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Alexandra Village Food Centre
Photograph: HDB

Underrated hawker eats in Alexandra Village Food Centre

Beat the unreasonably long queues and savour alternative cheap eats

Dawson Tan
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Dawson Tan
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Located in the heartlands of Redhill, this enduring hawker centre is best known for having some of the tastiest plates around the island. From mouth-watering roasted meats from Lau Phua Chay Authentic Roasted Delicacies (#01-20) and the smoky Tai Liok Claypot Chicken Rice (#01-68) to the legendary Tiong Bahru Lien Fa Shui Jing Pau (#01-10), these popular stalls all have one thing in common – meandering queues. They are sure worth the wait, but if you're tired of braving the queues or just feeling a little adventurous, we've uncovered – and tried – some lesser-known finds that are also worth your dime.

Still hungry? Make sure to check out other hidden food gems around the Redhill neighbourhood or rid the food coma courtesy of our ultimate guide to Redhill.

5 best underrated hawker eats

Thuan Viet Authentic Vietnam (#01-02)
Photograph: Daniel Iskandar

Thuan Viet Authentic Vietnam (#01-02)

This joint takes your tastebuds to Little Saigon with its authentic Southern Vietnamese cuisine. Opened just two months ago, the stall is operated by a family that hails from Ho Chi Minh City. For $6, you get to enjoy a comforting bowl of sliced beef pho. We were told that the clear broth is MSG-free. It arrives visibly darker and tastes more robust than usual. The bowl also comes with fresh herbs, silky flat rice noodles and lean – not sinewy – slices of beef. There is also popular street food such as the Bun Cha ($5.90) with grilled meat patties, fresh or crispy Vietnamese spring rolls ($5.50), and Banh Mi (from $6). All that's missing is a bunch of plastic squat stools and a stumpy keg of Bia Hoi for you to feel like you're in the Nam.

Xiao Ji Noodle House (#01-36)
Photograph: Daniel Iskandar

Xiao Ji Noodle House (#01-36)

While most flock to the ever-popular Zhang Ji (#01-56) to sort out their wildest Shanghai-style Xiao Long Bao cravings, the lesser-known Xiao Ji serves up dumplings that are just as good but with half the queue time. The seven-year-old stall is run by a Chinese couple that specialises in their signature pot stickers (from $6). Each irresistible morsel is made up of crispy yet chewy skin and a juicy combination of well-seasoned pork perfumed with chives and white pepper.

Looking for spice? Try the silky smooth chilli oil dumplings ($5) which are flavoured with dry savoury spice and lifted with sharp vinegar. There is also the hand-pulled noodles which are touted to be quite well-received. But we very much preferred the underrated Mee Hoon Kuey (from $3.50) enhanced by a liberal douse of homemade chilli oil.

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Selero Minang Nasi Padang (#01-65)
Photograph: Daniel Iskandar

Selero Minang Nasi Padang (#01-65)

At the far end of the hawker centre is Selero Minang, an Indonesian Padang stall that has been around for the past 7 years. Operated by a husband and wife duo that hails from Sumatra, the humble stall serves up hearty Indonesian food that is value-for-money and most definitely food coma-worthy. There are plenty of protein options to choose from but if it is your first venture, try building your plate around the beef rendang. You'll find tender chunks of beef swimming in an aromatically spiced gravy rounded off with rich oniony sweetness – perfect when enjoyed with the fluffy rice.

Other preferred companions are the moreish fried chilli egg balanced out with some stir-fried vegetables. Though your plate isn't complete without a splash of their signature brown gravy and zesty sambal. And you won't need to worry about forgetting your condiments – the endearing stall owners are more than happy to offer up more gravy. Just know, as underrated as they are, they usually sell out by 2pm.

The Thunder Tea Story (#01-55)
Photograph: Daniel Iskandar

The Thunder Tea Story (#01-55)

The humble stall is run by a mother and son duo offering healthier options amongst the slew of heavy hawker delicacies. It is headlined by one dish, the Thunder Tea rice, a time-honoured Hakka dish that stands out with its nutritious bowl of greens, grains and legumes. There is an option to go with brown rice if you're feeling extra healthy. On the side is a bowl of swampy green soup that, unlike its intimidating appearance, is all things fresh, vegetal and herbaceous. We recommend pouring a quarter to half a bowl before you give it a good mix. Did we mention that it is priced at just $5? Yes, a deliciously light meal that is of good value.

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  • Restaurants
  • Hawker
  • Bukit Merah

Instead of your usual teh or kopi, you'll find sparkling earl grey and osmanthus tea at this urban hawker stall. Behind the shiny taps and fizzy brews is Calvin Ang, who still hand-bottles and cans his own beverages on site. There are plenty to choose from in the gourmet tea range but the best-seller remains the Lady Grey ($5.40). It is a tall glass of smoked Chinese red tea accented with citrus peels worth sticking your pinkies up for. In search of a pint of danger? Boozy options come as approachable craft beers drafted from a rotating line-up. The joint also frequently spotlights local brewers with a tap dedicated to local beers. One thing's for sure, those suds sure pair well with the hawker eats.

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