While seemingly incongruous to the traditional hawker scene, these unlikely food items have found their rightful places in these familiar settings.
The ground zero of our nation’s best foods, hawker centres never fail to impress. They are one of the most unparalleled constituent of Singapore’s identity. Born out of war, from pushcarts to well-established centres, hawker cuisine is the Lion City’s staple. More than just an affordable place to eat, these food halls are a consolidation of many, if not all, of our culinary treasures. And as they continue to evolve, its offerings continue to amaze.
Every so often, we may chance upon vendors that seem like fish out of water. While common in other settings, these food items are rare sightings in hawker environments. Whether you are thirsty or hungry, craving for caffeine or carbs, here are three surprising finds in a hawker centre.
1. Mr Kneady’s
Earlier this year, we came across a shop displaying an array of homemade sourdough loaves. While that is commonplace amongst bustling contemporary bakeries, this shop chose to open in a hawker centre.
Founder Lionel Hor had previously worked in bakeries in New Zealand, New York and Iceland but due to a flour allergy had difficulty finding jobs back home. Often known as baker’s asthma, his allergy is triggered by wheat inhalation, especially so with buckwheat and rye.
Frustrated at the lack of offers, he decided to open Mr Kneady’s at Bedok Marketplace. Inspired by his past experiences with sourdough, he makes them from scratch. Knowing what goes into his loaves of sourdough has allowed Hor to provide bread lovers with great quality, all natural grub without breaking the bank.
Ranging from traditional to experimental, he sells standard White loaves ($3 for 250g) and innovative ones like Cranberry Turmeric ($3.50 for 250g). He also offers sourdough pizzas, both savoury and sweet.
Mr Kneady’s is located at 348 Bedok Rd, #02-24, Bedok MarketPlace, Singapore 469560.
2. Kopi More
We all enjoy a good cup of coffee. While it can vary depending on personal preference, coffee is a good pick-me-up for days when we’re low on energy.
As a venture into something untried and untested, Kopi More was established by Lawrence Tan at Golden Mile Food Centre back in 2016. In hopes of reflecting the robustness and aroma of Nanyang coffee, as well as the crema of Arabica beans, Tan started selling his own blend of coffee made with a barista expresso machine. With drink stalls being inherent to the survival of hawker centres, Tan captivates with his unique cups of caffeine.
Though coffee from expresso machines or coffee in hawkers are nothing new, they are usually mutually-exclusive; the combination of both is unheard of. Kopi More’s coffee drinks boast density and body, and have a stronger aroma and flavour than those served in cafes. And Tan serves them the good ol’ Singaporean way; Kopi, Kopi-O and Kopi-C ($1.50 each), just the way we like it.
Kopi More is located at Golden Mile Food Centre #B1-49, 505 Beach Rd, Singapore 199583.
3. Meet 4 Meat
Many times, we associate quality grilled meats with hefty price tags but chefs Jimmy Teo and Gerald Lau believe that good food should be accessible to all. The duo founded Meet 4 Meat in 2018 with the aim to feed everyone in society with affordable and excellent meats.
Occupying a spot at Brunners coffeshop along East Coast Road, this hidden gem serves up classic restaurant dishes. One of which is the Beef Wellington ($28), a favourite of both owners. Even without the façade of an elegant restaurant and all its trappings, Meet 4 Meat is nothing short of a quality steakhouse, with homemade sauces and seasonings free of preservatives.
Meet 4 Meat is located at 228 E Coast Rd, Singapore 428925.