Ah, Tekka Centre, a place with many names and an area that was once home to bamboo shoots. A quick Google search will present an in-depth history of the place but I’ve taken it upon myself to extract the important details for your reading pleasure.
Did you know the market was known as “Tek Kia Kha” in Hokkien, which translates to “foot of the small bamboos” because bamboo shoots once sprouted along the banks of Rochor Canal? And when the original market was built in 1915, the multi-use complex was actually named Zhujiao Centre (Chinese: 竹脚中心), the pinyin version of Tek Kha.
Apart from that, Tekka Centre was also originally known as “Kandang Kerbau” due to the slaughterhouses operating in the area until the 1920s. Despite its many names, the complex was officially renamed Tekka Centre in 2000 as it better reflected the history of the place.
Random facts aside, this piece is to share with you 10 best hawker stalls at Tekka Centre.
1. Zhu Jiao Shu Shi (#01-284)
Around since the ‘80s is none other than Zhu Jiao Shu Shi. Only open from 7am to 3pm daily, they have been religiously churning out fantastic breakfast delights to date. I mean, the snaking queue that’s around without fail is a testament to their food. Despite the rise in stall rental, the owners have also kept their prices low, making this stall one of the affordable ones in the vicinity.
Over here, S$2 is enough to get you a proper breakfast meal. Their Economical Bee Hoon starts from S$1.20, and their widely sought after Peanut Porridge costs only S$1! They also have dishes like Glutinous Rice (S$1) and Chee Cheong Fun (S$1).
2. 545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles (#01-326)
If you’re a fan of the rich umami-laden broth coupled with fiery-looking prawns aka prawn noodles, you should make your way down to this stall at Tekka Centre. I’m pretty sure it isn’t a secret but they do serve up a mean plate of prawn noodles!
The third-generation owner shared that the stall had its humble beginnings way back in the 1950s when her grandfather sold prawn noodles out of a pushcart, who then set up a stall at Whampoa market when it was first built and was passed down to her father. Fast forward to today, the stall is now mended by Ruifang along with one of her aunts.
Like many prawn noodle stalls, you can opt for the Soup (S$4/S$5/S$6) or Dry (S$4/S$5) versions over here. What you will get is a portion of yellow noodles, de-shelled and de-veined prawns, and pork slices, topped with a generous amount of fried shallots. This recipe has been in the family for three generations, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint.
3. Heng Gi Goose and Duck Rice (#01-335)
Alright, before any of you start freaking out, this stall doesn’t sell goose meat (anymore) due to the changes in AVA’s regulations. However, it doesn’t stop them from selling a nice tasting plate of braised Duck Rice (S$3.50).
The meat here is tender and moist, and for only S$3.50, it’s an absolute steal! It’s funny how when one thinks of Tekka Centre, they immediately think of biryani and the likes but not duck rice right? Well, think again.
4. Prata Saga Sambal Berlada (#01-258)
Another popular breakfast dish is roti prata. And where better to have it than at Prata Saga Sambal Berlada? It’s not everyday you find a messy serving of roti prata topped with sambal (in Singapore, that is).
The tinge of spice from the sambal paired with the fragrance from the fluffy prata and mouth-watering dalcha makes for a very satisfying meal. There’s nothing much to complain about here.
5. Pak Kashmiri Delights (#01-250)
With an abundance of stalls selling the same thing in Tekka Centre, it’s easy to overlook Pak Kashmiri Delights. This isn’t really an issue for me because it also means less waiting time. However, I need to share this vital information with you guys— this stall has been whipping out a range of amazing North Indian dishes for a long time now.
Every time someone tells me about how Azmi Restaurant serves the best (uncooked) chapatis in town, I die a little inside.
What makes this place stand out is not only do they make all their naans in the traditional tandoor, but their Plain Naan and Chapati will only cost you S$1 (each)!
Whenever I’m here, I always opt for the classic trio: Chapati, Mutton Keema (S$3.50/$5), and Aloo Gobi. Trust me when I say you’ve got to try it to believe it!
6. Neha Tiffin Centre (#01-274)
Neha Tiffin Centre has been my go-to stall whenever I find myself craving a plate of Putu Mayam (S$2 for 3 pieces) paired with sweet, orange-hued palm sugar. I’m sure many can agree that Putu Mayam is a breakfast favourite for many. It’s sad how it isn’t as readily available as before anymore.
Apart from Putu Mayam, Neha Tiffin Centre also sells a variety of yummy Indian sweets like Laddu, Gulab Jamun, Kaseri, Halwa, and much more. If you’re looking for savoury snacks, they also sell Samosas and Masala Vadai!
7. Yakader Muslim Food (#01-259)
What’s going to Tekka Centre without indulging in a hearty plate of biryani? I may be a tad bit biased only because I prefer the briyani from Yakader Muslim Food (something my Editor will vehemently disagree with).
For S$6, you will get dum-style, fall-off-the-bone mutton briyani complete with hard-boiled egg, pickles, and papadum, with a side of gravy. I’ll be honest, the only reason why I prefer Yakader is due to the fact that their briyani standards have not dipped in terms of flavour or portion size. And it’s still as incredibly tasty as it was before.
8. Allauddin’s Briyani (#01-232)
I am compelled to add Allauddin’s Briyani to the list because they also have a fairly large fanbase and (no, my Editor did not force me to say this) they’re pretty alright. I mean, a stall that was visited by not one but two ex-presidents of Singapore is surely worth raving about right?
Over here, a Chicken Briyani Set with Egg and Papadum will set you back S$6.50 (50 cents more than Yakader). However, to each his own, I know of folks who swear by the biryani here. And all I can say is that it’s entirely up to you to head to Tekka Centre and do a mini biryani showdown for yourself.
9. Sri Tiffin Stall (#01-224)
Before I begin, let me share something with you. If you don’t like how crowded some restaurants along the Little India stretch can get, and all you’re looking for is a proper plate of dosa, make your way down to Sri Tiffin Stall. Not only do they sell really affordable dosas, but they also make you realise that an air-conditioned restaurant doesn’t have what it takes when all you need is a quick meal.
Whenever I find myself around the area, I always go for their Masala Dosa (S$1.50) paired with heaps of tomato chutney and yummy sambar. Getting my dosa at top speed > waiting ten years for my meal.
10. Temasek Indian Rojak (#01-254)
It would be a blasphemous act if I ended this listicle without adding my favourite Indian rojak stall to the mix. Temasek Indian Rojak is almost everyone’s go-to stall for a hearty plate of fried goodness. Pair the perfectly-battered ingredients with a bowl (or two) of indulgent dipping sauce and you’ve got yourself a winner.
The prices range from S$0.70 to S$2.50 per ingredient, and you can find a colourful spread of your favourites like potatoes, prawn fritters, squid, sausages, tofu, and more!
* Some of the images in this article were taken pre-COVID.
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665 Buffalo Road, Singapore 210665
665 Buffalo Road, Singapore 210665