Makansutra: A taste of home in Melbourne at Singapore Day
Thousands throng Melbourne event for food by hawkers from Singapore
Hawkers have toiled to please at the Singapore Day in various cities since 2007, and it was no different in Australia this year, at Melbourne's Flemington Racecourse last Saturday.
Many hawkers had closed their stalls and flown over for a day to give Singaporeans living overseas a slice of home. More than 6,000 people turned up, and about 20,000 meals were dished out over five hours.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean was at the event to personally thank the hawkers. Also present were Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu and Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.
I salute the hawkers who have been contributing to Singapore Day and defending our makan legacy all these years.
1. Alhambra Padang Satay
Makansutra Gluttons Bay, 8, Raffles Avenue, #01-15, Esplanade Mall. 5pm to 2am daily.
The stall skewers by hand about 400 sticks of satay using fresh chicken chunks after they are marinated overnight.
2. Casuarina Curry
136, Casuarina Road. 7am to midnight daily.
Just like Alhambra, the stall has been at every Singapore Day, and it has never failed to please.
3. Wee Nam Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice Restaurant
101, Thomson Road, #01-08, United Square. 10.30am to 10.30pm daily.
Chicken rice is always popular. Perhaps Singaporeans cannot find versions as authentic as this outside the country.
4. Rafee's Corner
3, Yung Sheng Road, #02-112, Taman Jurong Market and Food Centre. 6.30am to 9.30pm daily.
On a cold day, the hot teh tarik was such a delight.
5. Hill Street Char Kway Teow
16, Bedok South Road, #01-41, Bedok South Market & Food Centre. Noon to 4pm and 6pm to 10pm. Closed on Monday.
Mr Ah Kiat, son of retired master Ng, brought his own wok, and he delivered after adjusting to the weather and ingredients.
6. Xiao Di Fried Hokkien Mee
Block 153, Serangoon North Avenue 1. 11am to 8pm. Closed on Monday and Friday.
The stall was a first-timer at Singapore Day, but its initial trepidation melted away when the crowd was pleased.
7. HarriAnn's Delight
30, Seng Poh Road, #02-25, Tiong Bahru Food Centre. 7am to 2pm. Closed on Monday.
Another first-timer, it offered handmade sweet potato ondeh ondeh and kueh talum. The Nonya kuehs were easy on sugar and high on pleasure.
8. Chey Sua Carrot Cake
Block 127, Toa Payoh Lorong 1, #02-30, Toa Payoh Market and Food Centre. 6am to 1pm. Closed on Monday.
This World Street Food Award winner is a firm favourite at every Singapore Day. And rightly so, with the effort put into making the carrot cake fresh on site.
9. 328 Katong Laksa
51, East Coast Road. 10am to 10pm daily.
It is another stalwart, and it never fails to please.
10. Abdhus Salam Rojak
Block 503, West Coast Drive, #01-73, Ayer Rajah Food Centre. 11am to 9.30pm. Closed on Monday.
Mr Abdhus Salam carries on where his late father left off, and it is still as good as it gets.
11. Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak
2, Adam Road, #01-02, Adam Road Food Centre. 7am to 5pm, closed on Friday.
Mr Malek took over the business after his father passed on. I think he outdid his father and has opened a few branches.
12. Redhill Rong Guang BBQ Seafood
Makansutra Gluttons Bay. 5pm to 2am daily.
It makes its own sambal, slathering it over freshly grilled chunks of sea bass.
13. Huat Huat BBQ Chicken Wing & Fried Carrot Cake
Makansutra Gluttons Bay. 5pm to 2am daily.
The boss, Mr Tan, personally oversaw operations and worked the grill at the event. The flavour was so homely, and the chicken wings were well roasted.
14. Selamat Datang Soto Ayam
Adam Road Food Centre, Stall 9. 8am to 10pm. Closed on Wednesday.
I had never tasted soto ayam this good until this. It is thanks to the fresh spices and chicken, said the boss, Mr Sumadi.
15. Rong Cheng Bak Kut Teh
Block 26, Sin Ming Lane, #01-114, Midview City. 9am to 9pm daily.
The stall was especially happy with the pork supplies, and it came up tops with its garlicky and peppery brew of pork ribs soup.
16. Tai Wah Pork Noodle
531A, Upper Cross Street, #02-16, Hong Lim Market & Food Centre. 9.30am to 7.30pm. Closed on Monday.
The magic of the sambal and black vinegar combo in the noodles was a showstopper.
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.