Thursday, June 28, 2007

Undiscovered Treasures

Yang Zhou Fried Prawn Noodles
Blk 40, Beo Cresent
Coffee Shop Opposite Beo Cresent Market
Hours: 3pm t0 8pm or earlier
Closed on Fridays

Mum always has this advice for me during my childhood years when dining out at hawker centers.:

  1. Do not be attracted by long queues without knowing what's ahead.
  2. Do not be bias by any form of media hype.
  3. Use your own judgement on taste, (especially now that u are a professional chef.)
  4. Experience counts, look for older hawkers who may be slow but the patience is worth it.
  5. Look for tell tale signs of the quality of food based on the stall's outlook. If everything is catered, then u know better.
  6. Mature estates' hawkers often have better tasting grub.

Well, mum is right most of the time. I have always kept this in mind when I go around. Beo Cresent market is one of my favourite chow destinations as I grew up around this estate in the 70's where there were fantastic stalls selling Carrot Cake, Cantonese Congee,Kueh Tutu etc till the wee hours of the morning. Most of the good hawkers are either gone or have moved away.

Lately I happen to pass by this familar stretch in the evening when my nose caught the familar whiff of pork lard cracklings and clanking of the wok spatula scrambling eggs till they foamed. It's the old uncle at helm again, frying his delicious prawn noodles away in a great broth. Mind you the last time I came by around 715pm in the evening, he was already doing the last order since opening at 3pm. This must really be one of those good life hawkers working only a couple of hours a day. A modest stall, no media hype or publicity, this almost toothless uncle fries every plate with passion and pride. No rolex, no gold chain or heavy jade to show off with, each plate of his prawn noodles is moist but not dripping wet and yet had the full flavour of a rich meaty stock. Steam from the noodles evolved a seductive lard fragrance yet they were not greasy on the palate and portions were generous. This is truly one of the best I have ever tasted and the other being at Whampoa Food Centre. The chili was fantastic fragrant with dried shrimps and reasonably nice amount of spiciness. A squeeze of lime brings every dimension into harmony. U can ask for more chili but i prefer to keep things simple.

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