Makansutra: Head to Dunman Food Centre for authentic heritage snacks
Each food centre has its hook and for Dunman Food Centre, it is these heritage bites
To enjoy a hawker centre to the maximum, you should know what its special "edge" is.
For instance, Changi Village Hawker Centre has its nasi lemak and ayam penyet, while Chinatown Complex Food Centre has its steamed fish head and braised chicken rice and noodles.
When I go to Dunman Food Centre (271, Onan Road) I seek these heritage snacks.
SAY SENG TAU KWA PAU
#01-05, 8am-5pm, closed on Mondays
This Hakka delight, sad to say, may not make it to the makan books of the future.
Not many know of or have eaten here before, and I have not seen a new player entering the market to hawk this for many years now.
The boss was a disciple of a famous hawker who sold this along Haig Road back in the day.
The tau kwa is fried and stuffed with chopped eggs, crispy yam bits and fish cakes, then slathered with a brown braised duck sauce.
It is lovely on its own but I need a tangy chilli to complete this, and the vinegar-ish lime chilli sauce provided that finishing touch.
A piece costs $1.50, and it is best you order a bed of sides - braised duck, pig tongue, belly pork, more fish cakes, braised eggs and a crispy yam cracker - all ready for that brown sauce and chilli dip.
#01-06, 9am-4pm, closed on Mondays
They went from zero to hero, with stalls in Orchard, Suntec and the Katong area, then back to a simple hawker stall, like when I first noticed them 20 years ago in a Kallang Bahru coffee shop.
Gina is still around, handmaking this gorgeous prawn vadai ($1).
I like it because it is not so traditional, as she does not ferment the dough as boldly as her peers.
It tastes like a crispy Chinese prawn cake and has a couple of small grey prawns embedded in it.
She also offers cheese, peanut and ikan bilis versions.
Chomp on it with a piece of green chilli - which she provides - if you dare. In fact, you should do it to complete the experience.
SOON SOON HUAT CRISPY CURRY PUFF
#01-07, 8am-1pm, Saturdays and Sundays
This place is known to be the first in Singapore to offer this unique "shell" style of curry puff, with a faux filo pastry, almost three decades ago.
The buttery and crumbly pastry filled with moist curry potatoes with chicken and egg ($1.50) is handmade, which accounts for the irregular shapes.
But what I was really taken with was the seasonal durian version ($1.80), which was stuffed with creamy D24 durian flesh.
Rich and bold, the filling is also homemade.
Sadly, they open only on weekends due to family commitments and crowd size.
KF Seetoh, the founder of Makansutra, dabbles in street food businesses like Food Markets and has his own TV shows on cable. He publishes food guides and online content.
He is also the creator of the World Street Food Congress.
Follow him on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram.