SG Food Masters 2017 returns for its second year running, featuring the finest cuisines in the world to compete for the best places to eat, comprising of restaurants, bars, cafes and of course our hawker culture! We were very honoured to be one of the judges in this year’s campaign, alongside established personalities.
The islandwide food hunt were categorized into four zones – North, East, Central, West – with the top 10 Food Masters unveiled for the public and judges to vote for. We were allocated the Central Zone and each eatery also has a representative dish for the food hunt – check out the full list here. Each eatery was judged by both the public, judges and team at SPH on its value-for-money, taste, cleanliness, service and healthy option. We went down to try the food anonymously over December 2017 and here’s our personal review of the top 10 shortlisted places in the Central Zone! Stay tuned to the end to find out the winners in the Central zone!
1. Ayam Bakar Ojolali
Spread across 3 units on the 3rd floor in Lucky Plaza, Ayam Bakar Ojolali offers one of the most delectable spread of Indonesian cuisine. Our favourite from their menu is the Grilled Pomfret (Bawal Bakar) – mainly for its addictive charred sweet and spicy flavours, reminiscent of our recent trip to Indonesia. Also recommend trying their Grilled Chicken (Ayam Bakar) – lots of spices and sweet sauce, though ours was a little dry. Each plate comes with tempeh, tahu goreng and vegetables.
2. Deja Brew Cafe
Situated within Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, the café-style concept Deja Brew Cafe offers a quiet spot in the city with pretty value for money dishes. The food here features traditional Chinese cuisine presented in a modern fashion. Our recommended items to try are their Stir-fried Seafood White Beehoon – lots of wok hei and seafood ingredients (clams, squid, prawns), and their Nanyang Chilli Crab Bread Bowl – served in a bread bowl. Pretty value for money with at just $8!
Deja Brew Cafe
Address: 1 Straits Boulevard #01-02 Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre Singapore 018906 (Map)
Opening Hours: 9am to 9pm (Closed on Sundays and PH)
Contact: +65 6221 1016
3. Dim Sum Haus
We absolutely love our dim sum and where else to get good ones? With items like the baked salted egg yolk buns and charcoal siew mai – we were sold even before making a visit to Dim Sum Haus. These delicious dim sums are mostly handmade and tastes really good albeit the pricing. Our favourite is the baked salted egg yolk buns – with a really crispy texture and that oozing creamy salted egg just hits all the right notes. If only they’re open past midnight, it’ll surely be our go to dim sum place for supper!
4. Duck Master
Sourcing for a whole roast duck at a seriously affordable price tag? If you haven’t heard of Duck Master, this place at People’s Park Complex is one of the top 10 stalls for SG Food Masters 2017 and has been drawing crowds since mid-2017. We actually walked passed and missed it the first time as the stall was just a small shop with a glass-electric spinning oven used to roast the ducks. We tried it for ourselves and the skin was still very crispy even though we took an hour home to travel before eating it. Taste wise, the meat was tasty and tender, and at a price tag of just $15, this is really a steal!
5. Fatty Aunt Yong Tau Foo
Yong Tau Foo is like our go to meal when we want something healthy during lunch time and there are really tons of places to get them. But what we loved about Fatty Aunt Yong Tau Foo is the wide variety of ingredients to choose from – over 50 choices including unique homemade ones. Over here, have your pick from tons of unique ingredients including the Century Egg Wanton, Yam Mushroom Fritters, homemade ngoh hiang, dough fritters and many more. The ngoh hiang is a worth a try – fragrant and densely packed with lots of minced meat!
Fatty Aunt Yong Tau Foo also offers 11 choices of noodles and various sauces/cooking style to have including sweet and chilli sauce, laksa broth, bean sauce and minced pork (bak chor). Our personal favourite is the bean sauce + bee hoon combination or their minced pork version! Will definitely be back to try their laksa broth!
Fatty Aunt Yong Tau Foo
Address: 147 Silat Avenue, #01-26, Singapore 160147 (Map)
Opening hours: 9:30am to 8:30pm (Closed on Saturday)
Contact: +65 8622 2862
6. Fu Shun Jin Ji Roasted Meat Noodle House
Maxwell Food Centre have some really great food, and you can tell just by the long snaking queues during lunch time. This humble little stall, Fu Shun Jin Ji Roasted Meat Noodle House located at Maxwell also has a fair treat of customers every day. We went down on a Saturday at around 2pm and was quite surprised to see there was a queue forming. While queuing in line, we could see the personable service provided to each customer, from ordering to even plating the food for you – we could see why customers will return for more. Starting at just $3.50 for most of their dishes, you can expect a generous portion of meat on a plate of noodles or rice (choice of char siew, duck, roast pork or mixed). The noodles though it had alot of sauce drizzled on, didn’t really soak up the flavours and was a little bland, but the flavour of the roast pork made up for it and was very addictive!
Fu Shun Jin Ji Roasted Meat Noodle House
Address: 1 Kadayanallur Street Stall 71 Maxwell Food Centre Singapore 069184 (Map)
Infused with 10 nourishing herbs including Angelica Root, Golden Duck offers a traditional plate of duck rice at a friendly price tag. For just $2.50 per plate, it’s served with white rice, braised duck and gravy. Though we personally prefer having yam rice with it, the braised duck’s nicely tender meat and flavours made up for it. If you’re here to try the duck rice, just know that it’s more of a healthier alternative and nourishing version, rather than the typical ones.
Address: 335 Smith Street #02-007 Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre Singapore 050335 (Map)
8. Hong Kong Beef King
Located at the basement of Clifford Centre at Raffles Place, Hong Kong Beef King is definitely no stranger to the CBD crowd. We tried a bowl of Hong Kong style beef noodles and were quite impressed. Besides the fragrant and flavourful beef broth, expect a generous topping of beef tendons and beef balls – at just $5 per bowl.
Hong Kong Beef King
Address: 24 Raffles Place, Clifford Centre Basement 1, Mini Restaurant 3 Singapore 048621 (Map)
Opening Hours: 7am to 7pm (Monday to Friday), 10am to 4pm (Saturday)
9. Sin Kee Chicken Rice
When we initially searched for Sin Kee Chicken Rice, a number of locations popped up and we were quite confused. After doing a bit of research, we actually found out that there are 3 other stalls with the same name (each within close proximity), each one claiming their rights to being the original (drama). Straying away from the drama, we tried the one at Holland Close and really enjoyed it. The standout factor when eating chicken rice is definitely the rice and chilli, as the chicken meat is pretty standard and usually good. The chicken rice served here is extremely fragrant, flavourful and not overly oily. Chilli is not too spicy too and has a good balance of diced chilli and ginger!
Sin Kee Chicken Rice
Address: Blk 6 Holland Close #01-36 Singapore 271006 (Map)
Opening Hours: 8.30am to 8.30pm (Closed on Monday)
Contact: +65 9682 0381
10. Jing Hua Xiao Chi
An obscure spot within a shophouse on Neil Road, Jing Hua Xiao Chi has a very authentic feel just by the ambience and service – almost feel like you’re in an eatery in China. We of course had to try their Xiao Long Bao which tasted really good flavour wise, despite our batch still having the doughy-after texture. Lots of fresh vegetables and pork filling wrapped in a thin dough! We also tried their Zha Jiang Noodle ($5+), which is a bowl of thick noodles topped with minced pork and soya bean sauce. Very flavourful and we especially enjoyed the topping of cucumber slices, a refreshing contrast to the umami-flavoured sauce.
Congratulations to the winners in the Central Zone – Dim Sum Haus, Deja Brew and Fatty Aunt Yong Tau Foo!So that’s it from us on our judging experience for SG Food Masters 2017! While we observed that many of these eateries were not on the same level playing field (level of service, restaurants vs hawker, price-wise), we still enjoyed exploring these places for great, Singaporean cuisine. Till then!
With lots of love,
An Affair With Food