Senja Hawker Centre
Photograph: Senja Hawker CentreSenja Hawker Centre

Guide to Senja Hawker Centre: familiar favourites and Michelin hawkers

Savour cheap eats by new and aspiring hawkers or brave the queues for the favourites

Dawson Tan
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The densely-populated neighbourhood of Bukit Panjang just got extra delicious with the newly minted Senja Hawker Centre. Here, a total of 28 stalls feature a good mix of offerings by well-loved favourites, famed Michelin-decorated hawkers and some exciting new entrants. Besides the wide variety of food, there is also a clear focus on affordability.

Under the Fairprice Group mandate, each stall is required to serve up one main dish that costs between $2.80 to $3.50. Senja Hawker Centre is also the first to debut Warong Rice Garden, a halal concept that allows all patrons to enjoy Nasi Campur from as low as $2.

And gone were the days when eating out in hawker centres meant returning to the office or your home with nasty sweat patches. The modern space boasts high ceilings that are fitted with giant fans to ensure that the grounds remain well-ventilated. It also accommodates up to 580 diners at once with ample parking in the basement, an automated tray returning station and a soon-to-open rooftop garden.

Savour on familiar favourites

  • Hawker
  • Raffles Place

This is essentially a nasi padang stall at heart with a plethora of choices to choose from, all at mighty affordable prices. And of course, there are hearty proteins steeped in the likes of curry, Assam gravy and dark sweet sauce. The Warong set will only set you back a nifty $3.50 ($3 for CHAS Blue, MG, PG and NTUC members and only $2 for ComCare cardholders) with your pick of either the nasi kuning chicken or fish patin. There are also breakfast favourites like mee rebus, mee siam, mee kahwin (pictured) and even authentic Malaysian-style Ramly burgers.

  • Hawker
  • Bukit Panjang

The famous Tekka Market stalwart has been serving up stellar plates of Teochew-style braised duck (from $4) for well over 60 years – and their standard remains fairly consistent at this second outlet. Expect lean yet succulent braised duck that is first cooked in hot water before the braising process to ensure its tenderness. Then there's the inimitable braised sauce – light in consistency yet robust with flavours of garlic, ginger and over 10 other herbs. "The stall opens at 8am daily but we're here since 4am doing the prep, making sure we don't skimp on ingredients to maintain the original flavour of Heng Gi," shares owner Mr Alvin Gwey Soon Lim. This is one dish certainly worth queuing for. 

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  • Hawker
  • Bukit Panjang

This stall hails from Old Airport Road Food Centre and serves up a homely "Chinese-style" nasi lemak. A word on the rice – it is not unctuously oily but yet still retains the aroma and notes of coconut with a touch of pandan, and that is definitely why we keep going for spoonful after spoonful. Accompanying the plate are usual suspects of lightly battered – and wonderfully seasoned – fried chicken wings, fresh crunchy Ikan Bilis, an oozing fried egg and sweet sambal.

  • Hawker
  • Bukit Panjang

This second-generation hawker has successfully taken its humble bowl to the heartlands with stalls in Whampoa Market, Fernvale Hawker Centre, and now Senja Hawker Centre. It is a household name when it comes to Lor Mee and is best known for its thicker gravy consistency. Most elements in our bowl were satisfying: elegantly spiced gravy, crispy fish nuggets, flavourful prawn fritters and fork-tender braised pork belly. Queues can be seen forming from one end of the hawker centre to the other at 10 in the morning, but their nostalgic and robust flavours continue to please all ages alike.

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  • Hawker
  • Bukit Panjang

Paper thin, lusciously silky, and with a subtle rice aroma, the steaming hot Michelin-approved rice rolls at this stall are done Hong Kong-style. Upon order, they are prepared a la minute with three toppings to choose from, namely prawn, char siew, and scallop. The snappy prawns are the best compliment to the combination in our books. Drenched in a delicate savoury soy sauce and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds, this light dish is the perfect start to your mornings. If you can't stand the queues at the original Pek Kio location, perhaps this may be your next best alternative.

Worthy mentions

Other headlining acts

Michelin-plated Jiao Cai Seafood (#02-14), Project Penyek (#02-17), and Munchi Pancakes (#02-23) may ring a bell, but there's more. Here are some other worthy mentions you ought to try: Shi Nian (#02-11), a braised pork trotter stall from Chong Pang Market serving up juicy arm-length trotters from $18; Mohamed Ayaan Rojak (#02-19), an Indian rojak stall boasting a 50-year-old family recipe with prata and $1.20 thosai; Hup Cheong Roasted Delights (#02-13), a roasted food specialist with over 20 years experience serving up glossy char siew and succulent roasted pork.

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