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Xin Tekka
Photograph: Xin Tekka/ Facebook

Hawker spotlight: Xin Tekka

A new food hall that features new-gen food entrepreneurs, comeback hawkers, and longstanding favourites

By Fabian Loo
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There’s a new food hall in town, and it brings together a delicious mix of new-generation food entrepreneurs, comeback restauranteurs, and other longstanding favourites. The 10,000 square feet Xin Tekka, which is located at the new Tekka Mall, is home to an eclectic mix of stalls serving up dishes both traditional and new.

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Pang’s Hakka Noodle
Photograph: Fabian Loo

Pang's Hakka Noodle

Restaurants Hawker Rochor

Antoinette might have shuttered, but chef Pang Kok Keong is still keeping busy. Only now, instead of baking pastries, he's cooking up noodles at his first casual eatery concept: Pang’s Hakka Noodle. Through this stall, set up as a homage to his mother who used to work as a noodle hawker, Pang hopes to shine a spotlight on Hakka culture and cuisine.

The menu features Hakka noodles ($7), a signature dish where wheat noodles come tossed in a fragrant mixture of homemade minced pork sauce, shallot, and garlic oil. The Hakka variant of yong tau foo ($4), which comes hand-stuffed with a paste of pork, fish, and salted fish, can also be found here, along with Hakka fried wings ($4), a riff on the traditional Hakka-style fried pork belly which comes marinated in fermented red beancurd.

Casa Bom Vento Express 
Photograph: Fabian Loo

Casa Bom Vento Express

Restaurants Hawker Rochor

Seasoned foodies would be familiar with Casa Bom Vento. The restaurant, which used to be located along Joo Chiat, was established in 1995 and drew crowds for its authentic Eurasian-Peranakan dishes. It's now back after a four-year hiatus and chef Lionel Chee continues to tap into his age-old recipe book to offer a menu rooted in tradition.

A must-order: the ayam buah keluak served atop blue pea flower rice ($7.70). Beyond using traditional ingredients, Lionel even incorporates feng shui into the plating of the dish; the food comes packed in a cylinder to represent the auspicious element of metal and its accompanying symbolism of strength. Other dishes, including the Nonya dry laksa ($8.20) and nasi ulam with tofu satay ($8.20), are also worth a try.

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Da Boomz Delights 
Photograph: Fabian Loo

Da Boomz Delights

Restaurants Hawker Rochor

What started as a home-based business has slowly blossomed in popularity. Wardah Anuar first started selling apam balik, a Malay-style pancake, together with her best friend. Along the way, the business grew, and the home bakers ventured to food fairs, bazaars, and other pop-up events.

It gave the pair the confidence to set up their first physical store at Xin Tekka, where they whip up warm pancakes in flavours of Copa Cabana ($8.40), with a chocolate base, sliced banana, and melted chocolate rice; and the Duran King ($8.40) that comes with a creamy durian filling. A small selection of traditional Malay kueh is also available.

Rong Guang BBQ Seafood 
Photograph: Fabian Loo

Rong Guang BBQ Seafood

Restaurants Hawker Rochor

After a one-year break, Rong Guang BBQ Seafood is back on the scene. The seafood stall, which first started in 1985, gained popularity during its time at Makansutra Gluttons by the Bay. It continues to prepare seafood – sourced from Jurong Fishery Port – over the barbecue. Most come paired with its special fiery chilli sauce, including the popular Portuguese sambal stingray (from $16).

There’s also the seafood in a bag ($98), a new addition to its menu at Xin Tekka. The sharing platter comes with two crabs, prawns, clams, and scallops – all slathered in chilli crab sauce and feeds four hungry mouths.

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Alhambra Satay 
Photograph: Fabian Loo

Alhambra Satay

Restaurants Hawker Rochor

Alhambra Satay was part of the now-defunct Satay Club during the 1960s. During that time, the family-run business insisted on serving up hand-cut satay, paired with its chunky peanut sauce. Till today, the recipe remains the same, and diners can sample its sticks of chicken, beef, or mutton ($9, with 10 sticks and rice cake). Another heritage dish – kentang ball ($6) – can also be found on its menu. Few places serve this local dish, and Alhambra Satay makes it by first deep-frying a ball of mashed potato and minced beef before ladling over spoonfuls of soto ayam, or chicken soup. 

Liang Ji 
Photograph: Fabian Loo

Liang Ji

Restaurants Hawker Rochor

Modern interpretations of fried rice and carrot cake can be found at Liang Ji. Its owner, Dominic Neo, puts a personal spin on these traditional street snacks, resulting in novel creations of Cheese Floss Carrot Cake ($6) and spicy hae bee hiam, or dried shrimp carrot cake ($6).

When ordering the signature hae bee hiam fried rice ($6), look out for the peculiar cooking contraption that Dominic uses. The inventive chef enlists the help of the machine to automate the cooking process, freeing up time for him to fry up plates of fried kway tiao ($5) at this one-man operation. The final product is equally impressive; Dominic presses each order of the hae bee hiam fried rice in a heart-shaped mould, crowned with a fried egg in the same shape as well. 

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RW Express
Photograph: Xin Tekka

RW Express

Restaurants Hawker Rochor

Founder Kalpanath Singh owns three different North India restaurants in Little India, and RW Express is the brand’s first venture into the hawker scene. Expect to find wallet-friendly Indian cuisine, including tandoori chicken ($10) cooked using charcoal in a clay oven and the tender mutton biryani ($8).

Morning Boss
Photograph: Xin Tekka/ Facebook

Morning Boss

Restaurants Hawker Rochor

The drinks stall at Xin Tekka is helmed by a pair of second-generation owners. One of them, Peh Jia En, has been brewing traditional Singapore-style coffee for over seven years. He boasts an extensive drink-making repertoire: from the rare kopi with butter ($2), or kopi guyou, to iced milo and bandung jazzed-up with pearls ($3). Coffee, the main highlight of the stall, is brewed hourly to maintain freshness. And to pair with the drinks, Morning Boss also has a line-up of old-school snacks, including peanut porridge ($2), kaya toast ($1.80), and fried you tiao ($1.10) or dough fritters that are rolled and fried on the spot.

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Hosay’s Delicacy 
Photograph: Xin Tekka

Hosay’s Delicacy

Restaurants Hawker Rochor

Hosay’s Delicacy doesn’t just serve a typical bowl of noodles. The mee pok used, for instance, is unique to the stall, and comes wider and chewier than the usual variant found elsewhere. It's used to make its signature bowl of noodles ($7.20), a hearty rendition topped with fresh scallops, clams, homemade prawn paste, fish strips, and fried fish cracker.

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