Shiok Food At Blk 86 Bedok North Street 4
Exactly one week ago, Mark invited me to join Alvin and himself for lunch. I had been asking around and have heard that Fei Lao’s horfun has one of the most intense wok hei in Singapore and that was where we were headed!
Mark gave me the address but I had no idea then that it was the same kopitiam I had gone to with Benny and Ricky. The taxi brought me to the back of the estate and when I arrived, I realised the cze char stall is located within the same coffee shop as Western Food 85 where I had the deep-fried version of German pork knuckles. The knuckles were so good, I brought Sam and Vanessa there a few days later and on a different occasion bought 3 pieces, one for Cynthia and Dominic to consume at Ho Tit Coffee Factory and the other two to be stewed with assam pedas gravy at home.
I saw Mark at the table but Alvin was no where in sight. I suppose Al was at the stall placing orders for our horfun but he returned with a bowl of curry chicken wings and a neat plate of mess.
“I saw Hainanese Curry Png and thought we give it a try.”
“Sam said the pork knuckle is good, wanna try or not?”
“I ordered horfun, fish head and pork liver. Now with these two extra items, still can stomach the pork knuckles meh?”
And they both look at me!
“Erm… We eat first?” I offered.
I don’t know why. I shouldn’t refused. It was very unlike me. But maybe it was a premonition for since that lunch till now, I have been down with flu through the weekend, followed by hacking cough and am still sick.
Mark and Alvin will be eating the pork knuckles soon but I can’t join them. Better not pass them my germs. The venue reminded me of our last meal which I have yet to post so I dragged my lifeless shell and started to work on this post. It is 3.15am!
I digressed. Back on track…
We started with the Hainanese Curry Png (png = rice in Hokkien dialect). The curry chicken wings were ordinary, maybe even slightly below standard according to my personal preference as I found it to be watered down. And if one were to argue, it could jolly well be the correct Hainanese-style consistency but this Hainanese lady here, that’s moi, prefers “lemak” (Malay for rich texture in food) when it comes to curries.
The sambal looked very different from the standard Hainanese Curry Png also. To me, it looked more Indonesian/Malay style but I am not complaining. I am not documenting heritage food so there’s no need for authenticity in my food. I am looking for tastes, fusion or otherwise that suited me and this ferocious looking red mound suited me fine! Looking back, that sambal could have irritated my sore throat but I loved it and will definitely go back for more!
Allow me to side track here a bit. We were taking photos and the kopi uncle (we call all the servers/owners of coffee shops kopi uncle or kopi aunty as a sign of respect since we do not know their names) asked if we were going to post on Facebook. He was amused 3 diners shooting with dslr (most uses handphones). Later, he told Alvin the history of the Hainanese Curry Rice stall. We had thought the owner to be away from his stall leaving his foreign-probably-domestic-helper ladies to man the stall. Turns out one of them, the Indonesian lady, is the wife of the late stallholder. He had passed on but she managed to learn from him and kept his standard of cooking! Except for the sambal (which is great btw) you will never guessed they’re not Hainanese-cooked. Is there such a thing that one can taste ethnicity in food? I think so. Because for some, if not all food, you just won’t get it right if you are not immersed in its culture.
There are no words to describe the above heap of gooey looking meal. That’s because I forgot how it tasted. I only remember how I felt after eating it… *Shiok!
I used to wait every night till the clock strikes 1.30am and drive to Upper Serangoon to eat Hougang Curry Png. The shop opens only at 2am exactly, not a minute earlier (could be some fengshui thingy). That was my nightly supper routine for many years until the old man died. The new owners did not cook well. They even used lousy grade rice as I chewed on sandy grits. I have tried many curry png after that – some were good and others, bleh! Not sure if it was sudden nostalgia or something else. I can’t put my finger on it but this one happened to excite me.
I am really behind time when it comes to food cost in Singapore. I need to reconcile with current market prices. I’m still calculating in terms before I left Singapore and keep getting alarmed each time I asked for bill breakdowns. No doubt there was a few sea cucumber (not a normal inclusion in horfun) but they weren’t top grade. My raised brows and opened jaws betrayed me when the lady said the horfun was $15. I felt that price to be a bit extravagant for a cze char noodle dish served in kopitiam but I must admit it was very delicious!
Will I eat this horfun again? Yes! But next time, I will ask for takeaway even when dining at the coffeeshop because it would be wrapped in **Opeh Leaf which will impregnate an awesome fragrance into the rice noodles.
By the way, did you noticed that the Horfun does not have egg ribbons in it? That’s because it is Singapore style! Wak Dan Horfun (滑蛋河粉 -the ones with egg) is said to be Malaysian style. We have it because most of our cze char cooks hail from Malaysia! I do not think Hong Kong Horfun has soft egg in it, too!
The Fish Head dish was not good. I had the last piece as the guys were filled and that piece was not cooked through. Yikes!
The Pork Liver was so so to Alvin. It was good to me as I could taste the “sweetness” of Huatiao (wine) and “powdery” texture of the organ but I would prefer them to be sliced slightly thicker for more hearty mouthfeel.
You must wonder why I didn’t review the German Pork Knuckles. I have had it in 2 consecutive days and dabao-ed one for my friends and bought 2 home to cook. What do you think, nice or not? But best to eat there for the shiokadoonz crunch!
If you’re in the neighbourhood, just head up for Shiok Food at Blk 86 Bedok North Street 4!
Changi Lorong 108 Fei Lao Seafood 樟宜108巷肥老煮炒
Address: Blk 86 Bedok North Street 4,
Operating hours: (Closed on Tuesdays)
Lunch: 11am – 2pm
Dinner: 5pm – 9pm
Western Food 85
Address: Blk 86 Bedok North Street 4.
Tel: +65 90070531
Operating hours: (Closed on 1st & 3rd Wed of Month)
Daily: 12pm – 11pm
Hainanese Curry Rice
Operating hours: 10am – 3pm but I do not know their day of rest.
All the stalls mentioned in this post are located inside the same kopitiam.
Happy eating and bonding 🙂
“Bedok is a neighbourhood in the eastern part of Singapore. Bedok New Town is the fifth Housing and Development Board (HDB) new town.” – Wikipedia
*Shiok – is it Malay? It is likened to the state of perfect peace that comes when a craving is eliminated.
**Opeh Leaf or ‘upih’ in Malay language is actually the leaf-sheath of the Pinang tree (betel nut palm, the areca catechu). The pale whitish-yellow fibrous sheet was used traditionally as food wrapper before the introduction of plastic and styrofoam carriers in modern Singapore. Its come-back is making umami waves in our street food scene as foodies believed that wok-fried food packed in it is further enhanced with a slightly sour (good sour) and woody aroma.
Example of Opeh Leaf as food wrapper: