Monday, May 17, 2010

food centre gone but name lives on

after my morning walk with my balestier group at east coast park, we usually adjourn to bedok south blk 16 market and food centre. while some will head for the stall with the longest queue, i prefer to get my food from the stall with no queue. so, for that reason, you do not see me buying char kway teow.

the name of the very popular stall is hill street char kway teow. at chinatown complex, i have come across another stall with the same name. it is not uncommon to latch onto a name already known to people, especially if the stall had built up a reputation in its former centre. i am sure all of us have come across food stalls and shops having the same name or bearing the name of some defunct food or hawker centres.

is this a case of stallholders trying to cash in on a well-known name, like the case of the sungei road laksa? i did not know of the existence of two sungei road laksa stalls in the same area until some friends mentioned it. one is at kelantan lane and the other at jalan berseh.

on the other hand, it does not mean that all stalls which bear the name 'hill street' started at this food centre. i do not remember ever seeing the famous hill street tai hwa bah chor mee at the food centre.

however, in the case of hill street char kway teow, when i thought of those days when i used to eat at hill street food centre, i could recall two stalls selling char kway teow. the two stalls were located on the ground level. so, the two stalls, with the same name, could have really originated from hill street centre.

those days, in the 80s and 90s, i used to frequent hill street centre not for the char kway teow. it was to visit another popular food stall located on the second level. it was the heng gi duck and goose meat stall. today, this stall can be found at tekka food centre.

hill street food centre had a car-park on levels 3 and 4. the centre was built in the 80s and by the year 2000, it was closed and subsequently demolished. there was an overhead pedestrian bridge that connected it to funan centre.

many food stalls which have made a name for themselves still live on even after the food centres where they were once located had been cleared or demolished. you can still find waterloo street indian rojak, whitley big prawn noodles, taman serasi roti john and satay club's satay.
some have even upgraded from a stall to a shop like the hock lam street's beef noodle.


peter said...

Yg, have u checked out "Mary's Tau Kwa Pau" at the corner of Joo Chiat Road and Katong Road? seems there is also anothert tau kwa pau diagonally opposite to Mary's. What's your verdict?

Next tome to Blk 16 in the evening (after 5pm) and try Jill her Eng Chye" - cheap abd good.

Icemoon said...

Not sure why land still empty after so many years, hmm ..

yg said...

peter, someone (who lives in siglap) once bought us the tau kwa pok from mary's. good stuff. i was also recommended the jue hee eng chye. the last time i was there, (dr tan) wee kiat joined my group for the walking and makan session.

yg said...

icemoon, maybe they are waiting for you to do your 'second shot'.

WK said...

There's a Beach Road Prawn Noodles
here in Katong that is very

In case any of your readers are
thinking of a heritage-type name
for a new business, what about
naming it after the old Orchard
Road CarPark Hawker Centre and
the Alhambra Theatre (Beach Road)
Hawker Centre.

At the Orchard Road Carpark Hawker
Centre (where Orchard Central now
stands) there used to be a "jaga
kreta" man dressed stylishly as a
cowboy (boots, cowboy hat, etc
but no six-shooter). Ha! Ha!
tan wee kiat

yg said...

wee kiat, the orchard carpark hawker centre was known as glutton's square. our own reference was 'keok road'. i don't remember the alhambra theatre hawker centre but i remember the satay stalls at the tay koh yat bus beach rd bus terminal.

PChew said...

You guys have not tasted the best tua kua pau yet. It was in the 50s at Joo Chiat Road opposite Joo Chiat Market. The tua kua pau stalls at Joo Chiat Road/East Coast Road did not exist then. Most people can make tau kua pau but few know the secret of the sauce with green cut chillies. We have the recipe.

PChew said...

The best char kway teow I knew was at a coffee shop along Bukit Timah Road opposite the New Hawker Centre. He used opeh leave for tapau (take away) and fried his kway teow one at a time. The block of building is no longer there. I am not sure if he was the one that moved to Hill Street Hawker Centre. I remembered seeing a signboard stating Newton char kway teow. It could be operated by one of the family members as I never see the hawker himself each time I visited the place.

yg said...

mr chew, the newton char kway teow was last at serangoon garden food centre. according to a source, the old man has retired because he was rather frail.

Lam Chun See said...

Like you I too go for the stall with the shortest queue. Reason.

1) The poor chap needs a break.
2) I am not too particular about food, more concerned with waiting time.
3) Most important; the popular stalls tend to be very yar-yar. in other words rude and impatient. Why should I spend my money to boost somebody's already boosted ego? The other chap would tend to be more appreciative. I have been proven wrong of course.

Thimbuktu said...


If I'm correct, the original hill street "char kuay teow" was relocated at Blk 16 Bedok South Road, #01-187 Bedok South Road Market & Food Centre after the Hill Street Hawker Centre was demolished. Was there another branch stall?