Sunday, 18 January 2015

Maxwell Food Centre: Everything You Need to Know

In the Name of Multiplicity.  The Longer they Get, the Better they Taste.

I was around Tanjong Pagar area and came dinner time, I decided to drop into Maxwell Food Centre for a din-din.

Maxwell Food Centre are well known among tourists. The tourists probably know it by the more popular name of Maxwell Road Hawker Centre. On some maps, it labels Maxwell Road Food Court. Yeah, they're the same place (although in Singapore many different places have the same name).

Here's an example.

Multiplicity of Holland Ave

I live around the area, imagine how confused I got when I first arrived. Here's the scenario: I started my walk from Holland Ave looking for some shops, I turned a couple of streets, I looked up the street sign and saw Holland Ave again. Did I walk in circle? Have I gone mad? Am I in the Twilight Zone? Am I turning senile? Did some TV program is pulling those silly practical joke on me by changing the street signs? When can I check into a mental asylum? Please don't give me the address to the Asylum...

Interesting, isn't it?

On the other hand, something sounds very similar, but can be very different. For example, People's Park Complex, and People's Park Centre are both in Chinatown, but they're not the same place. In fact, there're many place names in Singapore that are very similar, but actually different places.

Hence, this calls for my explanation of Maxwell Road Hawker Centre, and Maxwell Road Food Centre. Capeesh? (English speakers usually don't understand "capeesh").

Singapore is very a well ordered place, so much so that they have to invent something like this to make it a little more interesting and challenging.

Sorry, I digress, let's get back to food. I know you're hungry.

I was on a hunt recently for paper wrapped chicken, and found it in the international award-winning Hillman restaurant, which isn't near our place (nor cheap). The point is, this paper wrapped chicken isn't common at all like laksa or Hainan chicken where it's a dime a dozen (ok, it's much more expensive than that).


I look high and low,
and lo and behold,
I found it in Maxwell Road.

Food menu in Maxwell Food Centre
Target Acquired...doodoodoodoo...3rd row, 2nd column...doodoodoodoodoo...
(click to enlarge)

Food stall, Maxwell Food Centre, Singapore
The food stall that sells paper wrapped chicken

This shop sells snack food and dim sums (or dim sims), and so they sell the paper wrapped chicken on a piece by piece basis, which is perfect. You can try it out for taste before you go the full hog if you like it (or more pieces of chicken. I don't think they sell hog). Naturally, I ordered one piece. She said, "Sorry, sold out". Did this mean they're good? I wonder.

Anyway, there're some items on the menu I wouldn't mind trying it out. Maybe next time. I was in no mood after the disappointment.

By the way, there're another food stall of the same name (sorry, no English name) just opposite. You're not seeing double. Interesting, isn't it? The opposite one sells different stuff.

To find the most popular grub to eat in here or any other hawker centres is easy, look for the long queues. There're a few long queues - most of the time - in Maxwell Food Centre. These shops also usually have a number of newspaper articles or awards that they proudly display on their shop windows if you don't believe the taste of the crowd (maybe the locals just like this particular type of food, you reason).

Queue outside Tian Tian Hainan Chicken Rice, Maxwell Road Food Centre, Singapore
Hainan chicken rice can be found in most hawker centre,
and they're usually not too shabby. This one is worth queuing up for.
Anthony Bourdain is said to be a big fan of this store.
Their business is so good, they take up 2 shopfronts just to keep up the demand.
If I were their neighboring stall, I would be so depressed with my own business 
I want to move out. No eyes see.

Jin Hua Fish Head Bee Hoon, Maxwell Road Food Centre, Singapore
Jin Hua Fish Head Bee Hoon. Bee Hoon is Hokkien for rice noodle (米粉).
The fish heads are the soup's "secret" ingredient

Hainanese Curry Rice, Maxwell Road Food Centre, Singapore
Hainanese Curry Rice
I tried all 3 shops and liked it (in the descending order of like). All 3 are excellent choices, but today I felt like fried oyster.

Fried Oyster, Maxwell Road Food Centre, Singapore
Fried oyster and oyster egg are different dishes.
I prefer fried oyster

Marina South Delicious Food, Maxwell Road Food Centre, Singapore
The wait for fried oyster is slightly longer than the other 3 shops because
they're "ready made". With fried oyster, both the husband and wife (I presume)
team actually have to freshly cook on orders. Luckily, most people order
similar dishes, so they can cook several orders at once.

accolade of Marina South Delicious Food, Maxwell Road Food Centre, Singapore
Newspaper endorsement on the list of top 10 fried oyster eatery

The oysters are moist and soft, and so are the eggs and flour, which has a texture of cotton (not that I've ever eaten cotton, but that how it felt in my mouth).

If you like oyster, you should give this a try, and wash it down with your favourite drink. In my case, my childhood fave glass of sugar cane juice that comes with a side dish of fond childhood memories (the side dish is on the house). Sweet ! Works well together (the fried oyster, the drink, and the memories).

Are you even more hungry now? Good, my work is done !

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