Helmed by two affable young hawkers from Kuala Lumpur, the humble noodle stall uses a family recipe that harkens back 30 years. At just $5.50, each signature bowl comes with bouncy handmade noodles, heaps of savoury minced meat, textures of crunchy black fungus, spinach, fried beancurd sheet with fish paste, onsen egg, and of course, a dollop of that signature chilli. But don’t expect a typical wet-style chilli paste. The homemade chilli here leans toward a drier version as it includes dried shrimp, giving plenty of umami and depth in contrast to the fiery spice. For extra oomph, order a peppery slab of fried chicken cutlet.
Back in 1978, Hong Lim Food Centre was known as one of the earlier hawker centres ever built and it mainly housed street hawkers from Hokkien Street.
In its heyday, the neighbourly hawker was the epicentre for community and great food in the busy Chinatown housing estate. Today, while it isn't as popular as other food centres such as Amoy Street and Maxwell, Hong Lim Food Centre still manages to attract a healthy crowd when the lunch hour strikes.
From the outrageously long queues for Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee (#02-17) and Heng Kee Curry Chicken Mee (#01-58) to lard-slicked noodles by Ji Ji Wanton Noodle Specialist (#02-48/49), these are sensational bowls that are undoubtedly worth the queue. But if you're time-pressed and yearning for a quick tasty meal, we've uncovered – and tried – some lesser-known finds and some rising stars that are also worth your dime.
Stuffed? Get rid of the food coma and explore Chinatown on foot with our ultimate guide to Chinatown.