[SG] Old Airport Road Food Centre

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Despite the refurbishment done to the food centre in 2007, this renowned hawker centre has a reputation for giving visitors a warm and sticky dining experience. With 3 rows of back-to-back stalls built closely parallel to each other, the steam and heat from the stoves are trapped, making the hawker centre a mini-oven itself. Anyhow, this place houses many humble looking stalls and vendors offering mouth-watering dishes!

Lao Fu Zi Fried Kway Teow (S$4/-)

This simple looking plate of fried rice noodles was anything but simple. Apart from the 20 minutes queue, I was struggling to find any flaws in the dish. The 'wok-hei' or thermal radiation of the noodles was really good and strong, imparting sweet flavour, savoury taste and essence through the hot wok to the food during the process of stir-frying. The flavours were in part resulted from caramelization and partial combustion of oil and charring at very high heat. There was quite a generous amount of cockles for S$4 worth and what we enjoyed most was that the caramelized flavours were consistent. The noodles were all well and evenly coated with the seasoning (sweet and dark soy sauce) and lard, making it ridiculously addictive. Yes, we know this is diet suicide, but this is exactly what we are talking about when we say 'make your calories count'.

Verdict: 8.5/10

 Hua Kee Hougang Famous Wan Ton Mee (S$3/-)

There were two stalls adjacent to each other selling wanton mee, both with celebrities' photos and recommendations plastered all over the stall fronts, but for some reason there was a queue at this stall and none at the other. Following herd instinct, we decided to join the queue, albeit shamelessly. The most prominent part about enjoying this dish is that you will need to order it through a lady who for some reason is obnoxiously rude. Once you get past that and get served your bowl of beautiful noodles, after a 10 - 15 minutes queue, it is really quite a delicacy.

We especially enjoyed the generous offering of deep fried sliced shallots to give that much desired crunch and crispness to the noodles and that beautiful fragrance. The chilli sauce was spicy and delivered a solid punch of heat that cut through the savouriness of the soy-sauce based wanton noodles. The wanton (dumplings) were okay, packing a mouthful bite of fatty minced pork but nothing too impressive. The char siew was disappointing, thin, dry and lacked any roast flavour. The noodles were cooked al dente, springy and chewy but the noodles were sticking to each other, giving a rather starchy feeling to the palate.

Fried Wanton - add on (S$3/-)

We ordered the deep fried wanton to complement the noodles, just for that extra oomph with something crunchy and crispy. The wantons were fried perfectly to a crisp surface and golden brown delicious, but there were remnants of the oil being splattered onto the plate, probably from a rushed serving. There were barely any meat wrapped under that wanton skin, but well, it complemented the main noodle dish.

Verdict: 7.0/10

Freshly made chee cheong farn with char siew (S$2/-)

The cheong farn were made to order so it was as fresh as it could possibly get. Quite frankly, despite the freshness, the amount of char siew filling was quite miserable. It was however compensated with the softness and moist rice rolls tenderly wrapping the pork pieces from the outside. The rice rolls were then drenched in the soy-based sauce that had a tinge of salinity and sweet after taste. It was a simple, honest local delicacy which I personally will not get bored of eating.

Verdict: 8.0/10

Lee Brother's Otah (Fish Otah)

For nostalgic reasons, I decided to get 2 of the otahs, non-spicy (smaller, slimmer fish otah) and the spicy flat fish otah. The latter was softer and moist on the inside compared to the former being a tad dry and firm on the texture of the otah.

Verdict: 7.5/10

Geylang Lor. 20 Banana Fritters (Goreng Pisang)

The 3 assorted pieces of fried yam, green bean and sweet potato came to S$2 while the fried banana fritter (goreng pisang) was at 90 cents. We enjoyed the batter which gave an even crisp crunchy coating to the sliced pieces. The banana was really sweet too and while this packet of fried snacks probably shot our cholesterol and fat levels sky high, but we would live with those calories for these were too good to resist!

Verdict: 8.0/10 

Lao Ban Soya Beancurd (S$1.50/-)

So we finally got to try this soya beancurd that seemingly had hordes of people queuing up and buying by dozens. While we enjoyed this light delicacy cold, it was too sweet for my liking. Also, it lacked any true soya beans taste and was no more than a soya pudding. It was smooth and melted instantly in our mouths, but label me old-fashioned, I prefer the traditional soya beancurd that had a strong aroma of those fresh soya beans.

Verdict: 7.5/10

Soursop blended with sour plum (S$2.50/-)

This drink was so ridiculously good that despite my exploding stomach, I was tempted to order a second serving. It was one of the best combinations for any fruit smoothies that I had ever tried. For some reason, Old Airport Road Food Centre is famous for its numerous stalls offering soursop drinks, but this was definitely a notch higher. With fresh seedless soursop flesh coupled with seedless sour plums and ice, it was blended into a beautiful smoothie that would keep me going. The natural sweetness from the soursop fruit balanced by the light acidity from the plums made it a really soothing beverage or by my books, a dessert itself to conclude our evening of food exploration at Old Airport Road Food Centre.

Verdict: 9.0/10

We actually left the hawker centre with much regrets after making a deliberate trip down due to limited stomach space. There were plenty of other famous stalls that we did not get to try, such as the crocodile bak kut teh, curry puffs, Toa Payoh Rojak and plenty others. Oh well, that was it for the 2 petite stomachs for now. Stay tuned for our part 2!

Old Airport Road Food Centre
19 Old Airport Road
Singapore 390019

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