Toa Payoh Housing Estate 大巴窑
A good part of my younger days were spent growing up in Toa Payoh Lorong 2 when my maternal grandma (pictured below) lived there. I was trained at the Toa Payoh Swimming Complex but my drowning experiences stopped me from pursuing this sports even at leisure. Guess I was a fish out of water. I was never meant to swim with the ducks but soar like an eagle, hahaha… T’was what I dream anyway 😉
The common corridor at Toa Payoh Lorong 2 used to hold countless birthday parties in the 70’s – 80’s.
It was also the playground for us (when we were young) when we were not allowed to go downstairs to actual playgrounds.
Toa Payoh (大巴窑) is a district located in the Central Region of Singapore. It commonly refers to the Housing and Development Board (HDB) housing estate of Toa Payoh New Town, one of the earliest satellite public housing estates in Singapore.
Toa Payoh was once an extensive and notorious squatter district. Most squatters were engaged in farming and rearing pigs. The others were hawkers, factory workers, mechanics or domestic helpers.
The squatters started moving out in 1962 as a result of increased compensation rates and other practical inducements offered by the Government. Clearance work was able to commence and the redevelopment started in early 1964.
Queen Elizabeth II visited the area in the years 1972 and 2006.
The Toa Payoh New Town, HDB’s second satellite town, was built in 1968. The layout of the new town follows urban planning principles of the time. The housing estate is self-contained and has a town centre acting as a focal point for the shopping and entertainment needs of the residents.
The sporting facilities are based in the southern central part of Toa Payoh, which is located near the town centre. It consists of 3500 seater Toa Payoh Stadium, where S.League club Balestier Khalsa FC plays its home games. Toa Payoh Sports Hall is located besides the stadium, as well as the Singapore Table Tennis Association Academy. Meanwhile, there is also Toa Payoh Swimming Complex, where national swimmers train at the complex.
Besides these facilities located in the centre of the town, there are also street football courts, gym facilities and basketball courts available at various neighbourhoods of Toa Payoh. Meanwhile, SAFRA clubhouse is located besides Toa Payoh Stadium.
The town centre was the first prototype in Singapore. It is surrounded by separated neighbourhoods, each with its own shopping amenities and community centres, well served by a network of vehicular roads and generous open space separating them. The result, as in the English new towns of the 1950s, is that residents tend less to travel to the main town centre but rather to shop within their neighbourhood; if they travel, they go to Orchard Road or the town area via the MRT system, at the Toa Payoh MRT Station and the Braddell MRT Station, or public bus services at Toa Payoh Bus Interchange. – Wikipedia
These shots of newer flats below were taken on 28th August 2014 with my handphone and post processed.
This park and these houses…
Old streets I have walked…
Everything dear, will they be here?
One day when I am returning…
There are many good food served in Toa Payoh New Town (it is the 2nd oldest estate actually) and to try all the food outlets in the many Lorongs (lanes in Malay) would take weeks if not months to complete. Whenever I report to my office, which is located near the HDB Hub, I would visit some of the kopitiams or food centres for delicious grubs. Here a few dishes I have partaken and enjoyed recently. Sorry I do not know the addresses as my cousin drove while I reminisces the good old days in the estate. I ate wherever he fancied during those trips.
Curry Puffs (咖哩角 a.k.a. 咖哩饺 ).
Curry Puff is likened to a small pie consisting of specialised curry powder with cooked shredded/diced chicken, a quarter hard-boiled egg and potatoes wrapped in a dough pastry (nowadays there flaky types). It is then deep-fried in hot oil till golden.
I think Curry Puff has its origin in Malay but this one is Chinese influenced (the curry powder mix decides Chinese, Indian or Malay). The appearance of a Curry Puff looks like the Portuguese Empanada, don’t you think?
杂菜饭 (Chap Chye Png in Hokkien dialect) or Economic Rice is like *cze char dishes but the prices are slashed down.
An Economy Rice Stall typically consist of a display counter containing anywhere from 15-20 odd trays of cooked food (similar to cze char dishes), kept warm by hot water bath.
Customers select any combination of these dishes, which are served accompanied by a portion of steamed white rice.
猪杂汤 – Mixed Pig’s Organ Soup originated from the Teochews.
The tasty clear broth (simmered with pork bones) consists a mix of salted vegetables, pig’s offal including pork balls, liver, pork belly, sliced pork, pig’s stomach, small intestines.
If you’re lucky, you may find pig’s heart, tongue and blood cubes but the latest is out of the question in Singapore (animal blood as food is banned in Singapore except those of blood sausage, I wonder why).
Garnished with a few sprigs of Chinese lettuce, a sprinkling of Chinese parsley, cilantro and pepper and it’s good to go.
Locally, when eating in food courts, kopitiams and hawker stalls, Roast Chicken is actually deep-fried, lol…
This stall serves their roast chicken with lime.
A squeeze of the citrus fruit over the chicken does wonders to perk up our tastebuds as well as to whet our appetite.
Classified as a type of Siu Mei (燒味) or Cantonese Roasted Meat, 叉燒 (Charsiu in Cantonese) is commonly known as Honey BBQ Pork to the western world.
Charsiu is a literal romanisation of the word, loosely translated as “Fork-Roast”.
The name Charsiu derives from its traditional cooking method where long strips of marinated boneless pork are skewered with long forks and placed over a fire covered in a huge metal cauldron.
白米粉 (Pek Bee Hoon in Hokkien) literally translates to White Vermicelli.
Don’t be fooled by its plain colour.
The depth of flavour is in the gravy which the vermicelli soak up during a slow stewing process.
The beehoon was infused with rich seafood essence and the pinnacle of its flavour was further enhanced by the lashings of pork croutons laced all over the dish.
I’m guessing this is a Hokkien dish and that it is a unique creation to Singapore.
Has anyone had this overseas?
菜头粿 or Chai Tow Kway is actually made of radish but locally, we termed it as Carrot Cake.
Our Carrot Cake (Radish actually) is pan-fried and does not have cream cheese topping.
There’s two versions, Dark and White (this is white version in the picture, of course).
The Dark version is cooked with sweet dark soy (something like but not Kicap Manis) but it is still a savoury dish.
Sometimes prawns are added as secondary ingredients (to inflate the price, haha) but the main ingredients to the dish are eggs and preserved turnips, 菜圃 (Chai Por, which is very salty).
Chai Tow Kway is believed to be of Teochew origin.
Singapore’s version of Char Kway Teow (CKT – 炒粿条).
Char Kway Teow where Char 炒 = stir-fried, Kway 粿 = rice cakes, and Teow 条 = strips.
It is a dish made of made from flat rice noodles stir-fried over very high heat with light and dark soy sauce, chilli sauce (optional), with secondary ingredients like bean sprouts, fish cakes, egg, slices of Chinese sausage and shelled cockles.
CKT is traditionally stir-fried in pork lard with crisp lard croutons and commonly served on a piece of Opeh (Upih in Malay) leaf.
Upih Leaf is the sheath of the Pinang, a specie of Palm tree that produces betel nut (scientific name – Areca catechu).
No wonder it is so aromatic, not to mention addictive, to eat food served/wrapped in those leaves.
釀豆腐 (Yong Tau Foo) – dry version.
Deemed to originate from the Hakka dialect group.
YTF is a dish consisting primarily of tofu (and puffs) that has been filled with fish paste and sometimes ground meat, i.e. pork is mixed into the fish paste.
The best part of eating in a familiar heartland environment is the genuine happy faces that serve you 😀
Happy food venturing 🙂
Click on links below to see other food found in Toa Payoh:
Toa Payoh Lorong 8 Market & Food Centre
Come Daily Fried Hokkien Mee 天天来炒福建虾面
Hong Sheng Restaurant
Ivy’s Hainanese Mutton Soup 海南药材羊肉汤
Kun Shu Food Stall 根叔美食世家
Mellben Seafood 龙海鲜螃蟹王 (Toa Payoh)
Uncle Leong Seafood 龍海鲜螃蟹王
*Cze Char 煮炒 (Zi Char) is best described as home-style cooked food one can get at reasonable price in modest usually Kopitiam (Asian coffee shop) set-up.
P.S. You may be wondering why there’s Malay in road names and that’s because Singapore used to be a Malay fishing village. Our official language and national anthem is also in Malay 🙂