In case you didn’t already know, Singapore has presented its Hawker Culture for a position on the UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Even if you don’t care for the manufactured tourism by our government, it still shows how close hawker food is to our hearts. Following our last trips to People’s Park Food Centre and Chinatown Complex, Pek Kio Food Centre might not be the most accessible, but the mature estate hawker centre exudes old-school charm. Plus, prices here are definitely lower than in new estates and the city. Here are the best stalls, according to us:
Delicacy Fish Soup (#01-03)
From the obvious signage, it’s evident that the stall prides itself in delivering authentic fish soup that’s not ladled with MSG. Though you shouldn’t miss out on their signature Boiled Fish Soup ($4), which incorporates both sliced and fried fish, the stall also offers Fish Porridge ($4) and Yong Toufu Soup ($3.50). The broth is hearty and savoury from being simmered for hours, but it’s not too overpowering (or fishy). Best for a rainy day, we reckon.
Delicacy Fish Soup open Mon-Wed, Fri-Sun 11am — 9pm, Thur 9am — 9pm.
Xin Heng Kee Chicken & Duck Rice (#01-14)
With all the dishes offered priced at a wallet-friendly $3, the Chicken Rice or Roasted Chicken Rice at Xin Heng Kee is tender and succulent. We also recommend topping up $2 for char siew. Our only complaint? The rice could use more could more flavour and aroma from the chicken stock it was cooked with.
Xin Heng Kee Chicken & Duck Rice open Mon-Wed, Fri-Sun 9am — 9pm. Closed Thurs.
Good Spice Carrot Cake (#01-20)
Regular customers will be aware that getting your hands on this good old carrot cake is a tough job. Due to its delectable aroma and value for money (from $1.50!), the dish is usually sold out before noon. The texture of this carrot cake is soft and fluffy, as a result of being briskly swirled around the wok, so folks who prefer crispy carrot cake may not find this to their liking.
Good Spice Carrot Cake open daily 6am — 1pm.
Min Hiang (#01-21)
Hawker drinks, we feel, are incredibly underrated when it comes to awards and such. With cold and refreshing classic delights Soya Bean and Grass Jelly beverage from as low as $0.70, it’s ono wonder that Min Hiang is a favourite among the residents in the area. Their Michael Jackson ($2+), which is a mix of soya milk and grass jelly, is a must-try and perfect for Singapore’s persistent heat.
Min Hiang open Mon-Sat 8am — 6pm. Closed Sun.
Tong Siew Fried Rice (#01-23)
Exclusively selling three dishes – Fried Rice ($3), Hor Fun ($3) and Oyster Omelette ($4) – Tong Siew Fried Rice is a long-standing establishment, having relocated to Pek Kio from Bugis Street. Despite its namesake, their Hor Fun draws both loyalists and new customers alike. The dish is incredibly slurp-worthy as the kway teow is saturated with luscious and slightly charred gravy. Being one of the very few stores at Pek Kio to operate into the evening, their dishes are perfect to curb those nighttime cravings.
Tong Siew Fried Rice open daily 1pm — 10pm.
Pin Wei Hong Kong Style Chee Cheong Fun (#01-25)
Founded by a father-son duo, the stall dishes out authentic Hong Kong-style Chee Cheong Fun that’s commonly found in dim sum restaurants, yet for a fraction of the price. The food is freshly prepared upon order to ensure the best quality, thus don’t be surprised if it takes up an hour to be ready. The plain Cheong Fun ($2.20) can never go wrong, but you can spice it up with either the Char Siew ($3), Prawns ($4) or Scallop ($4.50) options.
Pin Wei Hong Kong Style Chee Cheong Fun open daily 6.30am — 2pm.
Yeng Heng Pancake (#01-32)
Many people swear by their Peanut Pancake, so it’s not unusual for the lady boss to be greeted by long snaking queues each morning. Highly-popular among those who prefer a grab-and-go breakfast, the pancakes provided here are handmade from scratch, featuring a crispy crust on the exterior and soft on the interior. What’s more, the fillings are plenteous and scrumptious.
Yeng Heng Pancake opens Tue-Sun, morning. Closed Mon.
Lai Hiang Pork Rib Prawn Mee (#01-41)
In true Singaporean fashion, we were instantly attracted to Lai Hiang Pork Rib Prawn Mee due to the long queues formed at the stall. Available in a dry version as well, the signature Pork Rib Prawn Mee ($2.50,$3,$5) sees the noodles doused in a thick and flavourful broth that has been boiled overnight. The store owners are not ungenerous with their ingredients, so expect to be filled up rather quickly.
Lai Hiang Pork Rib Prawn Mee opens Mon, Wed-Sun 6am — 2pm. Closed Tues.