Hock Huat Fried Kway Teow: Queue-worthy $3 char kway teow by auntie in her 70s at Upper Boon Keng Food Centre

·4-min read

One of the best things about working in my industry is the wonder of discovery. From the very first day I started, I have been amazed at the number of truly amazing small stalls that I never knew existed, even on a tiny island as tiny as ours. One of these wonders is Hock Huat Fried Kway Teow located inside Upper Boon Keng Market and Food Centre.

hock huat - storefront
hock huat - storefront

Having heard of it recently from a colleague who was impressed by the fare, I decided to amble down to Boon Keng last weekend. 

What I tried at Hock Huat Fried Kway Teow

What else would you try at a stall that has its signature name in the dish? However, you don’t really have a choice here— there are only two options on the menu: small or large. Choosing the Fried Kway Teow (small) (S$3.00) while my dining companion chose the Fried Kway Teow (large) (S$3.50), we stood in line to watch the little old lady at work.

hock huat - woman pouring food into plate
hock huat - woman pouring food into plate

Don’t let that description of the proprietor fool you— she’s a veritable tornado! Standing at just about 5 feet (tinier than me!), she did not take a break in the half hour we were there. Watching her stir the wok with gusto, I can only hope that I will be as active as her when I’m her age.

hock huat - lady cooking
hock huat - lady cooking

There is just one wok in the kitchen, perhaps enough to cook 3 plates at once. However, each serving is made to order and nothing sits pre-made. That is part of the reason for the constant queue at her stall but one that makes it worth the wait.

hock huat - plate of ckt
hock huat - plate of ckt

When we were served our orders, the first thing that hit me was the dark colour of the fried kway teow. I am used to warmer colours in this dish— more yellows and browns, perhaps also with a tinge of red. Here, it was more of a grey-black around the brownness. Visually, not the most appealing rendition of one of my favourite hawker dishes but I kept an open mind.

hock huat - close up of noodles and taugeh
hock huat - close up of noodles and taugeh

Scattered rather abundantly between the flat noodles were the usual suspects: slices of red lap cheong (Chinese sausage), fish cake, glistening taugeh (bean sprouts) and sunny shreds of fried egg. 

Of those ingredients, the pork stood out the most. It was almost magical in its subtle hints of sweetness, which completed the other elements perfectly. My teeth loved the meat’s slight chewiness, so similar to the noodles yet different and intriguing.

When asked whether I wanted my kway teow spicy, I had shaken my head in panic and asked for ‘medium spicy’. Well, that apparently got me no spiciness at all. My dining companion had asked for the normal version and found that her serving contained a healthy dose of heat. I would recommend that you ask for the normal spiciness setting, too.

hock huat - close up of ckt noodles
hock huat - close up of ckt noodles

Despite that, I quite enjoyed my meal. The savoury flavours of the egg and fish cake were beautifully balanced by small hints of sweetness from the pork. Every mouthful was punctuated by the muffled crunch of bean sprouts that had been cooked to perfection. It may be a moot point for such an established stall but the kway teow was soft and springy.

My favourable opinion of this dish was helped along by my surprise that it was not as greasy as I had expected it to be. I think I stuffed myself rather quickly because my plate was empty before I knew it. I would say that the large portion would be the better choice for most people. 

Final thoughts

There is virtually always a queue in front of Hock Huat Fried Kway Teow and, after sampling the lady chef’s creations for the first time, I can fully understand why. It is a small one-person operation but her sheer mastery of the skill required delivers another local gem that you should try if you haven’t already.

hock huat - chef making food
hock huat - chef making food

While our focus is principally on the quality and taste of the food we recommend, I must admit that I was doubly impressed by the auntie herself. Another thing that I appreciated was the cost. A S$3.50 plate of a filling meal is increasingly rare but you get it here.

Would I say this was one of the best plates of char kway teow in Singapore? Honestly, no, but it’s definitely on my top 10 list. That said, if you are ever in the area and feeling hungry, this would be my number one recommendation at Upper Boon Keng Market and Food Centre.

Other articles you might like:

10 Singapore hawker meals below S$2.50 you won’t believe still exist

Top 10 restaurants & cafes in Simpang Bedok you need to discover now

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