Guan Huat Yong Tau Foo: 44-year-old YTF stall with super gao laksa broth & over 40 ingredients

There was a time when Bukit Merah Central had 4 yong tau foo stalls in its vicinity. The latest contender, Fei Ma Hakka Yong Tau Foo, moved back to its original location after spending less than 6 months here. Now comes the question: which do I try? The pioneer stall, Guan Huat Yong Tau Foo, naturally!

Guan Huat - Bukit Merah

Decked out in a pretty-in-pink signboard, the established hawker stall at Bukit Merah Central Food Centre has been selling handmade YTF since 1980— that’s over 40 years of operation. Impressive!

Guan Huat - yong tau foo display

Approaching the ‘stairway to heaven’ of ingredients, the impressive display towered over my petite 1.6m frame with over 40 varieties in a medley of sizes and vibrant shades (I had to tip-toe, though).

Guan Huat - yong tau foo ingredients in bowls

Each piece cost S$0.70 while the Cuttlefish and Intestine were priced at S$1 each. There was a minimum order of 7 pieces, and if you wanted laksa gravy, it would cost S$1 more.

Sometimes, having too many choices isn’t necessarily a good thing— at least in my opinion. I had to force my brain cells to work in triple-speed mode as I chose the combination of ingredients for each of my 3 bowls. All the while, I felt the pressure of many pairs of eyes on me, wondering when this shorty would finally be done.

What I tried at Guan Huat Yong Tau Foo

Guan Huat - laksa yong tau foo

I know, I know. Yong tau foo is supposed to be a healthy dish (rolls eyes), but I’m always more inclined to try the sinful options. It was time to savour my first bowl of Laksa YTF (S$7.20). Here was what I chose: lady’s finger, daikon, bitter gourd, beancurd skin, cuttlefish, pig’s intestine, eggplant and thick bee hoon as carbs.

Guan Huat - laksa broth

My dining partner lamented that the laksa gravy wasn’t lemak enough for her. I beg to differ. It was rich and coconutty enough for me, but nothing prepared me for its impending heat— a hidden punch of spice that caught me by surprise. Luckily, I had tissues at hand to mop up the beads of sweat that started emerging on my forehead.

Guan Huat - laksa noodles closeup

The ivory strands of thick bee hoon were smooth as silk, serving as the perfect partner to slurp up every drop of creamy goodness— it was the local equivalent to ramen with tonkotsu broth.

Guan Huat - beancurd skin

I had to credit on the back to the humble piece of beancurd skin. It did an excellent job of soaking the luscious gravy like a piece of microfibre cloth.

Guan Huat - closeup of ingredients

There aren’t many YTF stalls which offer daikon as an ingredient, so I grabbed it immediately. It was soft, juicy and subtly sweet; an excellent choice, indeed. Despite being submerged in the laksa gravy, the eggplant with its fish stuffing maintained a great textural bite.

Guan Huat - pigs intestines

As an intestine lover who always includes this in kway chap, I’ve got to say that it goes very well with laksa, too.

Guan Huat - dry option

I then moved on to the next bowl. The Dry Kway Teow (S$6.30) was accompanied by tau pok, broccoli, fishcake, thin beancurd skin with stuffing, mushroom and fried tau kee. My bundle of seaweed was served in a bowl of clear soup by the side.

Guan Huat - kway teow upclose

After mixing everything up, the flat strands of kway teow gleamed with a shiny, orangey-red hue from the sweet sauce-chilli concoction. It had a good bite, and the taste was well-balanced with saccharine, savoury, and spicy notes, each unfolding in gradual succession.

Hakka Leipopo: Delicious Hakka YTF & solid lei cha perfect for your first try

I also discovered mini hidden treasures of delicious fried pork lard which concealed themselves really well like sneaky ninjas.

Guan Huat - fried tau kee

The golden-brown piece of fried tau kee was slightly crispy and released a distinctive unique taste. The black mushroom was earthy and paired really well with the silky fish stuffing.

Guan Huat - seaweed soup

Seaweed isn’t just for shining in sushi. In Chinese dishes, it never fails to add a ton of umami richness to broths and provides a satisfying crunch that gives your jaw and teeth a spontaneous workout.

Guan Huat - soup option

For my final bowl, I went with the Bee Hoon Soup (S$5.60) which came with ngoh hiang, a fried wanton, beancurd, a whole egg, fishball, yam and cai xin.

Guan Huat - soup closeup

After taking a sip of the clear broth, I was disappointed. It lacked depth of flavour and tasted almost just like plain water.
Guan Huat - soup closeup
Before trying the bee hoon, I mentally prepared myself for the worst. It was as if I had the flu and couldn’t taste a thing— how unfortunate.
Guan Huat - yam & ngoh hiang
I enjoyed the yam, which was soft and melted in my mouth like mashed potatoes, while the ngoh hiang, though a little floury, was good enough to hit the sweet spot.
Guan Huat - drizzling sauce
Due to the bland situation, I had to rely on the sauce to amplify the experience. I must say, it was executed very well. It had a reddish hue instead of the usual run-of-the-mill dark brown sauces, which seemed to taste better.
Guan Huat - fried wanton
For a brief moment, I had completely forgotten about my fried wanton, which ended up becoming a soggy mess after being submerged in the broth for all that time. I wished that the stall would separate the fried items.

Final thoughts

Guan Huat - overview

Although Guan Huat Yong Tau Foo is the longest-standing YTF stall in Bukit Merah, it isn’t the best I’ve had. For anyone thinking of heading here, I would recommend the laksa and dry options over the soup.

Perhaps I visited on a bad day and the soup turned out bland. Go down, give them a try, and let me know what you think!

Expected damage: S$5 – S$8.50 per pax

Red Sea Yong Tau Foo: Homemade YTF & fried wantons with laksa & springy egg noodles, sells out before 2pm

Price: $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Guan Huat Yong Tau Foo

163 Bukit Merah Central, #02-31 , Singapore 150163

Our Rating 4/5

Guan Huat Yong Tau Foo

163 Bukit Merah Central, #02-31 , Singapore 150163

Operating Hours: 9am - 7.30pm (Sun to Fri), Closed on Sat

Operating Hours: 9am - 7.30pm (Sun to Fri), Closed on Sat