Hong Lim Market & Food Centre
Time Out says
Friendly warning! We're working hard to be accurate. But these are unusual times, so please check that venues remain open.
What it’s like
Built in 1978, Hong Lim Market & Food Centre was one of the first proper hawker centres in the Chinatown area (both the more well-known Amoy Street and Maxwell Food Centres nearby came later). After a major facelift in May 2011, which improved its ventilation and increased the seating capacity, it now hosts over 100 cooked food stalls which mainly serve the masses of CBD office workers during lunch hours.
What to eat
A good number of the hawker stalls here have been in the business for several decades, the most prominent among these being the Famous Sungei Road Trishaw Laksa (#02-66), which is known for its fruit juice mee siam ($3-$4). Its main selling point is the light and refreshing sour gravy made from a secret mixture of fruits, unlike the usual rempah base commonly found elsewhere.
Right next door, another venerable hawker is The Old Stall Hokien Street Famous Hokien Prawn Mee (#02-67), which began life almost 50 years ago on the eponymous street nearby. Its big prawn noodle ($8) is pricey, but does not disappoint in terms of quantity and quality; its outstanding chilli, which is made from dried prawns seals the deal. The third stall of note is Ji Ji Wanton Noodle Specialist (#02- 48/49), whose delicious fresh prawn dumpling noodle ($3-$8) makes it no surprise that business has been good enough to expand and occupy the neighbouring two stalls.
Finally, Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee (#02-17) is home to one of the best takes on one of Singapore’s national dishes. Its fried kway teow ($3) is oiled just enough to give it a smoky taste whilst retaining the silky texture of the rice-cake strips that leaves you filled, but not too guilty about indulging in it.