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Old Airport Road Food Centre
Photograph: Old Airport Road Food Centre Facebook

The best hawker stalls in Old Airport Road Food Centre

One of Singapore’s most well-loved hawker centres for good reason

Pailin Boonlong
Written by
Pailin Boonlong
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“East side, best side” is only so widely touted thanks to hawker centres like Old Airport Road Food Centre. It’s one of Singapore’s most well-loved food centres for good reason, with crowds gathering as early as 7am to tuck into a hearty breakfast. Freshly made chee cheong fun (rice noodle rolls), char kway teow, or even crispy fried chicken – it’s no wonder we’re struck by choice paralysis. From roast meat stalls to Michelin Bib Gourmand-winning char kway teow, these are the nine best hawker stalls in Old Airport Road Food Centre. 

RECOMMENDED: The best hawker stalls at Amoy Street Food Centre and the best stalls at Dunman Food Centre

What to eat at Old Airport Road Food Centre

Roast Paradise
Photograph: Roast Paradise

Roast Paradise

Stall: #01-121

Unlike the thin slivers of char siew (barbecued pork) we find at most roast meat stalls today, Roast Paradise prides themselves on thick, chunky slabs. It follows the KL-style of roasting, meaning that the pork is caramelised with crisp edges of char – all adding to the explosion of savoury flavours. They also chop up a tasty sio bak (roasted pork belly) with a crunchy crackling and melt-in-mouth layers of fat. Choose to have it either with rice or noodles, starting from $4.50.

Albert Street Prawn Noodle
Photograph: Albert Street Prawn Noodle

Albert Street Prawn Noodle

Stall: #01-10

A piping hot bowl of prawn noodles is the staple of any good hawker centre, and Albert Street Prawn Noodle doesn’t disappoint. Many compare it to neighbouring stall Whitley Road Big Prawn Noodles (#01-98), but this particular prawn noodle hawker takes home the trophy for one reason: its broth. Despite its plain appearance with an unappetising film of oil, there’s a beautifully light sweetness in this broth all while boasting an intense prawn flavour. We’re not saying that it’s been steeped for hours with truckloads of prawn heads, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it was. Add a dash of chilli powder for some heat. 

A bowl starts from $5.50 but you can fork up to $20 for larger prawns.

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Dong Ji Fried Kway Teow
Photograph: Dong Ji Fried Kway Teow

Dong Ji Fried Kway Teow

Stall: #01-138

This one’s a little controversial, with many either singing praises or bemoaning its long wait time. It’s understandable though – at Dong Ji Fried Kway Teow, each plate is painstakingly fried one at a time for wok hei (breath of a wok) to fully coat the flat rice noodles. This rendition is more similar to Penang char kway teow than our usual order of black, dark soy sauce-laden “wet” kway teow. A plate (from $5) comes generously packed with fresh ingredients, such as deshelled prawns and fish cakes. If you so happen to be here during peak meal times, be patient – it’s worth it in the end. 

Xin Mei Xiang Zheng Zong Lor Mee
Photograph: Xin Mei Xiang Zheng Zong Lor Mee

Xin Mei Xiang Zheng Zong Lor Mee

Stall: #01-116

This lor mee stall has made a name for itself over the years, and they’ve recently reopened their doors in July 2022 after a long reno job. While it’s a simple dish, it’s proving tricky to find a reliable bowl of these Hokkien braised noodles done right. More often than not, the gravy is overly starchy which leads to an unappetising curdling that sticks clumpily to the flat yellow noodles. An auntie and her family once managed Xin Mei Xiang Zheng Zong Lor Mee, a sure-fire sign of good hawker food, but it’s now led by a significantly younger generation clad in matching polo tees. Give it a chance though, it’s still a decent bowl (from $6) after dousing it with spoonfuls of chilli, garlic and vinegar. 

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To-Ricos Kway Chap
Photograph: Iris Nihao/Instagram

To-Ricos Kway Chap

Stall: #01-135/136

On the list of comforting hawker dishes, kway chap ranks high – it’s a traditional Teochew dish that pairs various cuts of pork (mostly offals!) with silky broad rice noodles. Many might veer away from innards, with pre-judgement already cast, but all meat here is thoroughly clean and has no off-putting scents. Plus, it goes hand-in-hand with a warm bowl of kway chap. Here, the noodles come in a light broth and with scattered fried shallots atop. The mixed platter (from $8 for one) is the easy order, since you’d get a variety of braised pork: stomach, belly, intestines, and lean meat. It also comes with tau kwa (firm tofu), tau pok (beancurd puffs), and braised eggs.

Freshly Made Chee Cheong Fun
Photograph: Freshly Made Chee Cheong Fun

Freshly Made Chee Cheong Fun

Stall: #01-155

There’s no better breakfast than freshly made chee cheong fun (rice noodle rolls). True to its name, this stall makes each roll on the spot and generously fills each to the brim with ingredients like mushroom, prawn, scallop, and barbecued pork. The perfect rice noodle roll is silky smooth – a texture so slippery that it almost glides down your throat. One roll starts from $2.50 and there’s a minimum order of two rolls. Since there’s typically a long wait time, with past customers having complained of waiting up to 50 minutes, try to go during off-peak times.

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Lao Fu Zi Fried Kway Teow
Photograph: Lao Fu Zi Fried Kway Teow

Lao Fu Zi Fried Kway Teow

Stall: #01-12

There’s always at least two plates of fried kway teow to try in any self-respecting hawker centre. The rivalry is now between Lao Fu Zi Fried Kway Teow and the previously mentioned Dong Ji Fried Kway Teow – nothing like some friendly competition to fuel even better-tasting food. This particular char kway teow stall though, has made it on the Michelin Guide, having landed a Bib Gourmand back in 2019. As far as char kway teow goes though, this is relatively healthier than most: it isn’t ridiculously greasy, a heap of lard isn’t the default choice, and it also comes served with some leafy chye sim. A plate starts from $5 and you can choose if you’d prefer it black with dark soy sauce, or a cleaner-tasting white. 

Salt
Photograph: Salt

Salt

Stall: #01-128

The one thing about Western hawker stalls is that…it’s typically not very “Western”. But we like it all in its unabashed fried glory and generous serving sizes – the same goes for fried chicken stall Salt. The fried chicken ($1.20 per wing, $3 per cutlet) is the obvious star of the show, having been coated in an ultra-crisp batter that crunches upon first bite. Choose from flavours like soy garlic, spicy Korean, salt and pepper, and Thai chilli lime. While it is called Salt, let’s not overthink our sodium consumption – we like to believe that it simply means that the food here is well seasoned and packs a ton of flavour. They also do up a decent chicken cutlet aglio olio ($7.50) that hits heavy with garlic and chilli, or a creamy carbonara (from $6.50).

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Famous Old Airport Fried Oyster
Photograph: Famous Old Airport Fried Oyster

Famous Old Airport Fried Oyster

Stall: #01-54

While we’re typically wary of any hawker stall that labels itself as famous, Famous Old Airport Fried Oyster fully deserves this self-appointed title. It’s none other than the fried oyster (from $4) that’s best enjoyed with a dollop of piquant chilli. It’s exactly how a first-rate fried oyster should be, with crisp edges but an enjoyably starchy middle. Fresh, plump oysters are part and parcel of this dish – making for a delectable burst of brininess. 

Other hawker centres to try

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