Not exactly the grandest hawker centre by far in Singapore – it’s got just under 30 stalls – but Dunman Food Centre has been a true rep of affordable hawker fare since 1974. You won’t miss it when traipsing through the Joo Chiat area: it’s a faded green building on the corner of Onan and Dunman Road that’s entirely reminiscent of its era. Undoubtedly, it’s on the smaller side but it’s got a true-blue hawker fare lineup that rivals Amoy Street Food Centre and Adam Road Food Centre.
It’s been closed for renovation since the start of Dec 2021, but as of Feb 28, they’ve opened their doors again to the hungry folks of the East.
Dunman Road Char Siew Wanton Mee, #02-19
It’s an age-old debate, all centred around wanton mee: Dunman Road’s old-school rendition or the evidently more famous Eng’s Wantan Noodles? In short, the wanton mee recipe from both hawker stalls supposedly spans decades – both these noodle shops are linked in some way, after all. Whatever it is, the stall at Dunman Food Centre is known for its springy noodles and copious amount of lard. Their chilli is done well too, and as all know, a red-hot dollop of chilli makes or breaks a plate of noodles. Prices start from $4.50 a plate
For those wondering about the rivalry between Dunman Road’s and Eng’s Wantan Noodles, the latter is just a short walk away at 248 Tanjong Katong Road.
Say Seng Tau Kwa Pau, #01-05
Not often a popular hawker dish, Say Seng Tau Kwa Pau serves up fried beancurd that’s generously drizzled with traditional Teochew braised sauce – the same sauce that’s used for braised duck rice. It’s a mix of hard-boiled egg, fried yam, and fish cake that comes enveloped in a tau kwa pau: a hearty appetiser that’s bound to whet your appetite.
The last we checked, it’s $3 for two pieces of tau kwa pau that are entirely filled to the brim.
Gina’s Vadai, #01-06
Vadai makes for an interesting afternoon snack, more so than a packet of chips or tempting bubble tea order. As a deep-fried fritter, this is certainly cheat day material – but we’re lapping up the savouriness here. Choose from the prawn vadai ($1.20), ikan bilis and peanut ($1.50), or even the vegetarian version ($1) that comes stuffed with carrots and cabbage. Unlike most deep-fried snacks, the vadai here is fluffy and comes with a tangy green chilli so your taste buds don’t die from an oil overload – no mid-day food coma here.
Lin’s Braised, #02-29
As a relatively new hawker stall that opened in 2021, Lin’s Braised is just as it sounds: it serves up braised rice bowls that are inspired by traditional Taiwanese dishes. It’s their signature hakka braised pork bowl ($5.80) that’s the star of the show – and yes, this is otherwise, simply known as lu rou fan. There’s also a scattering of preserved veg to cut the meat sweats, along with beancurd skin and tofu puffs.
28 Fried Kway Teow, #02-28
We especially like this char kway teow stall because it typically opens till midnight. Perhaps not as well known as the Joo Chiat Place Fried Kway Teow or Katong Jago’s rendition, but the chefs still cook up a platter of noodles that doesn’t scrimp on the wok hei: fried kway teow, Hokkien mee, and oyster omelette. It's a second-generation hawker stall too, with the son taking over cooking duties at night while his mum runs it during the day.
Rong Ji Chicken Rice, #02-13
While most would think that a chicken rice shop is most known for its… chicken rice, most of the loyal patrons of Rong Ji Chicken Rice are ordering up their chicken porridge ($3). While labelled a “porridge”, it’s more a congee with its well-seasoned broth and broken grains of rice – super thick, you wouldn’t need to worry about it being just diluted water and rice. Add an egg and a chicken drumstick in for extra protein.