After hiking the Southern Ridges Trail for over 3 hours, Tim and I were dehydrated and starving... we had had plans to try out some new (to us) hawker food, but were so spent that we ended up going to a tried-and-true favorite, Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice at Maxwell Road Hawker Centre... mmmm. Long line (see Tim waiting in it below, while hydrating with a fresh lime juice), but totally worth it:
We heard about some Singapore-style scandal with regard to this particular chicken rice vendor... apparently a long-time chef at Tian Tian was let go and decided to open his own competing chicken rice stall a few booths down... queue a chicken rice war! We didn't try the opposition, but next time I am in town, perhaps a taste test is in order.
Doesn't look like much, but this chicken, rice and broth pack a lot of flavor... listen to Anthony Bourdain's description here. Super comforting and delicious:
Later that day we joined Zhenyi and her father, who were generous enough to take us on a nighttime driving tour of the city and a trip to their favorite hawker centre, Chomp Chomp. While Maxwell Road center attracts more tourists because of its location near the historic Chinatown and an MRT station, Chomp Chomp is a little more out in the 'burbs (well, what constitutes the 'burbs in a city state) and is a local hotspot. On a Saturday night, it was bumping, let me tell you... wall to wall people ordering or delivering food, hovering like vultures for the next empty table, with heat emanating from the stalls, fluorescent lights glaring...hard to see in the photos:
Tim will kill me for posting this photo, but I needed to show how big these steins of fresh-pressed, electric green sugarcane juice were... everyone in the place was drinking them. Get this, though... these were the medium size!:
Zhenyi ordered us a smorgasbord of her favorites... rich, fried Hokkien mee (noodles) with shrimp (from Ah Hock, a super popular and quite old-school stall, with waits of up to an hour for food), fried carrot cake (which has no carrots, but does have daikon radish, which is kinda carrot-shaped, I guess), chicken satay, spicy and fragrant sambal covered grilled stingray, spicy and sweet fruit rojak, an oyster omelet... plus cold Tiger beers. Heaven! I must go back!