Text and images by Sheere Ng @ Makansutra
We had wanted to feature only five stalls in the whole of Whampoa Drive Makan Place, (a heartland hawker centre popular with hardcore foodies from around the island) but later realised it is impossible to do without omitting some really good foods, but Fave Five is five, fair is fair and we’ll leave the rest for another time to share. Last week, we recommended some breakfast food at Blk 91. Today, you are in for some late night treat at Blk 90.
90 Whampoa Drive
Whampoa BBQ Seafood & Chicken Wing Blk 90, 01-83, 4.30pm-11pm (Closed on Wed)
It has all the qualities of a well barbequed chicken wing – nice soy aroma, browned skin, crispy edges and juicy meat. They are related to the Huat Huat folks (other chicken wing brand with many outlets in town) but here they control the quality better since they do the cooking themselves. They also serve a very good barbequed crab. An awesome beer chow.
Whampoa Satay Bee Hoon Blk 90, 01-38, 11am-9pm (Closed on Mon)
For a stall that has an overly simple kitchen set up, they sell a surprisingly satisfying satay bee hoon. The peanut sauce is thick enough (to coat the noodles), gritty, and has a curry-like savouriness and mildly spicy. However, they do not strain the bee hoon well enough, so the water dilutes the sauce somewhat. It comes with lean pork slices, cockles, bean sprouts, tau pok, kangkong and cuttlefish. All are cooked decently well, except that the cuttlefish comes in too big a chunk and is overcooked.
Singapore Fried Hokkien Mee Blk 90, 01-32, 3.30pm-12am (Closed on Thu)
They rely on a good stock. Every strand of the noodle is infused with the oomph of the prawn stock and there’s little wok hei, as it can distract you from the intended flavour. That’s their style. Some may not like the noodles’ relatively dry texture though. It does not come drippy with sauce and stock, which has all been soaked up by the noodles. Having said that, it is moist enough and slides down your throat comfortably. The accompanying chilli sauce is similar to those that come with roast meats – with prominent flavours of hae bi (dried shrimps).
Ah Hock Fried Oyster Hougang Blk 90, 01-54, 12pm-11pm
The third generation owner, Raymond, seems to have succumbed to younger Singaporeans’ continuous demand for – crispiness. What used to be a mostly traditional gummy oyster omelette (or luak) is now full of crispy bits, to the point that there’s little egg and starch flavour and texture (except for the non-charred bits). But if you like your or luak crispy, this is still worth your time. Share it though, as towards the end it gets too dry for one to finish the entire portion.
Balestier Road Hoover Rojak Blk 90, 01-06, 11am-6pm (Closed on Tue)
This is an icon in Whampoa. First impression: very robust hae kor aroma and flavour, flecked with generous amount of crushed peanuts. But in terms of the ingredients, which include green mango, pineapple, turnip, cucumber, beansprouts and dough fritters, there’s nothing outstanding or interesting to mentioned. One disappointment – the dough fritters are “laohong” (stale and flaccid). According to some regulars, the founder has retired and left the operations to his employees. Standards have since deteriorated as it’s done without diligence these days. But if you look away, ignore the fact that they are the Hoover people, it is still a pretty decent rojak and one of the better makan in this block.