Makan

Mr Wood loves our food

I recently had the privilege of dining with Mr John Wood, the co-founder of Room To Read.

His non-profit organisation, which focuses on literacy and equality, has built 1,752 schools, established 16,060 libraries and helped over 8.8 million underprivileged children worldwide.

Whenever Mr Wood is in town, we go on a makan trawl.

Not because he is a serious foodie - in fact, he can't pronounce most of the stuff we chow down - but because his fiancee Amy Powell is a food fanatic and blogs at her site Pho The Love Of Food.

I usually drag them to places "off the eaten track", where tourists are rarely seen, like the industrial car workshop corner on Sin Ming Road.

Food hounds will know I have bak kut teh in mind.

But the coffee shop where Rong Cheng Bak Kut Teh's main stall roosts is a little-known makan haven - most stalls there are highly rated by Makansutra. At least four of the stalls are top hawker masters.

I'm glad to report we over-ordered and overate at these stalls:

Rong Cheng Bak Kut Teh

OPENING HOURS 7am-4pm daily

This is the classic Teochew clear soup version that is uniquely Singaporean.

It was peppery, garlicky and porky, and the side order of stewed trotters did the trick. The couple loved it.

The highlight was when the boss, Mr Lim, came up and sang us a song after his lunch and tipple of beers.

It was a moment to remember.

Roasted Meat stall

OPENING HOURS 11am-3pm, closed on Sundays

The $22 platter had shiny, sticky char siew, roast pork with a soft, crunchy crackling and five-spice accented roast duck in a herbed soy sauce. A joy to devour.

This little gem is the favourite of chef trainer and former Singapore Culinary Olympics team member Eric Low. Tear into it and you'll understand why.

Hup Seng Duck Rice

OPENING HOURS Weekdays 9am-2.30pm; Weekends 9am-1.30pm; Closed on Thursdays

The salted vegetable duck soup (kiam chye ark) is not even this stall's main offering, but it took the cake.

"Easily the best dish I've had in Singapore," Miss Powell declared - and Mr Wood agreed.

It was piquant with a light hint of gaminess from the fowl which was all nicely contained by the agreeable herbs and chilli infused into the soup.

Ah Orh Teochew 
Restaurant

OPENING HOURS Mondays to Saturdays 10am-2.30pm and 6pm-10pm; Sundays and Public Holidays 7am-2.30pm and 6pm-10pm

Unfortunately, we could not order from this stall as the waiting time was too long for the schedule we were on.

Mr Wood missed out on the stall's iconic Teochew fare like claypot duck with yam, stir fry leeks with preserved daikon (chye po), steamed pomfret and cold crabs.

I've eaten there often enough to suggest having a big enough group to tear into all the dishes at this kopitiam when you visit.

All stalls are at:

Eng Ho Hup Coffeeshop

Block 22 Sin Ming Road #01-258