down. Out of the many chicken rice stalls here, this one (from $3.50) stands out for the excellent sauce (which is made from a secret recipe of 12 ingredients) doused over the chicken. The meat itself is lovingly tender, and the skin slippery smooth. As for the rice, you’ll find the nutty grains to have a tinge of sweetness from rock sugar – just the way we like it.
Tong Fatt Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice is located at #01-17 Maxwell Food Centre. Open daily 10am – 9pm.
Tong Xin Ju Special Shanghai Tim-Sum
This unassuming store is one of the first hawkers to offer Shanghainese dishes during the 1950s, and since then, they’ve become well-known for their Steamed and Fried Dumplings ($4 for eight). Made to order and piping hot, these babies are filled with generous amounts of juicy pork and chives, and go excellently with the stall’s special chilli sauce. Also, don’t miss out on their Shanghai Rice Cakes ($3).
Tong Xin Ju Special Shanghai Tim Sum is located at #01-92, Maxwell Food Centre. Open Tue-Sun 11am – 8pm.
Marina South Delicious Food
Specialising in dishes stir-fried over intense heat in a wok, Marina South Delicious Food checks off the usual suspects of Hokkien Mee (from $4) – egg and rice noodles cooked with egg, pork, prawns, and squid; and Carrot Cake (from $4), a mix of rice flour and white radish with a crispy exterior, available as it is or with sweet soy sauce. Our favourite here is the Char Kway Teow (from $4), sweet noodles imbued with a nice wok hei and very fresh cockles.
Marina South Delicious Food is located at #01-35 Maxwell Food Centre. Open daily 7am – 8pm.
Rojak, Popiah & Cockle
No prizes for guessing what this store sells. In fact, it is the only stall in Maxwell Food Centre to offer Rojak (from $3) and Popiah ($2.40), so it’s a good thing that they’re delicious. The former, for those not in the know, is a traditional fruit and vegetable salad (think dough fritters, century egg, peanuts, and bean sprouts) served with an addictive spicy-sweet sauce.
Rojak, Popiah & Cockle is located at #01-56 Maxwell Food Centre. Open daily 10am – 10pm.
Lim Kee (Orchard) Banana Fritters
There is goreng pisang, and then there is goreng pisang made by Lim Kee. But get your fill of these banana fritters ($1.80 each) soon, because the owner has announced plans to close the stall at the end of 2018, after nearly 70 years in operations. Perhaps the best in Singapore, these are incredibly tasty and surprisingly, barely oily. What more can we say?
Lim Kee (Orchard) Banana Fritters is located at #01-61 Maxwell Food Centre. Open daily 11am – 6pm.
Fu Ji Fuzhou Fish Ball Wanton Noodles
Wonton noodles with Fuzhou style fish balls? Yes, please. This style of fish balls are unique in that they are completely handmade and stuffed with juicy minced meat – a rarity in modern-day stalls. Fu Ji is also popular for its green spinach noodles, which as you might guess, tastes more wholesome than common egg noodles and is a lot healthier. Bowls of wonton noodles with the special fish balls and char siew go for $3.50 or $4.
Fu Ji Fuzhou Fish Ball Wanton Noodles is located at #01-08 Maxwell Food Centre. Open daily 11am – 8pm.
Joy Feast Beef Noodles
Joy Feast Beef Noodles is not particularly famous, but whatever they do, they do well. Run by an amiable uncle, his menu runs the gamut from Beef Ball Soup ($4) and Oyster Sauce Beef Tripe ($4/$6) to kway teow noodles with any combination of well-cooked sliced beef, brisket, and tripe (from $4). The broth here has a more herbaceous taste than what you usually find in Singapore, but it works.
Joy Feast Beef Noodles is located at #01-36 Maxwell Food Centre. Open daily 11am – 11pm.
Hangar Coffee Express
Is artisanal coffee in hawker centres the next food trend here? For now, Hangar Coffee Express is the only hawker stall where you’re going to spot a GS3 by LaMarzocco espresso machine, which pulls the perfect shot for your Espresso ($3) or Flat White ($4) every time. Look forward to only freshly-roasted 100% Arabica beans from the best estates in the world, as well as speciality teas from A.Muse Projects.
Hangar Coffee Express is located at #01-33 Maxwell Food Centre. Open Mon-Fri 8.30am – 4pm, Sat-Sun 10am – 4pm.
Of course, it’s silly to proclaim that the above stalls in Maxwell Food Centre are the best of the lot, but for a start, you won’t go wrong with these ones. Have your own to recommend? Tell us in the comments below!
Maxwell Food Centre is located at 1 Kadayanallur St, Singapore 069184.
Top Image: Lad & Dad