Economic bee hoon stalls are a dime a dozen (just like cai png), and you may wonder, “Aaron, what makes this place unique?” Well, Bin Fen Economic Bee Hoon at Chong Boon Market & Food Centre offers the usual bee hoon, kway teow, and nasi lemak, but it’s a rarity to find places that also provide glutinous rice as an option.
This place was introduced by my colleague, Ansel, who lives in a different part of Ang Mo Kio but explores my neighbourhood for food (sounds familiar?).
The stall has been around for the past 3 years and never once did I stop and pay attention to its offerings, despite my countless walks past it. Ansel mentioned that the auntie there serves incredibly delicious glutinous rice, and being a fan of it myself, I knew I had to try it firsthand.
He was absolutely right; for the past few months, I’ve developed a strong fondness for this stall.. But here’s the catch: the glutinous rice always sells out quickly!
When I arrived at 8.30am that day, the rice was still available, much to my relief. This was in contrast to my previous visit at 11am when the customer just ahead of me had snagged the last portion of glutinous rice. The early bird really does catch the worm.
The stall has your usual arsenal of condiments, fried finger foods and stir-fried vegetables to zhush up your noodle or rice experience. Up front, you’ll discover an enticing array of bak zhang, otah, and boxes of crispy, fried tau kee.
What I tried at Bin Fen Economic Bee Hoon
Behold! I present to you my cherished glutinous rice, accompanied by sides of delectable luncheon meat, hash brown, long beans, and a generous dollop of sambal on the side. Given the inherent starchiness of glutinous rice, I opted for a small portion, and this wonderful ensemble set me back S$4.20.
What constitutes an exceptional glutinous rice? In my books, it must be generously adorned with peanuts, possess a rice texture that strikes the ideal balance between firmness and tenderness, and exhibit perfectly harmonised flavours.
And, ladies and gentlemen, the rice here checked all the boxes with finesse. I was genuinely surprised that such a seemingly simple glutinous rice, with minimal ingredients aside from the occasional bits of anchovies and a sparse portion of black fungus, could deliver such a satisfying experience.
Needless to say, the luncheon meat, though undeniably not the healthiest option (but let’s be honest, you may not belong on this planet if you dislike it), added a comforting dimension to the dish.
The long beans were braised till they were luxuriously soft. Whether I indulged in them straight from my plate or paired them with the rice, both were undeniably enjoyable.
The only letdown was the piece of hash brown, which suffered from a slight overfrying, leaving its outer layer somewhat tough and insides a tad dry.
With such a promising beginning, I couldn’t help but approach the Chicken Cutlet Set (S$3.30) from their range of nasi lemak options with low expectations, fearing it might disappoint me.
The generous serving of nasi lemak showcased a sliced-up piece of battered chicken thigh, complemented by anchovies and peanuts, alongside a side of braised cabbage with sliced carrots. And, of course, a plate of coconut rice isn’t complete without the essential sambal— the only thing that gives this dish life.
I wanted to begin with the most basic combination of all, the rice and sambal; devoid of any extra embellishments or theatrics.
My eyebrows shot up in surprise as my taste buds met the grains. It wasn’t a reaction of disappointment, but rather one of amazement. I was genuinely impressed by how decent it tasted, with delightful punches of coconut flavour.
The sambal wasn’t the typical smooth variety; instead, it had a scrumptious textural bite. Intrigued by this unexpected twist, I spooned a mouthful of sambal and savoured the spicy paste. To my delight, I uncovered substantial pieces of dried shrimp hidden within.
The chicken cutlet was fried really well and wasn’t that oily. It probably originated from a frozen packet. At S$3.30, I wasn’t expecting the pieces of chicken thigh to be hand-dredged and fried by the aunties— this was good enough for me.
If I were to nitpick, my only quibble would be the somewhat meagre portion of cabbage. Perhaps a minor reduction in the rice quantity, coupled with a boost in the vegetable serving, would significantly enhance my satisfaction.
Nevertheless, given the price point, I won’t dwell on this matter too much.
If you happen to find yourself in the Ang Mo Kio neighbourhood in the morning, I’d highly recommend paying a visit to Bin Fen Economic Bee Hoon. Their glutinous rice offers a fantastic departure from the usual fare of yellow mee and kway teow.
Give it a try, and do let me know if you enjoy it as much as I do!
Expected damage: S$3.30 – S$6 per pax
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