Most of us are probably too tired after work to nurture our hobbies but the two self-professed foodies behind SG FoodBuzz not only found a way to express their passion for the local hawker scene, they have also become brought thousands of fellow food enthusiasts onboard with them.
Founded by a couple, who hold full-time jobs in the news and media industry, SG FoodBuzz started in March 2019 because the duo, who only want to be known as Tan and Fang, love exploring hawker centres in their free time. They grew to admire the colourful hawkers who serve up a variety of good food within their cramped workspaces while enduring hot and humid conditions as well as long hours of being on their feet. As they got to know the hawkers, they found that they have interesting stories to tell, and longed to be the ones to tell them.
SG FoodBuzz was born with an aim to spotlight local hawker gems and to give more exposure to lesser-known but equally noteworthy hawker stalls and dishes. While relatively new in the scene, their Facebook page has already garnered 72,000 likes with an average monthly reach of about three million. Its Instagram page is growing fast, with more than 23,900 followers.
We asked the pair to share a few of their favourite hawker hidden gems and why people have to make a trip down to these stalls at least once in their lifetime.
1. Taman Jurong Chwee Kueh
From a distance, the 82-year-old Peng Ah Bah may seem frail but up close, he’s actually very robust. Having spent many years perfecting his chwee kueh (steamed rice cakes), it’s not uncommon to see the white-haired octogenarian hunched over his wares from 5am daily. “It’s rare to find handmade chwee kueh nowadays as it requires lots of hard work getting everything ready from scratch,” says SG FoodBuzz. “The chwee kueh here is soft and goes really well with the chunky preserved radish (chye poh) and homemade sambal chilli that carries hints of dried shrimps.” Fun fact: Uncle Peng once flew to London in 2014 for Singapore Day to present his chwee kueh, and the event was attended by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Address: #02-67 Taman Jurong Market & Food Centre, 3 Yung Sheng Rd, Singapore 618499
2. Green Chilli Chicken Rice
Tucked in Sims Vista Market & Food Centre at Aljunied, you might miss this nondescript stall if you had just strolled on by. “This stall caught our eye during our regular hawker-hopping session as it has only one dish on its menu – the green chilli chicken rice,” says SG FoodBuzz. The owner, Mr Hj. Mustajab, has been selling the dish since 1999, and the stall garners quite a crowd during peak hours. “It comes with a heap of fluffy basmati rice, crunchy fish crackers, fiery red sambal chilli, and a huge chicken leg topped with a generous amount of green chilli. The chicken is juicy and flavourful, and the homemade green chilli indeed packs a punch – definitely not for the faint-hearted,” they add. Bonus: You can help yourself to endless refills of free chicken soup.
Address: 49 Sims Place, Sims Vista Market & Food Centre, Singapore 380049
3. Serangoon Garden Bakery & Confectionery
This four-decade-old bakery is located at the corner of Serangoon Garden Market & Food Centre, and it specialises in more than 20 different types of old-school buns and cakes starting from just a dollar. Started by Mr Sim Bak Sun, “it is run by a group of old aunties and uncles who are passionate about baking, and they start the preparation work as early as 3am every day”, says SG FoodBuzz. Buns are baked fresh daily and you’d often spot snaking queues in the morning, many of them regulars who have been frequenting since the 1980s. “We have many favourites but what keeps us coming back is the luncheon meat bun and curry potato bun. The pillowy-soft buns are warm, aromatic and comforting – perfect for your breakfast or tea break.”
Address: 49A Serangoon Garden Way, #01-45 Serangoon Garden Market, Singapore 555945. Serangoon Garden Market and Food Centre is closed from 1 March 2021 to 31 May 2021 for major upgrading.
4. Du Du Cooked Food
Tutu kueh (steamed rice cakes, also known as putu piring) is a heritage snack that is loved by many for its soft, pillow-like consistency enrobing mouthwatering fillings such as peanut, coconut and gula Melaka. It’s a comforting sweet treat after a hearty meal. “We love this store because the owner, Uncle Tan, prepares ingredients from scratch every morning. He even invented his own tutu kueh mould that is three times larger than the usual one and produces a tutu kueh that’s palm-size,” says SG FoodBuzz. The kuehs are delicious with just the right ratio of rice cake to filling. “Go for the peanut filling as the finely ground peanut is specially mixed with brown sugar. The crunchy peanut and fragrant brown sugar pairs really well with the plainer rice casing.”
Address: 22B Havelock Road, #01-10 Havelock Road Cooked Food Centre, Singapore 162022
All photos courtesy of SG FoodBuzz.
Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.