Growing up, I’ve always envied the ones living outside of the West side of Singapore because the food was always guaranteed to be better, more varied, and even cheaper.
So after hearing my colleagues rave about food in Hougang for months, I decided to head to Hougang and try the food for myself.
The destination? Hougang Hainanese Village.
And here are the 5 dishes to go for when you’re there.
1. Qiu Yun – Tom Yum Ban Mian
Ban Mian is a standard coffeeshop and hawker centre staple. There’s always a stall that sells ban mian, sliced fish soup and the likes. But not all are good.
However, that’s not the case at Hainanese Village. Qiu Yun is a simple store selling ban mian, mee hoon kway, sliced fish soup, and some Pu Tien-style dishes.
They even have Garoupa Head Fish Soup for those with a more adventurous palate.
I got the Tom Yum Ban Mian ($4) and wasn’t really expecting much. I’ve never been a big fan of ban mian. I’m okay with it but it’s usually not a first choice.
So I was genuinely surprised when the noodles remained springy without becoming soggy, even though I left it for a good 10 to 15 minutes, just busy getting more dishes.
The Tom Yum soup isn’t too spicy or salty either, which is good because I know of stall owners who are heavy-handed with their Tom Yum paste.
That being said, $4 for a decent-sized bowl of Tom Yum Ban Mian is actually worth it, though they could be a BIT more generous with the minced meat.
2. Yi Liu Xiang – Nasi Lemak
Yi Liu Xiang serves up Chinese-style Nasi Lemak and you know it’s good because the queues are crazy long.
I managed to jump into the queue before 6 others hastily lined up behind me. Lord. I remember thinking to myself, “It’s JUST Nasi Lemak, why is it so hyped?”
First off, $2.50 for a simple plate of Nasi Lemak with a fried fish fillet, omelette and ikan bilis seemed a bit ridiculous to me. I can probably get the same at Ananas for $2.
Boy, was I wrong. The fried fish fillet was STILL crispy despite being left out for a while, and it wasn’t too oily. It also had a satisfying crunch that was lacking in most fish fillets.
Now, as with all Nasi Lemak dishes, the make-or-break ingredient is the chilli. Yi Liu Xiang’s chilli was a perfect balance of sweet and spicy, and not too spicy that it’ll make you reach for your drink.
12/10 will return and queue for this. Do come early though (before 10am), some of the ingredients sell out VERY early.
Yi Liu Xiang
3. Hup Huat White Carrot Cake
As its name suggests, this stall only sells white carrot cake.
For $2.50, you get a plate of White Carrot Cake that looks more like a fuyong omelette.
Each plate is cooked upon order and the smell is DIVINE. If you like your carrot cake crispy, this is it.
The chilli doesn’t overpower the taste of the carrot cake, and the omelette has a tinge of wok hei to it, making this extremely satisfying to eat.
Honestly, this is how carrot cake should be prepared islandwide. Make this a thing please.
Hup Huat White Carrot Cake
4. Lai Xing Cooked Food – Duck Kway Chap
Kway Chap is traditionally served with pig offal and pork belly. But not here.
At Lai Xing Cooked Food, they serve up Duck Kway Chap. And for $2.50, it’s actually a very decent portion for one.
You get a small platter of fish cakes, tau pok, braised hardboiled eggs, and duck intestines. Since I shun offal like the plague, I decided to acquaint myself with the remaining ingredients.
The fish cake is fresh and springy with bits of vegetable in the fish paste.
Though the tau pok today seemed a little undercooked, I’m going to give them the benefit of doubt considering that it was early and the tau pok hasn’t been braised thoroughly enough to be sufficiently soft.
But all in all, Duck Kway Chap is an interesting dish and I highly recommend that you try it too.
Lai Xing Cooked Food
5. Shun Quan – Soya Beancurd With Gingko Nut
As I was busy getting the other 4 dishes, I saw a few tables with soya beancurd.
And let me just clarify that I LOVE SOYA BEANCURD. So I tracked the source and found Shun Quan.
I was very surprised and had to double confirm the price when I ordered the Soya Beancurd with Gingko Nut. It’s only $0.80. WHAT.
Price aside, the beancurd was so soft, it’s barely solid. It just disintegrates as soon as it leaves the spoon.
The gingko nuts provide a nice contrast in texture from the (literally) silky smooth beancurd.
By far the best tau huay I’ve ever had. Rochor beancurd who?
So there, if you’re at Hainanese Village in Hougang, eat these. Legit no horse run. Also, all 5 dishes cost us a total of just $12.30.
The place is nestled deep within the Hougang neighbourhood so here’re some buses that you can take to the Hainanese Village.
Oh, and come with at least 1 other person because seats are hard to come by.
(Header Image Source: DiscoverSG)