February 29, 2016
Toa Payoh, a prominent neighbourhood estate that rose from the marshlands of Singapore’s early days, is now home to a multitude of hawker stalls that serve some of Singapore’s most adored dishes. From local favourites like Char Kway Teow to non-household-name-dishes like Curry Rice, many of Toa Payoh’s gifted hawkers promise not to disappoint.
As our office is conveniently located in the heart of this venerable neighbourhood, we decided to compile an up-to-date list of exceptional hawker stalls to eat in Toa Payoh, categorized into their respective lorongs, and help you all, our fellow Singaporean mates in the vicinity, scout for stalls to satisfy your cravings. Read on soldier.
Yong Dou Fu ($0.50 per piece, min 8 pieces)
This Yong Dou Fu stall has gained recognition over the years since 1982 for being one of the better Yong Dou Fu stalls in Singapore and with good reason too. We decided to indulge and got about 9 different ingredients such as meat balls, deep-fried ngoh hiang, quail eggs and so on.
It would not have really mattered what ingredients we got as all of them were well-cooked and preserved the desired flavours which were only complimented further with the dark sweet sauce mixed in. A hint of spice, a dab of sweetness, a blend of soft and crunchy and steamy clear soup to cleanse the palate – nothing compares, really.
Hup Chong Hakka Yong Dou Fu: Blk 206, Toa Payoh North, Singapore 310206 | Monday to Sunday 0630-1530, 1630-2030 | Tel: 9093 2009 | Facebook Page
Sliced Fish Soup ($4)
Fresh, tender and evenly-cut slices of fish swimming around in a luscious, flavourful broth. The broth has a subtle sweet undertone which compliments the savoury slices of fish very well. This stall serves other dishes such as dumplings and fried fish too which is always a bonus.
127 Lorong 1 Fish Soup: Block 127 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh, Toa Payoh West Market and Food Court #02-33, Singapore 310127
Crab Bee Hoon (Small $20, Medium $25, Big $30)
While I am not a huge fan of seafood, I was pleasantly surprised when I tried the crab bee hoon from Don Signature Crab. The crab meat comes sweet and fresh and these chewy pieces of crab go very nicely with the savoury, eggy bee hoon whose flavours do not overpower the crab’s.
I was also very impressed when the crab-fanatic owner showed us how the way he cooks allows for the meat from beneath every shell portion (even the tip of the pincer) to come off easily and so customers can get the whole value of the already very affordable meal they pay for!
Don Signature Crab: Blk 206, Toa Payoh North, #01-1197, Singapore 310206 | Monday to Sunday 1200-2030 | Tel: 9691 6776
As mentioned in a Char Siew food guide I’ve compiled before, I adore Hua Fong Kee Roasted Duck’s Char Siew rice not only because of the friendly service but because of the char siew rice served with a dollop of dark, syrupy sauce which makes the already fragrant pieces of char siew more flavourful. While the serving of char siew sold here is slightly smaller than most of other char siew stalls, the thinner slices of meat are delicious and even more so when paired with roasted pork.
Hua Fong Kee Char Siew: 128 Lor 1 Toa Payoh, Singapore 310128 | Monday to Sunday 0800-2200 | Tel: 62515192
Rahmath Cheese Prata is a modest prata shop stowed away at a corner of Toa Payoh vista hawker centre. The egg prata served here is aromatic, fluffy and it tears easily while the cheese prata tasted very much like an Indian-ified grilled cheese sandwich.
I particularly enjoyed the cheese prata for the melted cheese went very nicely with crispy outer bits of the prata. The side of mutton curry also provided a nice savoury balance to the whole meal.
Rahmath Cheese Prata: 74 Lorong 4 Toa Payoh, Singapore 310074 | Tuesday to Sunday 0600-1600, Closed on Mondays
One beauty of dining at Lee Fun Nam Kee is that you get to order a steamy, savoury bowl of dumpling soup to have alongside your plate of chicken rice. The soup was not overly salty and there was a generous serving of soft vegetables and well-cooked dumplings which was just splendid.
Paired with the all-too-familiar fragrant rice and a syrupy serving of dark soy sauce, the chicken rice at Lee Fun Nam Kee definitely does not disappoint, taste-wise.
While I greatly appreciated the chicken rice dish as a whole here, I did notice how the slices of chicken they serve here are thicker than the norm and while many will see the beauty in that, I would have preferred the chicken to be more thinly cut. Besides that minor kink, the generous portion of chicken rice here, together with the dumpling soup is a definite must-try for folks nearby.
Lee Fu Nam Kee Chicken Rice:94 Lorong 4 Toa Payoh, #01-04, 310094 | Monday to Sunday: 1100-1500, 1700-2100 | Tel: 6255 0891
Claypot Hokkien Mee ($10 for 2, $15 for 3)
The claypot hokkien mee at Kim Keat Hokkien Mee is just as delicious as its name suggests. The soft, non-mushy noodles simmering in the richly-flavoured prawn stock are to die for. The fried pork belly add a lovely crunch to the dish and other meaty bits of squid, clams and pork help to (strangely enough) slightly sweeten the noodles. If you do happen to pass by Lorong 4 with your friends one day, do not pass up the chance to dine at Kim Keat.
Kim Keat Hokkien Mee: 92 Lorong 4 Toa Payoh, Singapore 310092 | Wednesday to Monday 1100-2200, Closed on Tuesdays
Fish Head Curry ($25 for half a head)
The red snapper fish head curry was glorious. The curry sauce is savoury with a twinge of spice and the best part is that the soft, fresh pieces of red snapper tear easily. There is no hassle with the bones either which greatly enhanced the pleasure I gained from digging into this dish. We had the fish head curry with plates of plain white rice which is always recommended for carbs with curry can never go wrong.
Ocean Curry Fish Head: 92 Lorong 4 Toa Payoh, Singapore 310092 | Monday to Sunday 1100-2100 | Tel: 6252 2168
HK Lychee Wan’s Teng Zai Jook ($3.50)
If you appreciate good ol’ congee, I urge you to patronize Uncle Kun’s stall at Lorong 4 for Uncle Kun, who once worked as a chef at Shang Place Shangri-La Hotel and who now serves quality congee with generous portions of side dishes at cheap hawker prices.
His congee is well-prepared with a flavourful stock and the porridge comes out warm, smooth and somehow not pasty. Uncle Kun also serves up other lovely traditional Chinese delicacies like Siew Mai and Yam cake, which are definitely worth a try too. Be sure to visit the stall earlier than closing time or make a call to order though, just to be on the safer side of things.
Uncle Kun Delicacies: Blk 74 Food Centre, Toa Payoh Lor 4, #01-03, Singapore 310074 | Tuesday to Sunday 0600-1330, Closed on Mondays | Tel: 8556 7133
Oyster Omelette ($4)
While the oyster omelette at San Sun may lack the seafood smell that some locals dig, this dish of fried egg and oysters still packs a punch with the flavours. The omelette is slightly crunchy in areas where it is slightly more charred and this compliments the soft, chewy textures of the oyster bits, of which the seafood flavour is rather strong. Another recommended dish at this stall is the Hokkien Mee with its rich, gooey stock, savory noodles and generous serving of pork lard.
San Soon Oyster Omelette: Blk 75 Toa Payoh, Lorong 5 Food Centre, #01-11, Singapore 310075
This nondescript stall at Lorong 5 positively influenced my level of contentment the day I visited, simply because of the fact that the steamy soup, tasty fried slices of fish and the soft, pillowy rice served at this stall come together very harmoniously and wonderfully.
It may sound like I’m bordering on exaggeration but the fact remains that the salty breaded fish goes nicely with the plain rice which when soaked in the clear, fragrant soup makes for a delicious bite. Do not judge a book by its cover is all I’m saying. Modest stall front but honest-to-god yummy food.
Lorong 5 Toa Payoh Block 75 Food Centre Fish Soup: 75 Lor 5 Toa Payoh, Singapore 310075
Estimated cost: $5 per pax
Esteemed specifically for its Signature White Cabbage, it was puzzling for me to think about how such a simple-sounding dish could gain such a reputation but my initial doubts were quickly dissipated. The beauty of having tze char porridge at this stall is that the owners are humble with the dishes they prepare which funnily enough makes their food taste even better.
The White Cabbage dish is plain but the sauce so full of flavour and the cabbage just the right texture and as do many of the other dishes at this stall, the saltiness, which is not overbearing, pairs very nicely with the basic porridge provided.
Peck Hwan Eating House Porridge Stall: 75 Lorong 5 Toa Payoh, #01-13, Singapore 310075 | Tuesday to Friday: 1130 – 1330
Peanut-y, dough-y lumps of beauty… I absolutely adore muah chee but it is getting harder and harder to find these suckers recently. It is a relief that Hougang Muah Chee still entertains hopeless lovers of Muah Chee like yours truly.
Located at the basement of HDB Hub, the muah chee served at this stall is rather glorious for the glutinous rice chunks are mixed in with black sesame seeds to further compliment the nutty flavour of the dish. A scrumptious after-meal snack that you should definitely not miss up.
Hougang 6 Miles Famous Muah Chee: 480 Toa Payoh Lor 6, HDB HUB Basement Gourmet Food Court, #B1-21, Singapore 310480 | Monday to Sunday: 1030-2130 | Tel: 9730 5513
From the generous peppering of roasted peanuts to the well-cooked you tiao, from the sweet chunks of pineapple to the salty bits of cuttlefish and many many more, the rojak served at this stall has been satisfying customers for 25 over years from its humble beginnings on a simple store on bicycle.
The rojak at Soon Heng Silver Stream not only fulfills every rojak-lover desires but it has the power to bring back waves of nostalgia to the loyal following it has.
Soon Heng Silver Stream Rojak: 480 Toa Payoh Lor 6, HDB HUB Basement Gourmet Food Court, #B1-23, Singapore 310480 | Monday to Sunday: 1030-2130
Mushroom Minced Meat Mee ($4)
The Mushroom Minced Meat Mee served at this stall is not bad. If you do live around Block 51 Lorong 6, definitely do give this stall a try as it does satisfy all the requirements of a good Bak Chor Mee, with the tender pieces of pork, the soft bits of minced meat and the moist noodles all sauced up with the flavorsome stock.
Lai Heng Minced Meat Mee: 51 Toa Payoh Lorong 6, Nghee Huat Eating House, #01-62, Singapore 310051 | Thursdays to Tuesdays: 0830-1600, Closed on Wednesdays |Tel: 9620 2074
UNO Fried Rice ($4)
Located right next to Lai Heng Mushroom Minced Meat Mee is Uno Beef House, a place many residents in the area like to frequent for the variety of Western food they offer. The last time I went, I ordered a plate of UNO Fried Rice and a plate of Beef pasta, otherwise known as bolognese.
I really liked the fried rice as it was not too oily, the rice was flavourful, the sunny-side up went nicely together with the ham and corn bits and the side of tomato sauce only further complimented the dish. Very yummy.
Uno Beef House: 51 Lorong 5 Toa Payoh, Singapore 310051, #01-60 Tuesday to Sunday: 1130-2230, Closed on Mondays | Tel: 9003 3832
Ah Chuan Fried Oyster Omelette ($4)
The oyster omelette at this stall has gained recognition over the years for their delightfully yummy fried egg and fresh, juicy oysters. I liked this omelette particularly because the simple dish of “scrambled eggs” was able to pack a huge punch of flavours when eaten just by itself.
Ah Chuan Oyster Omelette: 22 Lor 7 Toa Payoh, Singapore 310022 | Wednesday to Monday 1300-1630, Closed on Tuesdays
Red Bean Pau ($0.70)
I always appreciate a nice sweet snack after a heavy meal so I was not disappointed when I found this plain-looking stall just a stone throw away from where we had our lunch. For a mere $0.70, I got myself this steamy white bun filled with gooey red-bean goodness. Simple and decadent.
Yuan Ji Homemade Pau & Tim Sum: Blk 18 Lorong 7 Toa Payoh, Singapore 310018 | Monday to Sunday: 0700-2100
Chicken Rice ($2.50)
The beauty of the chicken rice at this stall is as it says in the stall’s name -Boneless Chicken. I enjoy my chicken rice with tasty, nicely-sliced portions of chicken where there is no hassle to deal with bones.
The chicken at this stall is especially lovely due to the sweet and savoury soya sauce whose recipe the stall owners have mastered. Paired with the very fragrant rice and the clear soup, it is no wonder this stall has even had the great honour of having Lee Kuan Yew and Lee Hsien Loong dine there.
Tong Fong Fatt (Toa Payoh): 22A Lor 7 Toa Payoh, #01-22, Singapore 311022
Wanton Noodle ($4)
Not only is this stall manned by a lovable old couple, the bowls of wanton noodle will be sure to warm your hearts and fill them with merriment. The portion of sweet wanton mee served is rather generous and it goes very nicely with the savoury noodles. The dumpling noodles at this stall is recommended too.
Kim Keat Wanton Noodle: Kim Keat Palm Market and Food Centre, 22 Lorong 7 Toa Payoh #01-41, Singapore 310022
Char Kway Teow ($3)
This plate of Char Kway Teow is the epitome of comfort food. Cooked just the way I like it, with sweet sauce, slighgtly charred eggs, fresh cockles and a little sinful bit of oiliness. There is a generous serving of Char Kway Teow and the flavours of this dish are bound to put a happy, oily smile on your face so why not give it a shot.
Blk 22 Lorong 7 Toa Payoh, #01-51 Kim Keat Palm Market and Food Centre, Singapore 310022 | Wednesday to Monday 1100-1800, Closed on Tuesdays | Tel: 9743 1206
It could be that I’m a die-hard fan of curry or it could just be that this stall’s food is absolutely delicious but I think the curry rice from this stall is one of my favourites out of all the various cuisine-types I’ve tried in Toa Payoh.
This dish was gloriously scrumptious with the savoury curry paired with soft long beans and fried chicken and plain white rice that helped to mellow out and balance the powerful flavours of the dish. This would definitely be my top recommendation for those in the area looking to satiate their appetite.
大巴窑剪刀剪咖喱饭 Curry Rice: 210 Lorong 8 Toa Payoh, Toa Payoh Lorong 8 Market & Food Centre, Singapore 310210
Dry Beef Noodle ($4.30)
The beef noodle (dry) was honestly commendable. The thick sauce had a rather malty flavour to it and the beef was tender and it tore easily. While the bowl of noodles was a little too heavy for me, it is not to say I would not bring my beef-loving friends to this stall when I do visit this lovely food center again.
Joo Chiat Beef King: 210 Lorong 8 Toa Payoh, Toa Payoh Lorong 8 Market & Food Centre, Singapore 310210
Hokkien Mee ($3)
The hokkien mee at Changi Village Hokkien Mee is one of those that are not too watery and not bland like many around. It is easy to tell that the prawn stock the hokkien mee is cooked in is packed with flavours for the noodles come out both fragrant and springy, just the way I like it.
Fried egg and pieces of pork, etc are tossed into the dish to ensure your taste buds are fully satisfied. To get that extra kick, be sure to mix the side of chili in and leave the place content with life.
Changi Village Hokkien Mee: 210 Lorong 8 Toa Payoh, Blk 210 Lorong 8 Toa Payoh Market & Food Centre, #01-32, Singapore 310210
Sheng Mian Soup ($4)
One thing I really liked about this ban mian stall was the fact that the owners make their own artisan noodles which when cooked into a bowl with an eggy broth make for a beautiful meal. It is possible that after wolfing down this entire bowl you may feel a little jelat, but it is definitely worth it.
Seletar Sheng Mian: Blk 210, Toa Payoh Lor 8 Market and Food Centre, #01-05, Singapore 310210 | Friday to Tuesday 0600-1430, Closed on Wednesdays & Thursdays | Tel: 8101 8311
I hope this guide will help those who live around Toa Payoh or for those whose second homes are situated in the vicinity of this neighbourhood.
It would be a real shame to miss out on many of the stalls mentioned here and of course, while there would definitely be other more obscure stalls in this fantastically big neighbourhood worthy of mention, give these few a try first before we add on.
Related Guide: Best Must Try Places to Eat in Novena and Thomson